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What Grade will I get for my GCSE AS or A Level? Teachers and Schools to Decide Fate of Students Impacted by Coronavirus Covid 19 School Closures.
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What Grade will I get for my GCSE AS or A Level? Teachers and Schools to Decide Fate of Students Impacted by Coronavirus Covid 19 School Closures.

by Jon WestleyApril 3, 2020

Background – What Grade will I get for my GCSE or A Level Revealed – How Grades will really be Decided for Students Impacted by Coronavirus Covid 19 School Closures

The UK Government and OFQAL have today published, in full, details of how grades for students sitting GCSE, AS and A ‘ Level will be calculated. The full details for parents and schools can be found below. Below are the key points:

  • Exam boards will be contacting schools after Easter asking them to submit the following:
    • Each school’s decision on the Grade each child should receive will be based on “the grade that they would be most likely to have achieved if they had sat their exams and completed any non-exam assessment.” Schools will decide based on classwork, book-work, participation in performances in subjects such as music, drama or PE, non-exam assessment – whether or not complete, results of any assignments or mock exams, previous examination results, any other records of student performance over the course of study
    • Schools will have to put children in order from best to worst. This information will be used in the statistical standardisation of centres’ judgements – allowing fine tuning of the standard applied across all schools and colleges. It is likely that the exam boards will make the eventual results fit to some degree with the same sort of grade distribution as previous years.
    • A declaration from the Head of Centre making the submission that the submissions are honest and true.

Exam boards will put all assessment grades through a process of standardisation using a model being developed with Ofqual. It will look at evidence such as the expected national outcomes for this year’s students, the prior attainment of students at each school and college (at cohort, not individual level), and the results of the school or college in recent years. “It will not change the rank order of students within each centre; nor will it assume that the distribution of grades in each subject or centre should be the same. The process will also recognise the past performance of schools and colleges. However, if grading judgements in some schools and colleges appear to be more severe or generous than others, exam boards will adjust the grades of some or all of those students upwards or downwards accordingly.”

This means that schools who have achieved better results historically in previous years will be more likely to secure better grades for their students this year. 

  • Schools and colleges have been told that they must not share their centre assessment grades with students, parents or carers, under any circumstances, until after the final results are issued.

This means that parents and students will not be told by schools the Grades they will award them.

“This is to protect the integrity of centres’ judgements, and to avoid anyone feeling under pressure to submit a grade that is not supported by the evidence. Since the final grades for some or all students in a centre could be different from those submitted, it also helps to manage students’ expectations. We’re working hard to get results out as soon as is possible – results won’t be delayed after the dates they were expected in August and ideally will be released a little earlier, so students can have the certainty they need.”

  • There will be an appeal process
  • Students will have the opportunity to sit exams at the earliest reasonable opportunity in the new academic year if they disagree with the school’s decision.
  • For other general and vocational or technical qualifications including BTEC the same aims apply. Further information will follow.

Whilst unavoidable, the end result is that schools and teachers are now being placed in a very uncomfortable position – and the pressure on them is going to be intense from parents to look after their children. No school or teacher can ever know for sure how any child would actually perform in an exam. 

We have provided the below in full so that parents and students have all the information that they need to understand what is now really happening.

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GEMS_INARTICLE

Official Q& A for Parents and Students – What Grade will I get for my GCSE AS or A Level Revealed – How Grades will Really be Decided for Students Impacted by Coronavirus Covid 19 School Closures

Letter_to_students_-_Summer_2020_grading

 

Complete Guidance for Parents and Schools – What Grade will I get for my GCSE AS or A Level Revealed – How Grades will Really be Decided for Students Impacted by Coronavirus Covid 19 School Closures

Summer_2020_grades_for_GCSE_AS_A_level_EPQ_AEA_in_maths_-_guidance_for_teachers_students_parents

 

The Instructions Given to Schools to Calculate Grades – What Grade will I get for my GCSE AS or A Level Revealed – How Grades will Really be Decided for Students Impacted by Coronavirus Covid 19 School Closures

Summer_2020_grades_for_GCSE_AS_A_level_EPQ_AEA_in_maths_-_guidance_for_heads_of_centres

 

SchoolsCompared.com spoke with Anthony Cashin Principal, Kent College and Tim Hollis Head of Senior, Kent College and asked them about the challenges that all schools are now facing and the heavy responsibility they carry for deciding the future of their students. Mr Cashin responded:

“This is such a difficult time for our pupils who were due to complete their GCSE and A-Level examinations in the coming months.

