Qualifications Update 3rd April For AS and Year 10
Results Day Dates Confirmed Kirsty Williams
I am pleased to confirm that the 2020 Wales results day for AS and A level students, and for GCSE students, will be as originally scheduled. This means that Wales, Northern Ireland and England will share the results days of 13 August for AS & A Level and 20th August for GCSE.
As I set out in my letter to the Education Secretary for England on 31 March, during these uncertain times, providing clarity and ensuring that learners are not disadvantaged in accessing their university places by a divergence in results dates have been key priorities for me. I am pleased this will now be the case.
Sticking to the existing results dates has been the intention in Wales, supported by the advice of our independent exam regulator Qualifications Wales. Proposals in England to move to a much earlier results day introduced an unnecessary risk, and I had expressed my concerns to counterparts in the UK government, as had the education sector here in Wales and UCAS.
I therefore welcome today’s announcement for England. Education ministers from across all governments in the UK have worked well together during these challenging times, but on this occasion I regret that we were unable to make a joint announcement. GCSEs and A Levels are shared and owned across three countries within the UK. Making a joint announcement would have helped provide much needed assurance and certainty for all of our learners, their parents and practitioners at this difficult time.
I hope that now confirmation of results day has been provided our learners are able to make future plans with a little more confidence, although I recognise this continues to be a time of great uncertainty.
Letter to learners released on 03.04.20 from Qualifications Wales be awarded by WJEC. The Skills Challenge Certificate is only awarded by WJEC. If you are entered for a GCSE, AS or A Level offered by a different exam boards, the same principles will apply. Your schools, colleges and other exam centres will be asked to send exam boards two pieces of information for each of your qualifications, based on what they know about your work and performance:
- the grade they believe you were most likely to get if teaching, learning and exams had happened as planned
- the order of learners, by performance, within those grades.
Your centre will consider a range of evidence like your class and homework; your results in assignments and any mock exams; any non-exam assessment you might have done; and your general progress during your course.
This information will allow WJEC and other exam boards to gather and compare grades across centres. Together, we want to make sure that results are fair and that, as far as possible, learners are not advantaged or disadvantaged because their centres are more generous or harsh than others when making those judgements. That means the final grade you get could be different from the one your centre sends to WJEC or other exam boards.
What do I need to do?
Nothing. Your teachers will review all the work you have done so far, any new work set will not influence this summer’s results. Teachers may continue to set work to ensure that all teaching and learning has been completed and help prepare you for next year.
The data (grades and rank order) that will be provided is confidential and cannot be shared with you as learners, your parents or carers. Please don’t ask your teachers, or anyone else at your centre, to tell you the grades they will be sending to exam boards or where they have placed you in the order of learners. This is to help ensure the information submitted by schools and colleges is as fair as possible.
When will I get my results?
We’re working hard to make sure you get results as soon as possible – and no later than the published dates of 13 August (AS and A level) and 20 August (GCSE). We will confirm dates as soon as we can.
Can I take my exams another time?
There are already exams available in GCSE English Language, Mathematics, Mathematics-Numeracy and Welsh Language in November each year. You can enter for these exams in November 2020. Other exams will be available, as usual, in summer 2021.
We’ve published a set of FAQs here that you and your parents or carers might find useful. There are also regular updates on our website (www.qualificationswales.org) and social media (@quals_wales on twitter and @qualswalescymcymru on facebook) that you might want to follow.
We’ll keep you updated.
The following advice was added to the WJEC Information site today. Please scroll down for previous announcements.
10 ways to protect students’ mental health
Here at WJEC, we understand that this a particularly stressful time for all of us. Following the announcement made by the government that the summer examinations are now cancelled, our teams are working extremely hard with the regulators, other awarding bodies and the government to ensure that our learners are awarded fairly for all their hard work.
Whilst our team is busy finalising these arrangements, which will be circulated in due course, we spoke with our Psychology Subject Officer, Rachel Dodge, about how students can protect their own mental health, support their friends and family during this time of uncertainty.
1. Take a break
Whilst it is tempting to be constantly reading or watching the news either via the television, radio or social media, this can cause you additional stress. Take regular breaks, try other activities that will distract you, this could range from reading a book, to following an online tutorial on a different subject, such as mindfulness.
