The Examination Board for England has dramatically suspended its criteria for students wishing to challenge their A-Level grades based on their results in mock exams.
In a brief statement, Ofqual said the policy would be "reviewed" by its board of directors and that further information would be released "in due course".
No reason for the decision was immediately available, which caused confusion among parents across the country.
The move comes just a few hours after the agency publishes its criteria for bogus test results, which should serve as the basis for an appeal.
It threatened to throw the A-Level process into further disarray after an outcry from students after nearly 40% of predicted grades were downgraded by the regulator's "moderation" algorithm.
In a statement late Saturday, an Ofqual spokesman said, "We released information today about bogus appeals results.
"This policy will be reviewed by the Ofqual Board and further information will be released in due course."
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson pictured has been asked to resign over the results fiasco
Students wearing face masks take part in a protest in Westminster, London, against the government's handling of A-level scores, university offers and job prospects
Students and parents hold a poster outside Downing Street in London on Friday after nearly 40 percent of results were downgraded by the computer model used when exams were canceled due to the coronavirus crisis, which hit the deprived areas most
Students and teachers protest outside Downing against the downgrading of A-Level scores
Torment of teenagers left in the balance
Lucy Lipfriend has been in limbo for a second year after missing her place at Cambridge University.
The 19-year-old, who had to achieve A * AA in her Abitur, is studying theology, religion and philosophy of religion at Clare College this summer.
But the teenager from Northwood, northwest London, was downgraded to three Bs by the computer algorithm after exams were canceled.
She believes this was due to her poor performance on the high school graduation exams last year she passed when her mother Tina was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Her grades dropped to a C in Philosophy, a B in English Literature, and an E in Mathematics last summer, despite high teacher predictions. Lucy took a year off planning to retake the exams as a private candidate and won a Cambridge offer. After the exams were canceled, her former teachers at St. Helen & # 39; s, a private day school in Northwood, handed in grades of A * AA.
Three tutors who helped her last year predicted three A * s.
But her grades have been lowered and her university place hangs in the balance – depending on her appeal.
Lucy said, “I worked very hard for a year and through no fault of my own I couldn't get a place at the university I have always dreamed of. Grades should not be determined by a computer.
"I don't think a student's grades can necessarily be based on what they have achieved in the past or what other students who happened to go to their school have achieved in the past."
Lucy says Cambridge encouraged her to appeal, but she must keep her grades by August 31.
In addition to the confusion, the Telegraph had previously reported that teachers' predicted grades could be used by students who address their results.
However, it is not clear whether this is still the case given Ofqual's recent suspension of the appeal criteria.
Ofqual examinations authority previously disclosed details of how students with grades from mock exams can appeal their A-Level scores.
Ofqual said it would allow the use of exam grades without an exam to ensure that facility is available to a wide range of students, including those who hadn't taken a mock written exam before schools and colleges closed.
It was also confirmed that an appeal would not lower grades, but the original criteria have now been suspended.
It has been criticized that the suspension of their recent policies creates more confusion in the wake of the chaos.
Unshakable Labor MP Yvette Cooper said: “Even more incredible chaos and incompetence.
"It is messing up the future of young people and the government seems to have no idea what it is doing."
Shadowing secretary Kate Green said: "Gavin Williamson has promised to give students a triple ban but instead has devastated many with unfair exam scores and now his commitment to giving them one more chance is rapidly dissolving on, "she said.
“After promising that students could use a valid bogus score, the reality is that many do not get those marks, even if they represent a student's best score.
"The recent chaos is the inevitable consequence of this government's shambolic approach to exams, where solutions are thought up on the back of a pack of cigarettes and announced barely a day before young people received the results."
The regulator said bogus grades would be valid if they came from appropriately supervised assessments that had "no room for correction" provided the assessment was prepared by an appropriate board of examiners or developed by a teacher based on a previous exam.
The bogus grades must also have been assessed according to the regular standards of an examination board, and assessments must be completed and graded by March 20, 2020.
Ofqual had previously confirmed that mock-result appointments could begin Monday and would apply for GCSE, AS, and A-level students, as well as those receiving Extended Project Qualifications and Advanced Extension Awards in math.
The latest setback came as ministers were prepared for a fresh backlash when the GCSE results for England were released on Thursday.
Like the A-Level results, they will first be based on assessments by the teachers and then “moderated” by the Ofqual algorithm in order to bring them in line with the results of previous years.
According to the Observer, more than 4.6 million GCSEs in England – about 97 percent – are assigned solely on the basis of the controversial algorithm developed by Ofqual.
It has been reported that within days, the government will face a legal challenge due to the chaos of the results.
Mr Williamson said the process was necessary to prevent an "inflation rate" that would render the results worthless after the actual exams were canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The education minister was urged to resign by students, teachers and fellow politicians, including incumbent Liberal Democratic leader Ed Davey.
However, critics have complained that this has resulted in thousands of individual injustices that have disproportionately punished students in schools that serve disadvantaged communities.
The data showed that poorer students in England were more likely to be downgraded by the algorithm
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, criticized the process, describing it as "surreal and bureaucratic".
He said, “This is clearly a face rescue exercise from a government that has stated that whatever may come, it will not reverse its promise that moderated grades will pass.
Instead, an attempt is being made to resolve the grading fiasco through an appeal process so surreal and bureaucratic that it would be better at this point to do this about-face and allow the original teacher-graded grades to replace moderated grades when they are higher.
“That would be a better approach than this appeal system as it would mean that students would immediately receive revised A-Level grades based on previous teacher assessments, which are based on evidence now being proposed as part of the appeal process would. & # 39;
He added, “We do not blame Ofqual for the bizarre nature of the appointment criteria. The regulator received a hospital card from a disordered government.
