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Exams regulator Ofqual announces how mock grades can be used in appeals process

Exams regulator Ofqual has announced in what circumstances schools will be able to use mock assessment results this year as a basis for appealing results awarded to students by exam boards.

Almost 40% of this year's A-Level grades were downgraded from teacher predictions through the use of a controversial moderation system. With concerns raised about moderated grades before results were released on Thursday, the Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said that schools would be able to use having a higher mock exam result than the calculated results as suitable grounds for launching an appeal.

However, concerns were raised that schools carry out mock examinations in different ways, leading to Ofqual setting out a list of criteria that schools must have met for mock exam results to be considered suitable.

Some of the key criteria announced on Saturday and set out on the website include:

  • Mocks must have been carried out in conditions with appropriate invigilation where students could not access materials or resources that would not be allowed in a normal exam.​
  • Mocks must have been carried out under the normal timed conditions.​
  • Assessments must have been unseen, either past papers from exam boards or papers produced by teachers in the style of normal assessments.

Centres that have met the criteria will need to complete a form and send it to exam boards for them to consider appeals from Monday. Students wishing to appeal results need to contact their school or exam centre.

Successful appeals based on mock exam results will allow students to receive their mock exam grades. The process can be used for grades given for GCSEs, AS, A-Levels, the Extended Project Qualification and the Advanced Extension Award in Maths. Thousands of results are expected to be appealed, with many students left with significantly lower grades than they were expecting.

The moderated grades have meant that some students have missed out on places to study at university, with others left with anxious waits for results of the appeal process. ​

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