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School unable to rank/grade Alevel students.

(39 Posts)
Upsetmom Wed 13-May-20 23:17:22

Hi, my daughter received the email below today? Does anyone know if other schools are doing this? Is it just the way her school have interpreted the guidelines? Have one super distraught young adult! Looks like she will miss out on her uni place for an ultra competitive subject.

At the announcement of cancellation of the summer examinations 2020, xxxxxx our examinations officer, contacted you in preparation for alternative arrangements that the exam boards were putting in place. In anticipation of a range of possible measures, you were asked to collect examples of assessed work that could be provided as evidence.

Following the guidance that has been released by Ofqual on the assessment arrangements for providing grades and rank within the centre, we advise that it will not be possible for the school to provide you with an assessed grade. To be confident, we would need to ensure that there has been a continuous relationship with the school in which work has been submitted and assessed during this academic year, which would allow us to not only provide an assessed grade but also a ranked position alongside all candidates entered at the centre.

In such circumstances that the following options are available to you:

If you have been studying through another centre, you may be able to transfer your entry to that centre to provide the relevant assessment data.
Maintain your entry for the examinations, for which we would indicate that we are unable to confidently provide an assessed grade. This would mean that the exam boards may not award a grade and you would be able to sit the examination at the next available opportunity (which we understand to be the Autumn with no fixed date being yet published).
Withdraw completely and receive a refund. If you chose this option, you may re-enter at a later date but may be subject to increased fees.

We would recommend the second option, in which you are still able to retake your examination that you have prepared for, albeit at a postponed date. If you have a conditional university offer, you may wish to contact the relevant admissions tutor to provide clarification and seek advice. Should you wish to withdraw your entry completely, we have a deadline of Friday 15 May to withdraw candidates so that they may receive a full refund without incurring any cost.

If you have any queries, please contact [redacted], examinations officer, and we will inform you of any updates in relation to the autumn sitting of the exams.

OP’s posts: |
IntolerableCruelty Wed 13-May-20 23:21:11

It sounds like she hasn't provided enough work to be assessed?

ADreamOfGood Wed 13-May-20 23:26:04

Is it PE/Sport?
It reads as though she is a private candidate and not a pupil at the institution. Is this the case?

wheresmyliveship Wed 13-May-20 23:30:06

If she is a pupil at the school, the teachers should have kept records of assessment. We are not being asked to submit evidence to the exam board. The onus is not on the student to provide this - I would reply and cc in the governors, and also forward to the exam board for advice.

Glittercandle Wed 13-May-20 23:30:50

Is her sixth form part of a consortium?

meditrina Wed 13-May-20 23:32:33

Why is there no 'continous relationship'?

That and the reference to studying through another centre, makes it sound as if she has moved between schools. Is that the case?

minipie Wed 13-May-20 23:34:55

Did she receive the communication from the examinations officer that is mentioned at the start?

If not - there must be some mistake.

MadeinBelfast Wed 13-May-20 23:38:13

You may wish to get the name at the end deleted.
Most schools I am aware of are following the guidance to rank students and predict grades. Has your daughter only recently started at the school?

AppleKatie Wed 13-May-20 23:40:28

You left the name of the exams officer in the OP which has enabled me to google the school. (Try to get MN to edit it out to protect her privacy!)

I don’t think they are refusing to rank all students just those who don’t have a continuous relationship with the school.

Why is this? Is it because she was hoping to resit this year?

BackforGood Wed 13-May-20 23:47:38

Have reported the post so hopefully MNHQ will remove the name soon.

OP - you need to explain why she hasn't had a continuous relationship, for people to be able to advise you or offer any support.

Monkey2001 Thu 14-May-20 00:00:35

She must be a private/re-sit candidate. The exam centre is following the guidance. I would go for option 2 and inform the university that as a private candidate the school is unable to provide a grade. I expect many universities will just accept the grades candidates already have in that situation or some will just hold the offer over for 2021 - which might be better anyway as 2020 will be a very odd start to university.

Upsetmom Thu 14-May-20 05:18:05

In answer to the questions above. She started at the school in year 7. She has been self studying for resists in 2 subjects whilst working as a domiciliary carer. She already has AAB. Offer is AAA. One of the resist subjects she already has an A in. I believe her course starts a little earlier than most and I think that the autumn alevels will be after the start of her course. There are a number of pupils at her school in a similar situation, most with offers for early entry uni courses.
The school only notified her yesterday of this change, before yesterday all communication from the school was positive and we understood the school would be able to submit grades. The most recent guidelines to schools was issued on 5 May.

Here is a link www.gov.uk/government/news/ofqual-publishes-initial-decisions-on-gcse-and-a-level-grading-proposals-for-2020

It would appear that other school have been getting the subject teachers to
Interview the pupils to assist with gradings. She improved her ucat score by about 100 marks on the previous year.

Thank you all for your help. As you can imagine she is terribly upset.

OP’s posts: |
marcopront Thu 14-May-20 05:51:09

It is not about how long she has been in the school. It is about the subjects she is studying.
If she is self studying do the school have any work from her for those subjects? If not how can they predict her performance?

