How can students appeal their grades with mock results?

Exams regulator Ofqual has released details on how students can appeal against downgraded A-level results using grades from mock assessments.

Ahead of A-level results day on Thursday, the Government announced that valid mock exams could be used to appeal against results after the Covid-19 crisis caused exams to be cancelled.

The moderation process used instead prompted widespread criticism after thousands of students received downgraded results.

Many groups called for details on how the appeal process using mock results will work, and whether the process would be the same for students who will receive GCSE results next week.

– Who can appeal?

The Government has confirmed appeals using mock results will be open to GCSE, AS and A-level students as well as those taking Extended Project Qualifications and the Advanced Extension Award in maths.

Ofqual said this route of appeal is open to any student with a higher mock grade than their calculated one.

– When can they appeal?

Exam boards have confirmed they will be ready to process these appeals from Monday and students are asked to contact their school or college.

– What work can be used?

In the details released by Ofqual on Saturday, the regulator said that past assessments from the relevant exam board can be used, such as past papers.

Mock exams or assessments created by teachers can also be used as long as they are similar to past exams in the style and content covered.

A-Level results
A-Level results

Marked coursework can also be used if students did not take a written mock exam before their school or college closed, but it must have been completed in the conditions set by the relevant exam board.

It can also be used in addition to mock exam results.

– What conditions are required?

Mock assessments used for an appeal must have been supervised, previously unseen and taken in conditions that ensure the work is the student’s own.

This includes invigilation, not having the possibility of corrections or revisions, and students not having access to study materials banned in exams.

The mocks also need to have been taken under timed conditions that match up to the time provided in normal exams, with adjustments allowed for students eligible for extra time.

It must have been completed within the programme of study and by March 20, when most schools and colleges were closed.

– What must the mock assessment cover?

Mock assessments used for the appeal must have “substantial coverage” of the normally-assessed curriculum, equivalent to an exam paper or one non-examination assessed task.

Autumn school exams warning
Autumn school exams warning

– What about the centre assessment grades?

Schools and colleges were told to submit the grades they thought each student would have received if they had sat the papers, alongside a rank order of students.

Ofqual said on Saturday the centre assessment grades took the student’s performance over the whole course into account, whereas mock assessments do not normally cover the full range of content.

This means if a student’s mock result is higher than the centre assessment grade, they will receive the lower grade.

The regulator added that no grades will go down as a result of an appeal.

– What about marking?

The mocks must have been marked using a marking scheme provided by the relevant exam board, or one that matches up to the exam board’s marking scheme.

The grade given as a result of the mock must be in line with the relevant exam board’s standard.

This can include using the grade boundaries from the exam board when a past paper has been used.

Young Socialists protest
Young Socialists protest

– What do schools need to do?

Schools and colleges need to be able to provide evidence for the entire subject cohort if required.

Ofqual said this includes proof of the marks given, evidence marking was carried out by the deadline as well as the exam paper and mark scheme used.

The student’s written paper does not need to have been kept.

The Government previously confirmed schools in England will be able to appeal against A-level and GCSE grades free of charge.

State-funded schools and colleges will also be able to claim back the cost of unsuccessful appeals as well as fees for autumn exams, the Department for Education said.