In March, the Government announced that it had taken the difficult decision, in light of the public health emergency, to cancel all GCSE, AS and A level exams due to take place in schools and colleges in England this summer.
As A-Level and GCSE students across the Forest of Dean prepare to receive their exam results over the coming weeks, I thought it would be helpful to set out how those grades have been calculated.
For each student, schools and colleges have provided a ‘centre assessment grade’ for each subject – the grade they would be most likely to have achieved had exams gone ahead. Schools and colleges then placed the students in rank order within each grade in each subject.
To make sure that those grades are consistent across different schools and colleges, exam boards have implemented a process of standardisation, combining teachers' estimated grades for individual pupils with a statistical model based on the school's past results.
I recognise that this process has limitations and some students may receive grades which they feel are not a fair reflection of their ability.
Ofqual has confirmed that the grounds on which schools and colleges can appeal will cover cases of highly talented students in institutions that have not had strong results in the past.
Schools and colleges can also appeal if they can show that grades are lower than expected because previous cohorts are not sufficiently representative of this year’s students.
The Government have also announced today that students can choose to use a valid mock result, instead of their calculated result, through the appeals process, with individuals notifying their school or college who will provide evidence of their mock results to their exam board.
In addition, all students will have the option of sitting an exam in the autumn.
This means that students can choose to accept their calculated grade, appeal to receive a valid mock result, or sit autumn exams - a new 'triple lock' process which will give young people added security as they receive their grades this year.
Nevertheless, I know that this will be an anxious time for many young people and their families.
I would urge those who are unhappy with how their grades have been calculated to speak to their school or college and visit www.gov.uk/guidance/your-results-what-next about the options available.
A national Exam Results Helpline will also be operating from 8am to 10pm from 13-28 August for young people or their parents to speak to a professionally qualified careers adviser on 0800 100 900.
I wish the very best of luck to students across the Forest of Dean.