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Ofqual releases letter to schools about the summer 2017 exam series

On 15 June 2017 Ofqual wrote to all schools to update them on the summer exam series. This is something Ofqual does every year to remind school leaders of the relevant issues in advance of summer awarding and to give links to key pieces of information. 

This year, the letter focuses on: 

  • Awarding in summer 2017; for the new GCSEs and new A levels, there will be a greater emphasis on using statistical predictions to set grade boundaries, to ensure that the 2017 cohort are not unfairly disadvantaged by being the first to sit new examinations.

  • Setting standards in new 9 to 1 GCSEs; Exam boards will use statistical predictions based on prior attainment at Key Stage 2. Where the cohort in 2017 is similar to that in 2016, Ofqual expect that:
  • broadly the same proportion of students will achieve grade 7 and above as achieved grade A and above in 2016;
  • broadly the same proportion of students will achieve grade 4 and above as achieved grade C and above in 2016; and
  • the bottom of grade 1 will align with the bottom of grade G in 2016. 

  • Setting standards in new AS and A levels; if the entry is similar to last year then Ofqual expect A level results in those subjects to be similar to those in 2016. For those AS subjects that are new this year, exam boards will use the same approach as in 2016, guided by predictions based on GCSE prior attainment. 
  • Variability in results at school/college level; Ofqual are aware thatwhen qualifications change, there is normally more variability in schools and college results, and this is what they expect for the new qualifications this year. They will publish more information on this on results days.  
  • A level modern foreign languages; informed by their recent research, Ofqual believe there is a case for making a small upward adjustment to the predictions used to set grade A, which they will implement for this summer's A levels. They will provide more detail on this adjustment once exams are finished and before results days. 
  • New Applied General qualifications; this summer sees the first awards of a number of new Applied General qualifications, which include external assessment for the first time.
  • Changes to post-results review services; Ofqual have now reviewed the evidence from the pilot, and will shortly announce the arrangements that will be in place for appeals this summer 
  • Question paper errors; once results are issued, Ofqual will look carefully at the reasons for the errors that occurred and take action if appropriate.

The full letter can be found here.