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A Level, GCSE and BTEC Grading and Exam Results in 2022 – Ofqual guidance in full for students and parents

All Change – Official British curriculum qualifications regulator speaks out on 2022 exam results and grading in key advice for students and parents

1. Ofqual’s Top 10 things to know about GCSE, AS and A level results and grades this year

“The last 2 years have been tough for students. That’s why we put in place an unprecedented package of support to make the path back to pre-pandemic arrangements as smooth as possible.

Here are 10 things that you need to know about grading and results this summer for GCSE, AS and A level.

  1. The approach exam boards take to grading will reflect a midpoint between summer 2019 and 2021. Results will look different to summer 2021, because the nature of the assessment is different. It will be more meaningful to make comparisons with 2019 results, therefore, because this is when exams were last sat.
  2. Results in summer 2022 will be higher than when summer exams were last sat, but lower than in 2021, when grades were awarded by teacher assessment. Schools’ and colleges’ results are highly likely to be lower than in 2021 when exams did not go ahead. Very few schools or colleges, if any, will get higher results than in 2021.
  3. There will be an important role for examiner judgement in grading, as in any year. Senior examiners will review the quality of student work over a range of marks, before recommending grade boundaries based on all of the available evidence. Exam boards are responsible for setting grade boundaries, and Ofqual will monitor this.
  4. Exam boards will use data from 2019 and 2021 as a starting point for grading. Using data is important to support alignment between exam boards, so that it is no easier to get a grade with one exam board than another. This will also ensure that any inevitable differences in advance information (due to different specification structures) won’t make it easier, or harder, for students to get a particular grade.
  5. Grade boundaries will likely be lower than when summer exams were last sat in 2019. This might not always be the case though. Grade boundaries change each year to reflect any differences in the demand of the question papers.
  6. Students’ grades will be determined only by the number of marks they achieve on the assessments. It doesn’t matter where in the country students are located, or the type of school or college they attend; the same grade boundaries will apply to everyone taking the qualification.
  7. Students will achieve the marks they gain in their exams in many different ways. The assessments are what’s known as compensatory; so good performance in one paper or section can make up for poorer performance elsewhere. That’s why GCSEs, AS and A levels are not (and have never been) criterion-referenced. Marking is happening as normal, and according to the agreed mark schemes.
  8. GCSEs, AS and A levels are also not norm-referenced. There is no quota for the number of students that can get a particular grade – and there never has been. Grade boundaries are never set until after students have sat the assessments and they have been marked.
  9. Results will be part-way between those of summer 2019 and summer 2021. It is unlikely that results will be precisely at a midpoint between summer 2019 and 2021 – overall or for individual subjects. This will also likely vary at different grades, because it will depend on how students have performed.
  10. Results in summer 2021 were higher than in 2019 to a greater extent in some subjects than others. Our approach this summer allows us to begin to re-establish pre-pandemic relationships between subjects. We will, however, be requiring exam boards to award GCSE French and German more generously at grades 9, 7 and 4, following our announcement in 2019 that we would seek better alignment between these subjects and GCSE Spanish.”

2. Ofqual on Technical and Vocational Qualifications including BTEC

For students taking vocational and technical qualifications (VTQs) alongside, or instead of, GCSEs or A levels, these are the key facts according to Ofqual:

“As qualifications regulator, our main concern is always students. It is important that students taking qualifications that are used for the same purposes are not advantaged or disadvantaged. This includes students taking vocational and technical qualifications (VTQs) when compared to their GCSE and A level peers.

Over the past 12 months – because of the ongoing disruption of the pandemic – Ofqual has enabled awarding organisations (AOs) to adapt their assessments so that students can demonstrate their knowledge and skills. Our focus has been on protecting the validity and reliability of the qualification. Most importantly we’ve sought to make sure that the qualifications students achieve show what they know and can do, so they can progress confidently to further learning or employment.

Changes to Vocational and Technical Qualifications formal assessments in 2022

Ofqual required AOs to consider adapting assessments to free up time to recover lost teaching and learning hours, and to help assessments continue to take place. We knew no single approach would work for all vocational and technical assessments. Instead, our rules gave AOs scope to decide on adaptations that were most appropriate to their qualifications, for example adjusting work experience or placement requirements. Many VTQs did not require such extensive adaptations as they did in the last 2 years.

Ofqual also encouraged AOs to respond pragmatically to the practical issues faced by centres. In some cases, AOs allowed centres to choose how they delivered assessments, for example using online rather than paper-based tests and carrying out assessments remotely rather than face-to-face. Some AOs also introduced remote assessment and remote invigilation.

Vocational and Technical Qualification results in summer 2022

Given the disruption of the past 2 years, we should expect that this summer’s results will look different, despite exams and assessments taking a big step towards normality.

We have set out the approach we expect exam boards to take to grading GCSEs and A levels. We’ve asked AOs to award overall grades that are right for this very specific year of assessment, taking account of the expectations set for grading GCSEs and A levels where they can. This also applies to T Levels. Some AOs will have qualifications where they can adopt a similar approach to GCSEs and A levels. For example, this is the case for International Baccalaureate results this year.


Grades for vocational and technical qualifications taken in schools and colleges will be based on outcomes from a range of assessments. Many students will have carried forward a result based on Teacher Assessed Grades for units that were assessed last summer. Some may also have Centre Assessed Grades from summer 2020. AOs will use these, plus other assessments taken during a student’s course of study, when determining grades.

It is natural to want to compare results from one year to those of a previous year. This summer, comparisons should be with 2019 results, when exams and other formal assessments were last taken.

What’s next for Vocational and Technical Qualification students in 2022?

The return of formal exams and assessments has been widely welcomed. Students see them as the fairest way to be assessed. But we also understand some students will be anxious about their results, or may be comparing their experience with friends who took other qualifications. That’s natural. Above all, however, students should take pride in their results this summer. They will demonstrate what students know and can do to the best of their abilities.

Let’s focus on and celebrate those achievements and recognise the hard work put in by all involved.”

Will exam results and the way exams are being graded be fair to UAE students this year? Is it right that we return to pre-pandemic ways of deciding the future of our children? We would love to hear from you. Email [email protected] to share your views. Alternatively, join us on Parents United to share your thoughts with other parents.

Further information

Click here for more on how the regulators are dealing with pandemic grade inflation by toughening the way exams are conducted and grades awarded this year

We will be covering both A Level Results Day on 18th August 2022 and GCSE Results Day on the 25th August 2022 with live news here from 7:00am on both days, so join us then on to find out exactly just how policies by the examination boards, OFQUAL and the UK government do impact on all of us in the UAE.

© A WhichMedia publication. 2022. All rights reserved.

About The Author
Jon Westley
Jon Westley is the Editor of and UK. You can email him at jonathanwestley [at]

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