On Thursday, more than half a million students will receive results for GCSEs and Level 1 and Level 2 vocational and technical qualifications (VTQs). These students, and their teachers, have shown remarkable resilience over the past two years. To recognise the impact of the pandemic, we put in place an unprecedented package of support for students.
For GCSE, this meant a choice of content in some subjects, formulae and equation sheets in maths and science, and advance information for most subjects. In VTQs, awarding organisations (AOs) made adaptations as necessary to suit their particular qualifications. In some qualifications, AOs streamlined the assessments and in others they increased the flexibility around internal assessments.
The results on Thursday are a welcome step back to normality. Students and teachers have told us how pleased they were to be able to take exams and formal assessments.
Here are a few things to remember if you’re receiving results on Thursday.
Marking and moderation took place as normal this year
Marking of many exams for GCSEs and VTQs is done by question, so your paper might have been marked by several different examiners. Markers don’t see your name, or which school or college you attend, so the marking is completely anonymous. Markers are checked at every stage of their marking – before they start live marking, and while they are marking. That checking continues until the very last script is marked. Moderation is also closely monitored throughout the process. Markers and moderators are experts in their subject, and the vast majority are teachers or ex-teachers.
This year, for GCSEs, schools and colleges can ask to see copies of your exam scripts. This means you can see the marking on your script. If you think there might have been a marking error, your teacher can review the script before deciding whether to request a review of marking.
Grading was more generous this summer
To recognise the disruption caused by the pandemic, we asked senior examiners to be more generous when setting grade boundaries in GCSEs. In VTQs, where appropriate, the grading was also generous, so students were not disadvantaged by taking different qualifications. Senior examiners also had to be sure that the quality of work was acceptable for a particular grade, so that your grades are valued.
Results are likely to be lower than in 2021, because the assessment was different. But schools and colleges knew that. They will take that into account when they’re selecting students for A level or other level 3 courses, as will employers offering apprenticeships and universities making offers that include a GCSE or L2 qualification.
VTQ results on Thursday
VTQs are different from GCSEs. They have different assessment arrangements. Unlike GCSEs, where all the assessment is taken at the end of the course, VTQs are designed to be flexible, so students can take qualifications of varying sizes and they can take assessments at different times of the year.
This flexibility means students can be awarded a qualification when they have completed the required number of assessments, whenever that might be. To get a grade for a student, the school or college must submit a claim to the AO. Many schools and colleges will submit these claims to coincide with GCSE results being issued. But there may be good reason not to claim until later, perhaps because a student is waiting to see how they did in an external exam before deciding if they wanted to re-sit it or claim the qualification. So not all VTQ students will be expecting to receive results on Thursday.
We know that some students are still awaiting level 3 VTQ results. Pearson and OCR are working to resolve this, and we are working closely with them. If you are waiting for results, there is more information in our rolling update.
We know that the past two years have been tough. If you’re receiving results on Thursday, you can be proud of your resilience, and we wish you all the best for the next stage of your education or training.