CCE chief executive: We want to reassure students that we are making sure that the grades awarded are fair

Justin Edwards, chief executive of Council for the Curriculum, Examinations & Assessment (CCEA)Justin Edwards, chief executive of Council for the Curriculum, Examinations & Assessment (CCEA)
Justin Edwards, chief executive of Council for the Curriculum, Examinations & Assessment (CCEA)
Open Letter from CCEA Chief Executive Justin Edwards:

‘Unprecedented’ has become the accepted definition of the period we are living through.

It is also a very apt description of the situation regarding GCSE, AS and A level examinations this summer which, for the first time in living memory, have been cancelled.

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I fully understand how unsettling and challenging it has been for the many thousands of students and their families who are directly affected by this unavoidable decision.

Letter to the editorLetter to the editor
Letter to the editor

However, since the minister’s announcement, CCEA has been working tirelessly to provide an approach that will enable us to award students with their grades.

Above all else, I want to reassure students that at the centre of our thinking is making sure that the grades awarded are fair. Our goal is to give students the grades that best reflect what they would have achieved had they sat the exams in normal circumstances and completed all of their coursework.

For every GCSE, AS and A level subject, CCEA has asked each school, college or other exam centres to submit a centre assessment grade for each student and the rank order of students within each grade.

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We have issued detailed guidance to schools and colleges on how we will collect this information. We will then use this data and other information to calculate the grades.

CCEA will also apply statistical standardisation to align the judgements across and within centres so that, as far as possible, no student is unfairly advantaged or disadvantaged in comparison to previous years.

We are taking a similar approach to awarding CCEA’s Vocational and Entry Level qualifications. Again, schools and colleges are requested to generate a centre assessment grade for each learner.

Detailed information about all awarding arrangements is available at

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We firmly believe that teachers have an excellent understanding and knowledge of their students’ performance and are best placed to provide the holistic and objective information that we need to calculate the final grades.

It is a significant ask of the teaching profession to provide this data, and CCEA acknowledges and greatly appreciates the dedication and commitment teachers have already shown to the task in hand.

The grades for AS and A levels will be issued on Thursday 13 August 2020, with the GCSE grades a week later on Thursday 20 August 2020.

Students can have confidence that these grades will have equal status to any other year and should be treated as such by universities, colleges and employers.

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There may be some who feel that grades do not reflect performance. They may choose to sit the examinations at another time or they may wish to appeal.

An appropriate appeals process is currently being developed. Public consultation on this work has been launched recently to inform the development process.

Interested groups or individuals are encouraged to contribute views online by the closing date of Thursday 21 May 2020.

Over the past few weeks, we have been asked many questions about all aspects of the awarding arrangements, ranging from coursework to taking examinations at a later time. We have gathered these together, anticipated others and provided detailed answers.

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These can be read in our FAQs or listened to in our series of podcasts, which are both available on the CCEA website.

It has undoubtedly been an anxious time for students and their families, and I am grateful for their patience as we have developed a robust and deliverable solution.

Students can be assured that the grades they receive in August 2020 will reflect their hard work, and it is our fervent aim that they will be able to progress as planned to the next stage of their journey.

Justin Edwards, chief executive, CCEA

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