This is how A-Level grades were calculated in 2020 - and the new triple lock system explained

A-Level pupils will receive their results on Thursday morning (Getty Images)A-Level pupils will receive their results on Thursday morning (Getty Images)
A-Level pupils will receive their results on Thursday morning (Getty Images)

Despite the absence of an exam period, A-Level students will find out their results on Thursday (August 13) morning.

With exams cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the fate of pupils has instead been put in the hands of moderators and teachers.

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Predicted grades have been assigned by teachers with moderators ‘downgrading’ exam results with up to 40% of exam results affected according to schools minister Nick Gibb.

After the downgrading of exam results wreaked havoc in Scotland, the Westminster government has introduced a “triple lock” system to provide a “safety net to pupils”.

What is the triple lock system?

The triple lock system means that A-Level pupils will have three options when it comes to their final exam results.

Children can either accept their predicted grade which will be allocated on Thursday, revert to grades obtained in their mock results earlier this year, or sit exams in Autumn.

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How are predicted grades decided?

School teachers must provide predicted grades for each pupil and each subject.

Teachers are also asked to rank pupils in order of how well they were expected to perform in their examinations.

Exam regulator Ofqual will then moderate these grades.The moderation of grades takes into account the previous performance of the child’s school and the child’s previous exam results.

Why are people criticising the moderation system?

It has been argued that the system has a disproportionate negative impact on children from working class backgrounds.

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The Equality Review has also suggested that children from black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds could be affected.

It said the moderation system “does not account for learning style, mitigating circumstances or BAME bias".

Ofqual have insisted that the system is fair.

They said: “We have extensively tested the model to ensure it gives students the fairest, most accurate results possible and, so far as possible, that students are not advantaged or disadvantaged on the basis of their socioeconomic background or particular protected characteristics, and we will evaluate outcomes.”

Can pupils appeal their results?

In the event pupils are unhappy with the grade they are awarded, the right to appeal will be tightly restricted.

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Pupils can challenge the result of a GCSE, AS Level or A Level qualification if:

- their school or college made a mistake when sending the grading information

- their school or college thinks the result is wrong

- they have evidence of wrongdoing, including discrimination

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