2. Stay connected
Given the seriousness of coronavirus, it is extremely important that we all adhere to the rules of social distancing. However, social media and various other forms of digital communication can ensure that we remain in contact with our friends and family, regardless of location. Free apps such as ’Houseparty’ are keeping us all connected, in new and innovative ways.
3. Get into a routine
In this time, we are surrounded by uncertainty, so it’s definitely worth introducing a routine to ground us, and help maintain a sense of normality. Set your alarm, plan your meals, consider making a timetable of activities, these will give you goals and a structure.
4. Maintain a healthy body
We are all guilty of turning to unhealthy snacks during stressful times, however, it’s best to limit these snacks and maintain a healthy and balanced diet. The government still states that we can exercise outside, whilst adhering to social distancing, alternatively, there are great online tutorials for you to complete exercise within your house. You could also take this time as an opportunity to try new types of exercise, such as Yoga, which doesn’t require any specialist equipment.
5. Don’t neglect your sleep
It is tempting to neglect or have too much sleep during this time, but it’s best to stick to at least 7 hours a night – this will support your cognitive functioning, and can form part of your daily routine.
6. Focus on control
Given the rate of change happening at the moment, we may feel that we have no control. In this case, it’s best to focus on what we can control, from our routine to our choice of reading materials, keep in mind that you still have control.
7. Learn something new
Why not take this time as an opportunity to learn something new? This could be studying a new topic or trying a new form of exercise. For example, the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS) offer a wealth of free online courses. Why not explore one of your current interests, or try something completely different?
8. Take time to unwind
Always make time to relax with activities you enjoy, this could be reading a book, watching a boxset or playing a video game. Or, try something with those you are self-isolating with e.g. baking together; it will provide you with a healthy distraction.
9. It’s good to talk
It is important that you connect with others, either in your household, or with others virtually – never feel like you are alone. Let people know how you feel, it’s best to share, as you will feel better sharing your concerns. It may sound like a cliche, but a problem shared, is a problem halved.
10. Help others
Despite the social isolation, we can still think of ways to help others, this could be something as small as a phone call to making a playlist for your friends – there are always ways to help.
Do you have any ideas on how you are maintaining your mental health during this time? Feel free to share this with us via our social media channels.
In addition to the advice by Rachel, here is a list of useful website that you may find useful:
The following Frequently Asked Questions were published by the WJEC on Monday 30.03.20
Coronavirus FAQs: GCSE, AS/A level, and Non-Examination Assessment (NEA)
Due to the recent government decision to close schools and colleges in Wales and the cancellation of the summer examination series, teachers and candidates have been asking how this will affect them. Below are some frequently asked questions and their answers.
WJEC is working with the regulators to ensure a fair outcome for candidates. Not all questions can be answered fully at this time. Please bear with us and check this page regularly for updates to the questions and answers.
These questions and answers apply to Qualifications Wales approved AS/A levels and GCSEs only, they do not apply to Ofqual regulated Eduqas AS, A level and GCSE qualifications. Please see the Eduqas website for updates on these qualifications.
If the question you have is not covered here, please contact [email protected].
Why have the summer examinations been cancelled rather than postponed?
In response to the coronavirus outbreak, the Welsh Government decided to close all schools and colleges from 23rd March and to cancel the summer examination series. Given the unprecedented circumstances and the threat to the health of the nation, they decided that cancellation was more appropriate than postponement.
Will candidates still receive grades this summer?
A level and GCSE candidates, who are cashing in a qualification, i.e. has entered and/or completed all units, will receive a grade for each qualification they have been entered for this summer.
Will candidates in year 12 receive AS grades?
AS learners will be awarded a qualification in a similar way to those taking GCSEs and A Levels this summer. For details of how this will contribute to final A level grades the following year, please refer to the statement on our website.
Will candidates sitting GCSEs early (in year 10) receive a grade for the qualification?
Where a candidate is entered for an entire GCSE in year 10, that is, they have entered and/or completed all units, they will be awarded a grade this summer. Where a candidate is not entered for all units, unit grades will not be awarded this summer. For further information, please refer to the statement on our website.
If a candidate is just cashing in units for a qualification sat in a previous series, will they receive a grade?
Yes, if a candidate has entered and completed all units for the qualification previously, provided cash in requirements have been met, they will receive a grade.
How will grades be awarded for individual candidates?
