Education news

Schools can appeal exam results if grades are lower due to significant changes

A-level results will be published this week

SCHOOLS will be able to appeal their pupils ' GCSE and A-level results if they can show grades are lower than expected because previous cohorts are not "representative" of this year's students.

England's exams regulator has said schools and colleges can appeal if they can prove that historical data used to standardise grades is not a reliable indicator of this year's results due to a change of circumstances.

Individual pupils will not be allowed to challenge grades themselves, Ofqual has confirmed, and schools and colleges will need to appeal against results on their behalf.

The guidance - published before A-level results day - comes after a former private school head warned that not allowing appeals against unfair exam results risks "imposing a life sentence" on some pupils.

Concerns have been raised that the "narrow" criteria for challenging grades may "exacerbate existing inequalities" and result in legal action against exam boards.

It comes after this summer's exams were cancelled due to Covid-19. Instead, schools and colleges were asked to submit the grades they thought students would have received if they had sat the exams.

Exam boards have moderated the grades to ensure this year's results are not significantly higher and the value of students' grades are not undermined.

Guidance by Ofqual sets out how schools and colleges can appeal GCSE and A-level grades, which young people are set to receive.

Schools can appeal if they were expecting results this year to "show a very different pattern of grades" to results in previous years because of the ability profile of students this year.

If a school has had a "significant change in leadership or governance" - and it can provide evidence that its previous grades are "not a reliable indicator" of this year's results - it will also be allowed to challenge results.

If a single-sex school has changed to co-educational - or a school has experienced a "monumental event" such as flooding or fire which meant it had to move and it affected previous exam results - then they can appeal grades.

Pupils will not be able to directly appeal their calculated grades to the exam boards, but they can submit allegations about bias or discrimination.

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Education news