"It is time for ministers to stop the chaos and use teacher-graded grades instead of prolonging this nightmare."
The news comes as the Welsh government has also confirmed that students in Wales can appeal their A-level grades if they are below their teachers' predictions.
There was an outcry in Wales after 42% of all A-Level grades were lowered during the moderation process.
Education Secretary Kirsty Williams had said appeals would be acceptable if students should have received "higher evidence" higher grades.
A Level Appeal questions are answered based on the initial Ofqual criteria
– Who can appeal?
The government has confirmed that GCSE, AS, and A-level students, as well as those earning advanced project qualifications and the Advanced Extension Award in math, can file complaints with bogus results.
According to Ofqual, this appointment path is open to every student with a higher bogus grade than the calculated one.
– When can you appeal?
Examination boards have confirmed they will be ready to deal with these complaints as of Monday and students are encouraged to contact their school or college.
– What work can be used?
In the details released by Ofqual on Saturday, the regulator said that previous assessments from the relevant audit committee can be used, such as previous work.
Mock exams or teacher-created assessments can also be used provided they are similar in style and content to previous exams.
Marked coursework can also be used if students did not take a mock written exam before completing their school or college, but must have completed it under the conditions set by the relevant examination board.
It can also be used in addition to bogus exam results.
– What conditions are required?
Mock exams used for an appeal must have been supervised, not seen before, and taken under conditions that ensure the work belongs to the student.
This includes supervision as no corrections or revisions are possible and students do not have access to study materials that are prohibited in exams.
The taunts must also have been performed under timed conditions corresponding to the time indicated in normal exams, with adjustments being allowed for students eligible for additional time.
It must be completed as part of the study program and by March 20, when most schools and colleges were closed.
– What does the bogus assessment have to cover?
Mock exams used for the appeal must have "substantial coverage" of the normally graded curriculum, corresponding to an examination paper or non-graded assignment.
– What about the centre's assessment grades?
Schools and colleges were asked to submit the grades they believed each student would have received if they had passed the papers along with a ranking of students.
Ofqual said Saturday that the centre's assessment grades took into account the student's performance throughout the course, while mock assessments typically don't cover the full scope of content.
That is, if a student's mock score is higher than the centre's assessment grade, they will get the lower grade.
The regulator added that no grades will fall due to an appeal.
– What about marking?
The mockery must have been provided with an assessment scheme provided by the relevant examination board or an assessment scheme that corresponds to the assessment scheme of the examination board.
The grade given by the mock must correspond to the standard of the respective examination board.
This may include using the grade limits from the examination board if an earlier thesis was used.
– What do schools have to do?
If necessary, schools and universities must be able to provide evidence for the entire subject cohort.
Ofqual said this included providing evidence of the grades given, the evidence labeling being done on time, and the examination paper and grading scheme used.
The student's written work need not have been retained.
The government has previously confirmed that schools in England can appeal A-Level and GCSE grades free of charge.
State-funded schools and universities can also reclaim the cost of unsuccessful appeals and fees for fall exams, according to the Ministry of Education.
Students, teachers and parents hold posters and wear face masks to protest downgraded A-level scores due to Covid-19
Before the results were released on Thursday, Ms. Williams announced that the final grades would be no lower than the students' previous AS scores.
"Earlier this week, I directed Qualifications Wales to expand the rationale for referring to High School, AS, Skills Challenge Certificate and GCSEs," she said.
“Today they confirmed what this means for students.
“I accept that the learners wanted and needed more clarity, and I believe that it achieves this.
& # 39; Qualification Wales and the WJEC will share the full details but an appeal is now open if there is evidence of internal assessments rated by the school or college as higher than the grade it received.
"There is a guarantee that no one will get a lower grade after being called and that all appointments are free."
Regulatory Authority Qualifications Wales said schools would be able to appeal to the WJEC Examination Board if they:
– You used the wrong data when calculating a grade
– The calculated grades generated by the statistical standardization model were incorrectly assigned or communicated
– There were some other procedural errors on the part of WJEC
– There are indications of an internal assessment that was assessed by the school or university as being higher than the calculated grade.
The regulator said no scores would be downgraded as a result of an appeal and would either go up or stay the same.
The moderation system monitored by Qualifications Wales and WJEC has been criticized by students, teachers, trade unions and opposition politicians.
This year's exams have been canceled across the UK due to the coronavirus lockdown and fears that the replacement scoring system will create a zip code lottery.
Students burn their A-Level scores in the London Dungeon while they find out if they have a place to study
Students wearing face masks take part in a protest against the government's handling of the results
A record 29.9% of students achieved an A or A * grade, which is less than the 40.4% rated as top marks by teachers.
The Joint Qualifications Council said grades submitted by schools and colleges were "optimistic and would have achieved atypically high scores without standardization".
Adam Price, director of Plaid Cymru, said, “Students who received lower grades than teacher ratings in A-Level and AS exams should be upgraded to teacher evaluation grades.
"If this approach is advocated by the British Labor leader in England, why is the Labor First Minister in Wales so adamantly against it?"
"In addition, this should be used as a mechanism for awarding GCSE scores and this should be communicated to learners today for reassurance."
Senedd's Children, Youth and Education Committee is dismissed on Tuesday and has asked the Welsh Government, Qualification Wales and WJEC to provide information and answer questions.
Committee Chair, Lynne Neagle, said: "Given the significant concerns and complexities in delivering audit results this year, we will meet urgently to provide clarity for those who have gone through this challenging process in unprecedented times."