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Final A Level grade cannot be lower than AS grade

Kirsty Williams. Credit: Matthew Horwood

Controversy over how this year’s A-Level grades will be awarded has caused confusion and upset among learners across the country. Scotland for example, has u-turned and changed their policy in the last 24 hours.

The Welsh Government has now responded by introducing a new policy that A-Level learners should not receive a grade outcome that is lower than their corresponding AS-Level grade.

This rule is being introduced after the initial release of results by WJEC to schools and colleges.  Therefore, learners receiving their A level grades today should look at the grade awarded to see if it is the same, higher or lower than their AS level grade in that subject.

The pandemic has impacted many sectors across the world, especially education, with lessons and exams due to take place in summer 2020 being cancelled altogether,

Commenting on the announcement yesterday afternoon, education minister, Kirsty Williams said:

“I am confident that the system overseen by Qualifications Wales (QW) and WJEC, in response to the current emergency, is fair for students and robust in what it measures and signals to employers and universities.

“However, governments in other parts of the United Kingdom have introduced changes to their systems and we must make sure that these alterations do not disadvantage Welsh students.

“Students in Wales, and prospective employers and universities across the UK, can be assured that their A Level grades reflect their work and externally assessed exams.

“Almost half the final grade comes from AS Level exams – this is not the situation elsewhere.

“Therefore in building on that completed work, I am giving a guarantee that a learner’s final A Level grade cannot be lower than their AS grade. If a student receives a final grade tomorrow that is below that of their previous AS grade, then a revised grade will be issued automatically by WJEC.

“This will mean – and I have received assurances from UCAS and universities – that students can speak with confidence to their prospective universities regarding their A Level grades.

“OFQUAL are yet to publish the details of the new appeals process following the English Government’s announcement.  I have asked Qualifications Wales, working with the WJEC, to work closely with the qualifications bodies of the other UK nations as they develop their plans.  I will be asking Qualifications Wales to move forward quickly on relevant adjustments to a Welsh appeals process as soon as these plans are clearer, in order to ensure Welsh students are not disadvantaged.

“I am confirming today that all appeals will be free for Welsh students, to ensure there is no financial barrier to ensure learners feel their exam grades are fair.”