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Closed petition Review the decision to use previous data to calculate exam grades

We want the Education Secretary and the Government to step in and review the exam board’s decision on how GCSE and A-Level grades will be calculated and awarded due to the current coronavirus crisis. We want a better solution than just using our previous data to be the basis of our grade.

More details

Using previous data could result in unfair grading as the majority of this data may be inaccurate and unrepresentative of a student’s ability. Most of these assessments are not always taken seriously, and could misinterpret students true potential. Students’ GCSE exam results have often shown vast improvement compared to their previous data. We deserve an equal opportunity for improving and receiving fair grades. Although the option of doing our exams next academic year is available it is still highly inconvenient and sets back our future.

This petition is closed All petitions run for 6 months

148,885 signatures

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Parliament debated this topic

This topic was debated on 12 October 2020

Watch the petition 'Review the decision to use previous data to calculate exam grades' being debated

Government responded

This response was given on 4 September 2020

Students in England have now received the higher of their centre assessment grade or calculated grade for GCSEs, AS and A levels in 2020.

Read the response in full

Following an announcement on 17 August, the great majority of GCSE, A and AS level students have now received the centre assessment grades that their schools and colleges had submitted for them. In the minority of cases where the grades that the exam boards had previously calculated for students were higher than the centre assessment grade, students have received their calculated grade.

Ofqual had consulted on and implemented a standardisation process for exam results this summer, but the system resulted in too many inconsistent and unfair outcomes for A and AS level students. It became clear that the approach resulted in too many anomalies to be resolved through appeals and which severely undermined confidence in the system.

Subsequently, Ofqual decided to award centre assessment grades, which are the grades which schools and colleges assessed students were most likely to have achieved had exams gone ahead. The Government supported this decision, which was deemed to be the fairest approach to avoid some students receiving grades that did not reflect their prior performance.

We understand this situation has caused a great deal of stress and uncertainty and apologise for the distress this has caused young people and their parents.

Department for Education

Petitions Committee questions Government on its response to coronavirus

Last week the Petitions Committee put some of the most popular questions from the public about coronavirus to the Government Minister for Schools, the Minister for Disabled People and the Deputy Chief Medical Officer. These included:

  • How long will schools be closed for and what will the impact be on exams and grades?
  • What financial support will be available for the self-employed?
  • What financial support will be offered to people who are unable to pay their rent or bills due to self-isolation or loss of work?
  • What support will be offered to the events, creative and hospitality industries now that pubs, clubs and cultural venues have been closed?
  • What clear, practical steps can people take to make sure they are following Government guidance on social distancing, household isolation and self-isolation?
  • Who is being tested and why, and will tests be made freely available to everyone?
  • What is the Government doing to ensure that everyone is getting the right information?

Watch the session on YouTube:

Read the transcript:

Because of the large number of petitions that we continue to receive on coronavirus we have sent more questions to the Government to answer.

Read our letters to different Government Ministers:

Some of the questions we’ve asked include:

  • When will testing capacity will be increased; who will testing be available for and will it be free?
  • What is being done to tackle the spread of disinformation?
  • How quickly will support for self-employed people be made available?
  • What will happen to the school year? Will summer holidays be cancelled so that children can catch up?
  • How are foodbanks being supported to continue operating during the outbreak?
  • What is being done to address panic buying and prevent price hikes of key items?
  • Will trains, buses and flights continue to operate? For how long?

We’ll email you again to let you know when we get a response to these questions, and to let you know about any more action the Committee takes.

Who are we?

We are the House of Commons Petitions Committee. We are a cross-party group of MPs that looks at e-petitions submitted on We are independent from Government. You can find out more about us and our work on our website.

You can follow the Petitions Committee on Twitter: @HoCpetitions.

Further information

You can read impartial House of Commons Library information about coronavirus here:

You can find out more about coronavirus and how you can protect yourself and others here:

You can read NHS tips to help if you are worried about coronavirus here:

Petitions Committee calls on Government to urgently respond to petitions relating to student grades

The Chair of the Petitions Committee, Catherine McKinnell MP, has written to the Secretary of State for Education Gavin Williamson MP, to request urgent responses to this petition and another on student grading, which between them have received over 180,000 signatures.

In the letter, Mrs McKinnell urges the Government to set out the actions they are taking in response to the concerns expressed by petitioners.

Read the full letter from the Petitions Committee here:

Petitions Committee schedules debate on exams during Covid-19

Next week, MPs from across the House of Commons will debate this petition alongside one other relating to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on GCSE and A-level exams.

Watch the debate from 4.30pm on Monday 12 October at or on YouTube at

The debate will be led by Petitions Committee member Tonia Antoniazzi MP, and a Minister from the Department for Education will respond on behalf of the Government.

The debate will start at 4.30pm and will last up to 90 minutes. It will take place in Westminster Hall – the House of Commons second Chamber.

##What are petitions debates?

Petitions debates are ‘general’ debates which allow MPs from all parties to discuss the important issues raised by one or more petitions, and put their concerns to Government Ministers.

##Stay up-to-date

Follow the Committee on Twitter for real-time updates on its work:
Join in the discussion using hashtag #ExamsCovidDebate