Needmoresleep Thu 14-May-20 05:55:35

She should email the University and explain that her studies had been going well, presumably as a result of being a resit candidate, she received this.

From a University perspective it is likely to be about their numbers, rather than an individuals grades. Factors might include.

1. They may now have more meeting predicted grades than anticipated.

2. They may have some who now want to defer, perhaps because of health reasons.

3. Some international students may have dropped out.

So a constructive email confirmating that she is still keen to attend. Will they accept her anyway, or if they need her to have achieved the grades, will they defer her place to allow her to sit in the autumn.

She already has three a levels and her grades were not that far off. They previously accepted her knowing she was resitting. My guess is that there is a good chance they will consider taking her anyway. The real danger is if their numbers are already too high.

turtletum Thu 14-May-20 06:10:15

OP has your daughter got any work that she could have submitted as evidence of her self study? Where I work, students studying for resits are offered opportunities to sit mid/end of year trial exams if they wish.

From a teacher's perspective, I've found it stressful to award rankings based on previous work. Making these high stakes decisions is very stressful and we need to back up our awarded grades with evidence. I teach some kids who bombed in their mock exam but have been working so hard to improve since then, but unless they provided further evidence (which all students were asked to do, by completing one exam style task), I cannot predict them a good grade, even though I think they'd be capable of a higher grade in the exam.
Therefore, unless your daughter has provided her teachers with further work, the only grade they have is her previous grade of B. So they can't rank her work against the other students and cannot award her an A, or any grade at all.

This must be devastating for your daughter. I'd recommend sitting the exam once that's possible but also wait and see with university places. It's an unusual time and there will be lots of students on similar positions, so universities are likely to be looking beyond just the awarded grades. If it doesn't go to plan, then sit the exam, take a gap year, and reapply. Not the original plan but isn't so bad. As others have said, starting uni this autumn is likely to be an underwhelming experience.

serenada Thu 14-May-20 06:18:51

Why is she retaking a subject she has an 'A' in?

Upsetmom Thu 14-May-20 07:41:19

Serenada i think she is retaking the subject she already has an A in because when she reapplied to uni she thought that anybody offers might be AAA*.

Turtletum. Her school initially asked her to submit evidence but have now decided that they can’t judge.

OP’s posts: |
TheOnlyLivingBoyInNewCross Thu 14-May-20 07:55:53

So she already has two As and a B at A Level but is holding an offer of three As, is that right? And her school are saying that they do not have enough evidence of work from her to provide a centre-assessed grade in her two resits? That is odd, because it suggests that she has submitted no work to them over the course of the year, or sat any practice papers in preparation, but surely she has?

I would suggest that she contacts her university and explains the situation to them. As others have said, this is an unusual year for universities too and there may be some solution they can offer.

ADreamOfGood Thu 14-May-20 07:57:10

So it's a self-study resit? It would have been pertinent to have included that in your OP.
I can see why they won't rank her then. I would feel very uncomfortable ranking someone who was resitting without attending the lessons alongside those I had taught throughout the course. Even if they'd done the course with us first time round. Cohorts can vary so much, particularly in smaller a level subjects.

TheletterZ Thu 14-May-20 08:05:02

We have similar situation to your daughter at my school, with the candidate retaking to improve his score but he is now overseas. We are considering evidence and ranking him accordingly so I think this is a decision your school is making and not a national one.

Sorry your daughter is going through this. I suggest you phone the admission at the university and speak to them about this, especially as she has good ucat scores.

ImBritishNotEnglish Thu 14-May-20 08:29:31

It’s not relevant wether she’s been there since year 7.What would be useful to know (you still haven’t made it clear), is:

Has she been attending classes at the school for her resists?
Has she submitted any assessments or tests during her resit year at the school? If she has, can you ask the school what has happened to it? if not then that is the problem.

Aside I still don’t understand why she is resitting a subject she’s already got an A in. Surely she just needs to resit the one she got a B in and target an A? But that’s less relevant here. I think in the current climate & special circumstances, she’s more likely to meet her offer than not.

Medievalist Thu 14-May-20 08:57:17

She has been self studying for resists in 2 subjects whilst working as a domiciliary carer.

Not sure how the school could assess her in these circumstances?

BalloonSlayer Thu 14-May-20 10:28:49

She sounds like she is in a strong position. She has almost the grades they have asked for, and she actually has them. Many universities would accept you with one grade lower anyway. I'd suggest she rings admissions and talks it through. Unis are desperate to fill places, a lot of overseas students won't be coming.

LIZS Thu 14-May-20 10:35:43

So she has not got any work in the last year which has been marked. If they are resits the school has no evidence on which to change the grades she achieved previously nor can she be compared to the current cohort. Has she spoken to the uni to see if they will accept her as is?

SeasonFinale Thu 14-May-20 15:12:41

She is indeed entered as a Private Candidate as she has self studied these subjects rather than a y13 pupil at the school. The school has not been assessing her over the period of self study. However Unis are being asked to be more flexible this year. I would suggest that she contacts the uni in question and explains her grades she already holds and why she cannot be assessed for a calculated grade. You may find that they are prepared to make her an offer anyway.

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