Thousands of students today choose A-Level scores and while some leave school excited with the grades they receive, others will be dejected.
A number of student scores were downgraded after this year's summer exams were canceled due to Covid-19 despite record high scores.
The proportion of A-Level entries with a grade of A or higher has risen to an all-time high. 27.9% secured the top marks this year, as shown by figures for England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
However, according to Ofqual, exam boards in England have downgraded nearly two in five (39.1%) students. This corresponds to a correction of around 280,000 entries after moderation.
Below we have answered all of the questions you would like to know on the results day …
Can you pick up your grades at school?
The short answer is, it depends. Due to the pandemic that is currently wreaking havoc around the world, not all students can go to school with their friends or family and take part in the ancient tradition of grades picking up.
Some schools do everything remotely while others send email. However, some schools still invite students to come to school. Joining your school can be beneficial – especially if you are concerned about your results and teachers should be available to discuss options if you are not happy with what you are getting.
How are the grades calculated?
Teachers had to submit grades they believed any student would get if they took the exams after the pandemic meant they all had to be canceled.
The estimated grades were then given to the examination boards, who then compared these submissions to the grades the school normally receives – to make sure the institution doesn't inflate them.
After that summer's exams were canceled, teachers were told to hand in the grades they believed any student would have gotten if they had passed the papers.
The predictions were sent to the examination boards along with a ranking that students believed would do best in each class for each subject.
They can then be revised up or down after moderation, which means the grade may differ from the one submitted by your school.
Exams were canceled across the UK in March as schools closed. As a result, Ofqual, the Examinations Inspectorate in England, decided that grades would instead be awarded based on teachers' assessments of student performance, moderated by examination boards (archive image).
How can you appeal?
If you are not satisfied with the results you have achieved, but you manage to achieve them today, then you can appeal.
Important statistics for this year's A-Level results
- The proportion of candidates who receive top marks is the highest ever recorded. A total of 27.9% of participants achieved either an A or an A *, up from 25.5% in 2019.
- About 9.0% of the participants received an A *. This is another record high, up from 7.8% last year.
- The general success rate (grades A * to E) was 98.3% – another record high. It is up from 97.6% in 2019.
- 78.4% received a C or higher, up from 75.8% in 2019 and the highest value since at least 2000.
- Girls have expanded their lead over boys in the top grades. The proportion of girls with A or higher was 28.4%, 1.1 percentage points more than that of boys (27.3%). Last year, girls led boys by just 0.1 percentage points (25.5% girls, 25.4% boys). After a long time in which girls were ahead, the boys briefly took over the lead in 2017 and 2018.
- The gap between top performing boys and girls has narrowed slightly. The proportion of boys who received A * was 9.3%, 0.5 percentage points higher than that of girls (8.8%). Last year the gap was 0.7 points.
- The most popular subject this year was math. It was adopted by 94,168 participants, an increase of 2.5% compared to 2019.
- Psychology was the second most popular subject and overtook biology. It was attended by 65,255 participants, an increase of 1.0% compared to 2019. Biology became the third most popular subject, which was attended by 65,057 participants, which corresponds to a decrease of 6.0%.
- ICT (information and communication technology) saw the largest drop in candidates for a single subject, with more than 1,000 participants, falling by 15.3% from 1,572 to 1,332.
- Computing saw the largest increase in candidates of all subjects, with more than 1,000 attendees, rising 11.7% from 11,124 to 12,426.
- 780,557 Abitur examinations were awarded, which corresponds to a decrease of 2.6% compared to the previous year's figure (801,002) and the lowest number since 2004.
If your score has been downgraded and the bogus score is better than the score you got on Thursday, you can contact your school to change the score.
Teachers are obviously interested in ensuring that you are reaching your potential and should be available to help you get the best grades possible.
How long does the appointment process take?
Ofqual previously said that people who don't get high marks will have to wait until next week to find out how the appeal process works.
The government released additional guidance on the appeal process today, but no time scale has been given for its duration at this time.
However, the deadline for students to comply with the offer is now only three weeks, so the government is under pressure to quickly recover the results.
When will I know if I managed to change the grade?
A time scale for a successful note exchange is not yet clear. And there is concern that many students who choose to appeal through their schools will cause major delays.
How can students change grades in England?
Students can only question their results through their schools and not as individuals. If they want their bogus scores to be used in place of the scores they are getting today, Ofqual School must show that the bogus exams were sufficiently rigorous.
However, the exact process is currently unknown. Yesterday Ofqual said it was "urgent" to implement the sudden change "as fairly as possible". It said it would not know what evidence schools would need to appeal until next week.
School Secretary Nick Gibb said mocks must be "sat under exam" to form the basis of an appeal, but did not provide a school methodology to prove it.
Why are teachers concerned about bogus scores being used?
Fake results could be unreliable, teachers have warned. They often sit in different conditions, with some schools being stricter than others. Teachers also said last night that in some cases it was impossible to produce evidence – like the bogus papers themselves – for appeals because the papers had been thrown away.
