GCSE grade boundaries are different in 2021

2021 has been a weird one for GCSE students across the UK.

The student cohort has not only had to grapple with two years working under covid restrictions – learning remotely and spending spurts of time isolating from their school 'bubbles', but their grades and exam process has been vastly different to previous years.

After the chaos of last year's GCSE and A Level results day – The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) have worked hard with teachers and schools to get kids the grades they deserve with minimal faff.

But how did teachers decide the grades and will the results be fair? Here's everything you need to know for results day 2021.

How were GCSE grades given?

Due to social distancing measures, GCSE exams were cancelled this year.

This meant that teachers had to use a variety of material to decide their pupils grades – ranging from in-class work, mock exams and coursework.

They were allowed to take into account a pupil's work from any point over the past two years, however the student should have been told which work was being used.

Grade boundaries for 2021

In a typical year, grade boundaries are created after an exam board collects all the marks.

Once the exam board has an idea of the general grades and average scores from that cohort – they will make boundaries to ensure there is a fair spread of grades.

As exams were impossible this year, teachers had to use grade boundaries from 2019 to calculate their own pupils grades.

These grades were then signed off by the head of department, senior leadership team and headteacher.

Can I appeal my grade?

GCSE results day has been pulled forward this year so as to ensure students have enough time to appeal their grades ahead of September.

Students who would like to request a review of their grade should contact their school or institution first.

The school will double check that all of the processes were followed correctly – if there was an error – they will submit a revised grade to the exam board.

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If the school can't spot a problem – they will submit the review to the exam board for them to take a look.

If these processes are conducted and the student still disagrees with the grade given, they can apply for their case to be referred to Ofqual’s Exams Procedure Review Service (EPRS).

Ofqual will investigate further to see if the exam board has made the correct judgement.

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