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Research into students anxiety about A-level and GCSE results

12 August 2020

As students prepare to receive their allocated A-level grades tomorrow, Dr Lucy Wenham and Claire Lee share findings from their research into students' concerns, hopes & fears about their results.

A-level students will receive their results tomorrow [Thursday 13 August 2020], with GCSEs coming the following week on 20 August.

Students nervously await a very different type of results day, where they will receive grades for exams they never actually took. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and mass school closures, students did not have the opportunity to sit these high-stakes public examinations.

Students will instead receive allocated grades, arrived at through a combination of predicted grades, teacher judgments and comparative rankings of their perceived performance in relation to their classmates (Ofqual, 2020).

There is much controversy surrounding the fairness of these grade allocations at present, with Gavin Williamson, the Secretary of State for Education, making last minute changes to the Appeals process in England and with last weeks allocated grades in Scotland having been swiftly amended.

The School of Education's Dr Lucy Wenham and Claire Lee share findings from their research which shows that students directly affected are experiencing considerable stress, anxiety and a feeling of helplessness concerning the allocation of these grades – which is unsurprising given that their future educational and employment choices and opportunities are at stake.

Read the 'Students’ anxiety about the allocations of grades for cancelled high-stakes public examinations' blog post.

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