Will the calling system be able to cope with this?
Last night school principals warned that "any school" could choose to put in grades – and risk overwhelming the system.
The current deadline for university applicants to meet their bid requirements is September 7th. The examination boards have less than four weeks to issue the results of thousands of appeals.
Twins Rosy (left) and Teddy Valentine (right) react as the Norwich School students receive their A-Level scores this morning
How do my grades affect employment prospects?
Recruiters have already raised concerns that the government's high school graduation plans this year could put an entire year group at a disadvantage as they face entry into a devastated job market or into disrupted higher education.
Experts have told MailOnline that the use of bogus grades can be viewed as a "gimme" in applications and that CVs can only be rejected against a well-qualified competition.
Jamie Beaumont, Founder of Offerd, said, “With unemployment reaching record highs, it's safe to say that the competition for jobs is now incredibly high.
"Unfortunately, those taking a high school diploma have to compete against college graduates and even more seasoned job seekers who have been laid off because of the virus.
"It's not that high school graduation has become any less valuable, it's just that they are now competing with a market full of a highly skilled workforce."
“Recruiters may view bogus grades as a 'gimme' for some students and are more likely to choose those with more experience or education. It is certainly not right, but it will happen. & # 39;
Sol Schlagman, co-founder of student employer Stint, who regularly collects feedback from 20,000 high school students, said, “From elementary school children to high school students, young people have been severely disappointed during this pandemic.
“Today it is school leavers who face even more disappointments and setbacks as many miss the results they deserve.
“We work with thousands of young people and we get the feedback that they feel left behind.
“They canceled their part-time work and internships this summer, took away graduate jobs and asked why the government hasn't given as much financial support here as students in other countries have seen.
"For many school leavers there is now a choice between a bleak job market that is already under pressure or a clarification at a time when learning has already been severely disrupted."
Last night school principals warned that "any school" could decide to put in grades – and risk overwhelming the system (archive image)
Why is the results day different this year?
Exams were canceled across the UK in March as the pandemic hit and schools closed. As a result, Ofqual, the Examination Board in England, decided that grades would instead be awarded based on teachers 'assessments of students' performance, moderated by examination boards.
However, it soon turned out that the teachers' grades were way too generous. As a result, up to 40 percent of Ofqual's grades have been revised downwards, using a computer algorithm that takes into account the results of the schools over the past three years.
The idea was that this would prevent this year's students from getting higher grades than their contemporaries and that they would keep their credibility in the eyes of universities and employers.
However, the extent of the downgrade by the computer algorithm has been heavily criticized.
Why and how was the policy changed at the last minute?
On Tuesday evening, the government suddenly introduced a last-minute policy on triple locking. This means that students who are dissatisfied with the grades received today can request the use of their mock exam grades or take new exam papers in October.
The decision came after a fiasco in Scotland last week that lowered 124,000 grades for equivalent exams given by teachers, with grades from the poorest students more than double those of the richest.
On Tuesday, the Scottish government was forced into an embarrassing U-turn, pledging to restore teachers' original predictions for all students who had been demoted from the system.
In England the "Triple Lock" directive was introduced to prevent similar chaotic scenes.
Emily Wallace (center) smiles as the Norwich School students in Norfolk receive their A-level results this morning
What happened in Scotland
Scottish Education Minister John Swinney announced that tens of thousands of students would improve their exam scores after a public outcry.
Students complained after moderation systems resulted in a downgrade of more than 124,000 test scores.
Instead, these lowered scores would draw on grades valued by students' teachers.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also had to apologize for the moderation fiasco after it was discovered that students with disadvantaged backgrounds had disproportionately downgraded their results.
The Scottish education system is different from that in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, with higher education equivalent to the high school diploma.
How could this affect university attendance?
If students are turned down based on today's grades but want to appeal or step down in October, they must contact the admissions department as soon as possible to clarify their situation. Universities say they are bending backwards this year to help the students and have promised to try and keep the places open for candidates until their appeal is complete.
In practice, however, this can be difficult for students who may be missing weeks of semester time before their vocation is resolved.
Universities that have had access to today's scores since last week to expedite the admissions process will now have to grapple with students to assure them that their bogus scores were higher, but have to wait for Ofqual to confirm them as valid grades .
What if I don't get the grades I need for university?
Universities are even more interested in bringing UK students through their doors this year, fearing that many high-paying international students may not be able to attend due to the September pandemic.
This means that this year they are more flexible in approaching the A-level grades than in previous years. Hence, it is best for students to check your grades directly with the university.
Last year, 70,000 students were given places through the university admissions service Ucas's clearing system, which matches students with open positions.
What if the university put you on another course?
If you don't get the grades for your first-choice course at one institution, you can sometimes still go to that university but be transferred to another course. You have five days to accept this offer.
What if you choose to have a gap year?
If you suddenly decide to go out and explore the world or make some extra cash before starting your very expensive college education, then you need to contact the university directly.
However, you should do this at the earliest opportunity as the university may not agree if you leave too late.
In this case you would have to apply again next year.
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