We are working closely with Qualifications Wales to determine how grades for individual candidates will be awarded this summer. Information will be provided to centres in due course.
How will WJEC ensure candidates receive a fair grade?
We are committed to ensuring that candidates receive a fair grade and more information will be published in due course about how grades will be awarded.
When will candidates receive their grades?
A level and GCSE candidates will receive their results by the published results days.
Will I be able to challenge my final grade?
There will be no reviews of marking or moderation based on a marked assessment. However, discussions are underway with Qualifications Wales on a possible appeals process for candidates.
Will candidates in other jurisdictions still be able to take their exams this summer?
Unfortunately, as the summer exam series is not running in Wales, candidates in other jurisdictions sitting WJEC qualifications will not be able to sit these exams either.
If a centre closed earlier than other centres, and they missed more teaching, will they be able to apply for Special Consideration?
No, this will not be possible, given that grades will be awarded based on teacher assessments. Teachers will be expected to base their grades on what would be achieved in normal circumstances, therefore special consideration would not be appropriate in this instance. Further guidance will be provided to teachers in due course.
I am an external/ privately tutored candidate how will I receive an overall grade
Arrangements are still being discussed with Qualifications Wales. Further information will be made available in due course.
WJEC General Qualifications and Skills Challenge Certificate NEA FAQs
Due to the recent government decision to close schools and colleges in Wales and the cancellation of the summer examination series, not all learners have had the opportunity to complete their non-examination assessment work. This has led to a number of questions from centres. Below are the most frequently asked questions. Please note that these questions refer to Qualifications Wales regulated GCSEs and AS/A levels. They do not apply to Ofqual regulated GCSEs, AS and A levels designated for use in Wales by Qualifications Wales. For further updates on these qualifications please refer to our Eduqas website. If the question you have is not covered here, please contact [email protected]
Is WJEC still moderating internally assessed NEA work for the summer examination series?
As not all candidates were able to complete their NEA work prior to centres closing on 20th March, we have agreed with Qualifications Wales, in order not to disadvantage any candidates, that we will not moderate samples of internally assessed NEA this summer.
Will centres receive marks from centre moderation visits for internally assessed units which have taken place?
We were not able to visit all centres prior to centres closing or to fully quality assure the work of all visiting moderators. Consequently, in order not to disadvantage candidates, we will not provide centres with any provisional marks completed prior to the closure of centres.
Is WJEC still marking externally assessed NEA work for the summer examination series and how will these marks be used?
Some oral and practical exam visits from a visiting examiner took place prior to schools closing. However, as not all visits had taken place and therefore not all centres have been marked, in order to not disadvantage some candidates, we will not progress with our quality assurance processes for centres that have been marked. As the marks are not quality assured, WJEC will not use them in awarding grades. However, for subjects where the assessments were completed for the entire cohort and submitted on or before 6th March, we will continue to mark and quality assure the marking.
In the light of school closures in Wales, will I still be required to submit completed NEA and input marks?
No, as centres are now closed, we do not require teachers to submit their NEA samples or input marks.
Will teachers use the evidence from NEA in their teacher assessed grades?
Teachers should consider the marks they have given for completed NEA in determining an appropriate teacher assessed grade for each candidate. Where NEA is incomplete, teachers will be expected to base their grades on what would be achieved in normal circumstances. Further guidance will be provided to centres in due course.
Are candidates able to complete NEA at home?
WJEC will not be moderating or marking NEA this year, therefore we do not require candidates to undertake further work on NEA at home for submission this year. Some centres may choose to make separate arrangements for learners to undertake work at home outside of the assessment process to inform their teacher assessed grades. WJEC is not requiring this however, as we recognise that not all candidates will have access to the appropriate facilities to support completion of NEA.
Should centres still standardise their centre’s NEAs, if more than one teacher has marked the work?
We advise that you internally standardise any work that you are basing your teacher assessed grades on, to ensure that the rank order is correct.
The following information for AS and Year 10 was published on the afternoon of Friday 27th March.
Whilst we appreciate there will be a lot of queries surrounding this statement we ask for your patience at this time to allow us to discuss the potential implications. We will not be in a position to discuss any individual student’s grades at this time and ask that you do not contact the school regarding this matter. We will send out communication in due course that will hopefully address any queries that you may have. We expect all pupils to continue with their learning and as a school we will continue to provide resources via Google Classroom and support all our pupils as best we can.
