GCSE and A-level results expected to be higher this summer after exams cancelled

GCSE and A-level students’ results are likely to be higher this summer than previous years after exams were cancelled and schools submitted grades, England’s exams regulator has said.

Ofqual has said it is “not surprising” that grades calculated by many schools and colleges were more optimistic, as teachers “naturally want to do their best for their students”.

Many students will receive at least one grade next month that has been adjusted due to standardisation to ensure this year’s results are not significantly higher than previous years.

If the teacher-assessment grades were not standardised, this year’s results would be around 12 percentage points better than in 2019 at A-level and nine percentage points at GCSE, Ofqual said.

But even after standardisation, the regulator has said results this summer could be higher than last year’s, with a slight increase of 1% for GCSE across the grades and around 2% for A-level.

This year, for example, in tiered GCSEs, students will not fall off the higher tier and be ungraded if centre assessment grades are adjusted downwards – which could see national results improve.

Ofqual has said it expects almost all grades that students receive to be the same as the centre assessment grades “or within one grade.”

“Results for students will therefore almost always be broadly in line with centres’ and teachers’ expectations, reflecting the skills, professionalism and integrity of those involved,” they said.

The regulator added that their analysis found that “there will generally be no widening of the gaps in attainment between different groups of students”.

They said: “The concern that identifiable groups of students would lose out from this year’s arrangements have not been borne out.”