Consultation outcome

Exceptional arrangements for exam grading and assessment in 2020

Applies to England

This consultation has concluded

Download the full outcome

Private candidate policy update

Detail of outcome

We are now providing our decisions on the other aspects of the proposals. These decisions relate to:

  • centre assessment grades

  • issuing results

  • impact on students

  • statistical standardisation of centre assessment grades
    • aims

    • considering centre trajectory

    • correcting potential bias in centre assessment grades

  • incorporating the approach into the regulatory framework

  • appealing the results
    • professional judgements

    • procedure – centres

    • procedure – exam boards

    • the statistical standardisation process

    • Exam Procedures Review Service (EPRS)

  • qualifications to which the exceptional regulatory measures apply

Feedback received

Detail of feedback received

We received 12,623 responses to the online consultation that used the standard response form. In addition, we received 62 responses which were submitted by email.

Original consultation


Consultation on grading specified general qualifications in 2020: GCSEs, AS, A levels, Extended Project Qualifications and Advanced Extension Award.

This consultation ran from

Consultation description

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has led to the closure of schools and colleges to all except the children of critical workers and vulnerable children, and to the cancellation of exams. In line with government policy we are working to enable students nevertheless to receive qualification grades.

Our aims are:

  • to ensure students can receive grades in these qualifications this summer so they can progress to the next stages of their lives without further disruption
  • that the grades will be as valued as those of any other year
  • that the approach will be fair

In this consultation we are seeking views on a number of features of the exceptional arrangements for awarding GCSEs, AS and A levels in 2020. We propose to apply the same arrangements to Extended Project Qualifications and the Advanced Extension Award.

We are introducing the exceptional arrangements at speed, to enable schools and colleges to gather and consider the evidence they will submit to the exam boards, so that students will know how their grades will be awarded and so that the exam boards can build the systems needed to issue results this summer. We have already consulted extensively with groups representing teachers, school and college leaders and with the exam boards. We have sought views from groups that represent students. We have heard from many individual students and parents of students who had expected to take exams this summer about the way the arrangements might affect them, which we have taken into account. We have also brought together a panel of assessment and statistical experts to advise on technical issues.

In summary, the great majority of students who had been entered to take exams this summer will receive a grade calculated by the exam board for each of their subjects. Students who feel that the grade does not reflect their ability or for whom it was not possible to issue a calculated grade, will be able to take exams in the additional exams series which will be scheduled for this autumn or, if they prefer, next summer.

Aspects of the arrangements by which students will receive results this summer have already been set out by the government. However, there are implementation decisions we must make, including the changes to our regulatory framework. We propose which of our rules we plan temporarily to set aside or change.

In light of the speed with which the arrangements must be finalised if students are to receive their results in good time, this consultation will close on Wednesday 29 April 2020. We encourage everyone with an interest to read the proposals and respond.


Exceptional arrangements for exam grading and assessment in 2020

Equality impact assessment: literature review

Published 15 April 2020
Last updated 16 June 2020 + show all updates
  1. Private candidate policy update and Update on summer 2020 GCSEs, AS and A level grades for students in year 10 and below and for private candidates moved from Awarding qualifications in summer 2020.

  2. Updated with consultation decisions and feedback response documents.

  3. First published.