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July Advanced Level - results update

Following the release of the exam results today we would like to update students, employers and tuition providers on what we’ve been doing to address the various issues experienced by students in July. We really do appreciate the last few weeks will have added significant pressure and we remain deeply sorry for this.

Exam marking and validation of results

Our markers and independent Assessment Committee adapted our already detailed processes and introduced additional actions and validation, to ensure all students were fairly treated and assessed in the marking process.

As usual, exams were all extensively marked. Markers didn’t know where students sat their exam, or any issues they may have experienced. A detailed process was then applied to all students who hadn’t passed at that point and these exams went through further reviews.

For students who were unfortunately unable to complete their Case Study exam in full due to lost time, we reviewed all content available to us. We then applied a number of proven performance metrics on that content. The robustness of the approach enabled us to provide results based purely on the performance in the July exams.

Where students applied for special consideration, we followed our usual approach and reviewed each application individually. Each successful application was then sent to our independent Assessment Committee and the Committee determined the appropriate outcome based on each students’ individual circumstances.

As a further check we assessed the pass marks across various groups of students and confirmed that they were comparable to the final pass rate for all students. This provided additional reassurance on the marking process and gave confidence that students passing had demonstrated the required level of competence for their exam, and that those who have unfortunately not passed this sitting have been fully and fairly assessed against the required level.

Independent review

Since July we have instigated two independent reviews. One to look at the system issues experienced in July and the other to look across all our end-to-end processes, right from exam bookings to results day, including exams taken in centre and via remote invigilation, together with our communications.

As part of this wider review our independent reviewer is talking directly to groups of students, employers and tuition providers. We really do want to learn from the issues encountered and mitigate the risk of them happening again.

The systems review has indicated the issues experienced were unique to the Advanced Level and changes will be made and fully tested ahead of the November session. In addition to the system changes we will improve the communication between ourselves and venues; look at how we can improve communication with employers, students and tuition providers and also continue to work with our exam centres to ensure minimum specifications are met.

We believe the second, wider review, will also suggest changes we need to make to our processes and communications, and we will implement these accordingly.

We would like to take this opportunity to sincerely apologise again for the issues students faced during the July Advanced Level exams. This experience was not what we strive to deliver, and our teams are working extremely hard to prevent this situation occurring in future. We appreciate how difficult and stressful the last month has been, especially given the hard work put into preparing for and sitting this exam. We would also like to thank you for your patience during the marking and review process.

If you have a question, please do not hesitate to contact us.