This year all AS learners will receive an estimated AS grade and there will be no AS exams until summer 2021. The estimate will be based on a range of evidence, including teacher assessment grades, and will not contribute to A level results in 2021.
In summer 2021, AS learners will have two options for their A level award. They can either choose to only sit the A2 units, with the A level grade awarded solely on their performance in those units, or they can choose to sit AS and A2 units. If they choose to sit the AS units alongside the A2 units they will be awarded the best grade from either route – either the grade awarded from performance on the A2 units alone or the grade awarded from combining both AS and A2 units.
Year 10 learners who were due to sit exams that would have led to a whole GCSE qualification this summer will be issued a grade following the same process as Year 11 learners. Teacher assessment grades and other evidence will be used to calculate a grade.
Year 10 learners who were due to sit units only, that is units that will lead to GCSE results next summer, will not receive estimated results. For those learners, there will be two options. They can choose to sit the units they plan to take in in summer 2021, with their overall GCSE grade calculated on the basis of that performance only.
Alternatively, they can choose to sit the Year 10 units in summer 2021, along with Year 11 exams. Whichever option a learner chooses, they will be awarded the best grade from either route
Letter from Qualifications Wales 27.03.20
Statement on summer 2020 approach to AS levels and Year 10 learners in Wales.
Last week the decision was taken to close schools and cancel all of this summer’s exams. We explained how GCSEs and A level grades will be awarded. Today we can outline the way forward for learners who were due to sit their AS levels and Year 10 learners who would have taken unit assessments in Wales this summer. Next week we will update on other qualifications.
In Wales, AS levels are not only stand-alone qualifications, but also contribute to A level qualifications – AS units are usually taken in Year 12 and A2 units in Year 13. Because of the contribution that AS outcomes make towards A level results, it has been important for us, Welsh Government and WJEC to take time to fully consider the implications for A level qualifications in summer 2021.
Following a detailed consideration of the options available and the advice that we provided, the Minister has today decided that learners who were due to sit their AS exams this year will not be required to take those exams at a later date. Instead they will be treated in a similar way to those taking GCSEs and A levels.
This year all AS learners will receive an AS grade and there will be no AS exams until summer 2021. The grade awarded will be based on a range of evidence, including teacher assessed grades, and will not contribute to A level results in 2021.
In summer 2021, AS learners will have two options for their A level award. They can either choose to only sit the A2 units, with the A level grade based on their performance in those units, or they can choose to sit AS and A2 units. If they choose to sit the AS units alongside the A2 units they will be awarded the best grade from either route.
Year 10 learners
Year 10 learners who were due to sit exams that would have led to a whole GCSE qualification this summer will be issued a grade following the same process as Year 11 learners. Teacher assessed grades and other evidence will be used to calculate a grade.
Year 10 learners who were due to sit units that will lead to GCSE results next summer, will not receive a unit result. For those learners, there will be two options. They can choose to sit only the units they plan to take in summer 2021, with their overall GCSE grade calculated on the basis of that performance only.
Alternatively, they can choose to sit the Year 10 units in summer 2021, along with Year 11 units. Whichever option a learner chooses, they will be awarded the best grade from either route.
For GCSEs, AS, A levels and the Skills Challenge Certificate teacher assessed grades will be collected as part of the evidence for determining final qualification grades.
Guidance on these teacher assessed grades will be issued to schools and colleges next week.
Further guidance on non-exam assessments, which would have been at various stages in their completion at the time when schools were closed, has already been issued by WJEC.
Qualifications other than GCSEs, AS and A levels and the Skills Challenge Certificate
We are working hard to confirm the position regarding other types of qualification taken by learners in Wales. For qualifications taken only by learners in Wales we are working closely with awarding bodies and stakeholders to make the right decisions for our learners and will provide an update next week.
For qualifications which are taken by learners across the UK, we are working with fellow UK regulators, awarding bodies and governments to ensure consistency and will share more details as soon as we can.
All of the decisions made are set within a context of unprecedented times for all of us. We know that you are looking for answers to many questions and we are working hard to develop the best solutions possible. Thank you for your patience -we will keep publishing information as it becomes available, so please keep checking our website. (Qualifications Wales)