Kent College staff sympathise with all of our examination pupils at this time of uncertainty.

However, with a process now in place, we will ensure that every pupil achieves the grade they ultimately deserve.

Having discussed the school’s collection of data with Mr Tim Hollis, our Head of Senior School, we believe, that at department level, our teachers will have sufficient information to determine grades and rank order.

Additionally, with a sufficient amount of historical data we can ensure that, as a centre, our grades are accurate, and in line with recognised trends.”

Mr Hollis confirmed:

“We are extremely confident that we are in a solid position to accurately and impartially determine the information that is required by examination boards, in order for them to generate the qualification grades for each pupil.”

Teresa Woulfe, Head of Secondary School, British School Al Khubairat, advised SchoolsCompared.com:

“This has been a very stressful time for our students, parents and staff.  I would like to thank them for their patience whilst we were awaiting further guidance.

It is helpful that we now have a clear process to follow which we can now implement.
At BSAK we are committed to ensure that no student is disadvantaged by this decision and that they obtain the grades they fully deserve.”

We have a highly developed assessment and data system which we will use to provide the exam boards with the information needed. We will work with teachers to ensure that this information is submitted by the end of May.”

Lizzie Robinson, Principal, The Jebel Ali School, conveyed to students and parents across the UAE who have been worried:

“I’m relieved to see that Ofqual have committed to an alternative process for awarding grades and notably, provided a direct message for students.

The previous uncertainty of what would happen and how it would affect them put even more pressure on an already stressed group of young people.

I have sympathy with both schools and exam boards working hard to do right by the students and provide a credible alternative to an institutional process in unprecedented times.

The good news is that teachers really do know their students best and already have rigorous assessment processes in place with data for each student captured, analysed and moderated over many years.

Almost all schools use various forms of standardised testing to build strong assessment profiles of each student. In the best schools, robust quality assurance led by experienced teachers and leaders means that the ongoing collection of student data is routinely moderated on an internal basis and also with other like schools. This means that student data is reliable, accurate and already has parity with other good schools.

In short, schools that have robust day to day systems in place will give accurate attainment and will already have a track record for commendable results. It seems Ofqual recognises this by stating that they will look at a school’s past performance.

Under the circumstances there is a real commitment from Ofqual to removing inconsistency and bias. Student ranking requirements, confidentiality and the forthcoming Ofqual model are all prudent measures to ensure students receive grades that are a true reflection of their hard work and ability.

At the end of the day, keeping our students safe and healthy is our number one priority, thereafter everything is possible.”

Fiona Cottam, Principal, Hartland International School Dubai, summarised on a note of optimism for students and families:

“As a parent of a year 13 I am glad that a decision has been made at national level.

But I’m sure it remains a really stressful time for teachers and schools. They now have this additional weight of responsibility placed on their shoulders to look after children and ensure that no student is disadvantaged.

It is our students that must come first.

However, students and parents across the UAE, should remain confident that schools and teachers will make the right professional decisions as they have always done in the past.

In our house, we now just have to wait it out for results day like everyone else…”

[Editor’s note: thank you to Katy Holmes for contributing to this article.]

 

Backgrounder – Updated Key Facts Today at a Glance, What to Do if you Believe that You or Your Children are Infected or You are Locked Out of the UAE – and Why you Should Stay Home.

Help for Parents with Coronavirus Covid 19 with FAQ and status update

We have a lot to be positive about in the UAE.

The Guardian newspaper reports:

“Overall the UAE in the final week of March was testing at rate of just over 10,000 per day, The speed with which the UAE, a wealthy oil Gulf state, has moved to harness Chinese technology raises questions as to why some western countries have been unable to source testing kits and set up infrastructure with comparable speed.”

The Guardian newspaper rates the UAE as the best in the world for testing – this seen as the single most important means available to governments to safely move a country out of lockdown and save more lives.

More here.

As of 03 April 2020, the UAE has 1024 confirmed cases of Coronavirus Covid 19 and a total number of 8 deaths. At this stage of the curve, the UAE is tracking at a much lower rate than equivalent countries because of the swift action of the UAE government to lockdown the country. Beyond the school closure programme, key evidence of the UAE government’s commitment to flattening the curve can be found in the announcement on 31 March of the complete lockdown of Dubai’s Al Ras area. This will see residents not being able to leave their homes and no entrance to the area from other areas of the emirate with businesses closed and metro and road closures area-wide.

