Students in England must meet eight criteria to appeal exam results

Aaron Walawalkar
·3-min read
<span>Photograph: Peter Nicholls/Reuters</span>
Photograph: Peter Nicholls/Reuters

Students in England hoping to appeal their A-level and GCSE exam results based on their mock grades will need to meet a set of eight criteria to be considered “valid”, the exams regulator Ofqual has revealed.

Related: A-levels row: Oxford college to honour all offers despite results

Ofqual on Saturday confirmed that a route of appeal will be offered to students whose mock grade was higher than their calculated one, with exam boards ready to process applications from Monday.

Students who were unable to take a written mock exam before schools and colleges closed on 20 March will also be able to appeal on the basis of non-exam assessment marks, the regulator added.

It comes after thousands of A-level students received lower grades than expected on Thursday, after 39% of results were downgraded by Ofqual’s algorithm.

Among the criteria for what constitutes a valid mock grade are the conditions of the assessment, including whether there was appropriate invigilation and no possibility of corrections and revisions.

It also specifies mock exams must have ensured “substantial coverage of the content normally assessed” and have been taken under timed conditions which align with those in normal assessment.

Related: A-level students speak: 'I always dreamed of going to Cambridge'

Schools, colleges and other learning centres will need to complete and send a form to the exam board to confirm the criteria has been met, as well as providing a mock exam grade and signed form.

Patrick Sturgis, a professor of quantitive sociology at the London School of Economics, highlighted that the criteria outlined by Ofqual appears to “overrule” the triple lock promised by the education secretary on Wednesday.

In a statement, Williamson had promised that students would be able to accept their teacher-predicted “centre assessment grade” (CAG), appeal to receive a valid mock result or sit autumn exams.

But Ofqual’s announcement says that “in circumstances where the [CAG] was lower than the mock grade, the student will receive the [CAG].”

This suggests students who scored higher in mock exams than in teacher-predicted CAGs will not be able to use this route of appeal.

Meanwhile, Qualifications Wales has announced that it will also accept appeals “on the grounds that there is evidence of internal assessment that has been judged by the school or college to be at a higher grade than the calculated grade awarded”.

The body said that these internal assessments will also need to meet specific criteria, “which are being finalised and will be published shortly”.

It added: “If the appeal is successful, the learner’s grade will be revised to be the same as their internal assessment grade, but no higher than the centre assessment grade submitted by the centre.”

It also promised that no students included in an appeal will be at risk of having their grades lowered as a result. “Grades will only go up or remain the same as part of the appeals process,” it added.