Results Day 2020 – How will results be awarded for academic subjects without exams?

Updated: Sep 14, 2021

Since the Government announced that there would be no examinations in 2020, some 2.2 million teenagers who have been affected have been wondering what this means for their futures; how will they be assessed if no examinations are taking place; and what impact this will have on offers they could have hoped to receive under the usual system (whether for jobs, further education or apprenticeships). The government has provided assurances that no students will be disadvantaged in progressing to the next stage in their development – but how will results be awarded?

Sixth Form results day is 13 August 2020 and GCSE results day is 20 August 2020, unchanged even though there are no examinations. For academic qualifications, results will be decided by schools and colleges.

Teenage oy holding A level and GCSE results on Results day 2020
Results Day 2020

How can teachers recommend grades without examinations?

Teachers usually know their students well and evaluations will be made considering the following:

1. Quality of work produced in the classroom;

2. Quality of homework;

3. Rate of improvement / depth of understanding over course period studied up until school closures;

4. Results of any tests/ mock examinations;

5. Consideration for improvements that could have taken place during learning consolidation period once syllabus teaching has been completed (usually beginning of the summer term);

6. Knowledge of student’s usual performance.

Grades will be based on work that has already been completed, rather than any work your child is doing now.

What if a teacher is biased towards a student?

Final grades awarded will have input from the subject teacher, head of department, academic/deputy head and headteacher. Results will not be decided by one teacher alone.

Ofqual and exam boards will work together to standardise grades across schools and colleges to make the process as fair as possible. For example, if Ofqual and the exam boards think a school or college has been too harsh with grades, they may move some students up a grade.

Can I speak with my child's teacher about the grades they have submitted?

Schools and colleges are not allowed to share this information with you and no exceptions will be made. Please avoid asking your child's teachers, or any member of staff, to tell you the grades they will be sending to the exam boards. We understand that this is a worrying time for you and your child, but rest assured that your child's school or college is doing everything they can to make sure your child receives fair grades.

Supposing my child thinks the grade is unfair?

There will be an opportunity for students to sit examinations as early as possible after the autumn term begins and results will be available in January. How this could impact starting at university, apprenticeships or jobs will vary according to the individual institution, so if your child is planning to sit the examination, they should speak to the relevant institution to see what the options are.

My child was meant to start university this year – how does this affect them?

There will be no change to the way the university admissions process works this year. Results will be announced on 13 August and:

a) If your child has an unconditional offer, their results have no impact, and they can accept the place if they wish;

b) If they meet the grades of a conditional offer, they can accept the place;

c) If they do not wish to accept a university offer that they have they can reject it and go through Clearing;

d) If they have not received an offer (perhaps their grades are too low), they can go through Clearing;

e) If their grades are higher than expected, they can reject their offers and go through Adjustment.

For more information, please see our guide: The Parents’ Guide to Results day 2020. Applications for university starting October 2021 will remain unchanged and the full process is detailed in The Parents’ Guide to University.

Results day 2020 flowchart for university applications:

Results day 2020 flowchart - did your child meet the required grades for their first choice university?
Results day 2020 flowchart

How does this impact them getting an apprenticeship?

The process will work the same as in other years. Students can discuss their unique situation with the company offering the apprenticeship.

Remember, many apprenticeship employers are likely to ask questions about how your child spent their time during lockdown. Make sure your child uses this time positively so that they have plenty to talk about. We provide some ideas in our blog post helping your child stand out.

At GCSE level, how does this impact their taking sixth form studies?

If your child has not been awarded grades that meet the entry requirements for them going to college/sixth form/taking an apprenticeship, they should speak to the institution as soon as they can. There is every possibility that they will try to be flexible and admit your child or, if they can’t, they’ll be able to discuss other alternatives.

Will grades issued in 2020 be treated in the same way as grades issued in previous or future years?

Absolutely. The grades your child receives this year will have equal status to the grades awarded in previous years. The process of standardising grades will mean that all grades issued in 2020 will be comparable to previous years and your child will not be disadvantaged (or advantaged) by the use of centre assessed grades.

Vocational qualifications

For those who should have taken vocational assessments, a Government consultation is underway to work out the best way forward. We’ll give more information on that as soon as we can.

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