Coronavirus Covid-19 is invisible making protecting yourself difficult. The five actions parents and students can take to protect themselves and others is to:

  • (1) Wash your hands for a minimum of 25 seconds;
  • (2) Avoid physical or social proximity with others and maintain a minimum 2M distance at all times;
  • (3) Do not touch your face;
  • (4) Be kind;
  • (5) Stay home.

To report suspected cases of Coronavirus Covid-19, parents are asked to call:

  • The Dubai Health Authority: 800 342
  • The Ministry of Health and Prevention: 800 11111.
  • The Department of Health Estijaba service: 800 1717

Banks welcome calls from parents who are struggling as a result of the UAE lockdown and are expected to respond compassionately.

For parents in Abu Dhabi facing a crisis in looking after their children during the closure of nursery schools an emergency hotline is available on: +971 58 5886570 or the toll-free number 80051115.

For parents in Dubai, the KHDA is providing comprehensive support for parents here.

As of 3 March 2020, the World Health Organisation calculated that the Coronavirus Covid-19 virus has an average 3.4% fatality rate making it 30 times more deadly than the flu virus. The flu virus kills between 290,000 and 650,000 people a year globally. The earliest estimation for global availability of a vaccine is projected to be September 2021.

As of 09:00, 03 April 2020, infection has passed the million mark with 1,034,098 cases of COVID-19 being reported across 87 countries and territories, including 54,463 deaths.

Infection rates vary in countries between 1% and 6% depending on multiple factors including the age of the population.

The current death rate from closed cases is 11%.

Children can be infected but the risk is lower.

“There have been very few reports of the clinical outcomes for children with COVID-19 to date. Limited reports from China suggest that children with confirmed COVID-19 may present with mild symptoms and though severe complications (acute respiratory distress syndrome, septic shock) have been reported, they appear to be uncommon. However, as with other respiratory illnesses, certain populations of children may be at increased risk of severe infection, such as children with underlying health conditions.

Limited reports of children with COVID-19 in China have described cold-like symptoms, such as fever, runny nose, and cough. Gastrointestinal symptoms (vomiting and diarrhoea) have been reported in at least one child with COVID-19.”

Positively, the World Heath Organisation states:

“[Even after just] eight weeks into this Coronavirus Covid-19 outbreak: yet we had identified the virus, we have the genetic sequence, PCR & serological assay in use. This wealth of knowledge is unprecedented for a new disease.”

Currently there is no cure.

  • More on the UAE Government decision to close every school in the UAE to protect children can be found here.
  • More on the UAE government decision to close all nursery schools can be found here.
  • More on the UAE Government decision to ban school events can be found here.
  • More on the first confirmed case of Coronavirus Covid 19 in a UAE school at the Indian High School, Senior Campus can be found here.
  • More on the cancellation of A’ Levels and GCSEs here.
  • More on the cancellation of the International Baccalaureate IB examinations here.

Medical specialist face masks are not advised for adults and are illegal for use by children because they restrict airflow and could result in respiratory failure if used over a long period. Paracetamol should be used in the case of suspected infection. Ibuprofen should not be used.

A dedicated hotline has been set up to advise worried schools and parents on 06-7017000 and email at Sd@moe.gov.ae for issues that arise during the closure of schools and universities and the Coronavirus Covid-19 outbreak.

Symptoms of Coronavirus Covid-19 infection are:

  • (1) High temperature;
  • (2) Cough;
  • (3) Loss of taste and/or smell.

Some people show no symptoms but remain highly infectious and dangerous to others.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has requested those holding valid UAE visas, and now locked out of the UAE, must do the following:

“Those who are now staying in their countries of origin have to contact the UAE diplomatic missions in their respective nations for all necessary support and to streamline their return back to the UAE.”

“Those who are currently outside the UAE for business considerations have to contact their employers here as well as Emirati diplomatic missions in their host countries for all necessary support to facilitate their return back to the UAE.”

“Those who are now on vacation have to contact UAE diplomatic missions in their respective host countries for all necessary support to facilitate their return back to the UAE.”

“The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) has urged the families and kins of those affected by the decision to get in touch with the ICA via the following contact numbers to get updated on all the measures they have to pursue: Fax: 025543883, Mobile: 0501066099, Landline 02 3128867- 02 3128865, Email: Operation@ica.gov.ae”

More on the real story of Coronavirus Covid 19 direct from Schools can be found on SchoolsCompared.com.


If you have a ground-breaking story in UAE education, please mail the SchoolsCompared.com News Desk 24/7 at johnathanwestley@schoolscompared.com 


©SchoolsCompared.com 2020. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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

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