How will learners be awarded GCSE, AS level, A level and Skills Challenge Certificate grades this year?

Tuesday 05 Jul 2022

How are exams marked?

All exam papers are marked by trained examiners using detailed mark schemes. All examiners are, or were, teachers or lecturers. WJEC will follow its usual processes to make sure marking is as consistent as possible. We will monitor these processes as we usually do.

For more information on marking, look at our Spotlight on… What happens during marking? Or our video guide to marking and awarding.

How are grade boundaries set?

At the end of the exam series when learners have completed exams and assessments, the grade each learner gets in a subject depends on how many marks they get in their exams and non-examination assessments. Once all marking is complete, WJEC brings together an awarding committee. The awarding committee is a group of senior examiners who are experts in the subject and who have usually helped to set and mark the exam papers. The committee meets to recommend where the grade boundaries should be set.

WJEC will provide the awarding committee with a range of information and evidence to help them decide where grade boundaries should be set. The information WJEC provides includes statistics and examples of learner work. This summer, a key consideration when deciding grade boundaries is the context of these awards and the disruption learners have experienced.

At Qualifications Wales, we will monitor processes as we usually do. For more information on how grade boundaries are usually set, look at our Spotlight on… How grades are decided.

Exams will be graded more generously this year

During the pandemic, results have been different to the pre-pandemic period, therefore, a slightly different approach to grading is being implemented this year. As previously announced, final results will be broadly midway between 2021 and 2019. This means that at a national level, we expect results to be higher than in 2019 (the last time formal exams were sat) and lower than in 2021 (when exams were cancelled, and grades were determined by schools and colleges).

We continue to work with WJEC to agree procedures for awarding grades that build on the usual practices, whilst providing a safety net for learners. We also co-ordinate with other UK regulators so that the grading process is as consistent as possible and fair for learners to support progression to the next stage of their education or employment.