08 Apr 2020

This is our fourth update on the June 2020 exam series, bringing you more guidance on providing grades for students. It also provides answers and updates to other questions we have received, where possible.

Cambridge Assessment International Education would like to thank all our schools for the very helpful feedback, insight and support you are giving us as we develop our support and processes.

We know that schools are facing challenging circumstances and we continue to provide as much clarity as we can, as quickly as we can. Some matters are complex, and we want to make sure our approach works for all Cambridge schools worldwide, in a variety of different national contexts.

Our priority continues to be making sure our actions protect students’ and teachers’ safety, and help students obtain the fairest outcome possible, with the quality and integrity they would expect from Cambridge.

Providing grades

We gave initial guidance to schools on 31 March about evidence to consider when working with us so that students receive grades in June 2020.

We can now share with you our process for awarding grades to candidates entered for Cambridge IGCSE, Cambridge O Level, Cambridge International AS & A Level, Cambridge IPQ or Cambridge Pre-U syllabuses in the June 2020 series.

Our approach remains to ask schools to collaborate with us as we make evidence-based decisions about grades for each candidate in each subject.

Our process has four steps:

  • Step 1. Centre determines a predicted grade for each candidate for each syllabus entered
  • Step 2. Centre determines a rank order of its candidates within each grade for each syllabus
  • Step 3. Head of centre confirms the predicted grades and rank orders, and centre sends them to Cambridge International
  • Step 4. Cambridge International carries out a standardisation process, combining data from the school with other data, and awards final grades

You can find detailed guidance about how to work with us through each of these four steps in our document Awarding grades for Cambridge International qualifications in the June 2020 series

Cambridge Assessment International Education has drawn on its wealth of assessment expertise to develop this process of grading students and we believe it is the most valid, fair and effective approach in these unique circumstances.

In developing this approach, we have engaged with different entities worldwide, including other awarding bodies, governments and universities. We have also engaged with the UK government’s exams regulator, Ofqual, which has developed a similar process for the GCSEs and A Levels taken by schools in England.

Private candidates

As explained previously, we will treat private candidates in the same way as school candidates, in that all the grades we award will be based on evidence.

Where centres have accepted entries from private candidates, those students should be included if the head of centre is confident that the head and their staff have seen sufficient evidence of the student’s achievement to make an objective judgement.

Where a candidate has not been taught at the centre handling their entry, centres need to carefully consider what evidence can be authenticated. Evidence from education institutions and previous schools may be acceptable.

As with schools, heads of centre will be responsible for vouching for the authenticity of the evidence gathered about every candidate.

Unfortunately, we recognise that some centres may not able to find enough evidence for some of their private candidates. It is unlikely to be possible therefore to give grades to all private candidates, some of whom may instead need to take exams in the November 2020 exam series to get their grades. If centres cannot supply a predicted grade for a candidate through lack of evidence, we will not charge the exam fee.

Private candidates with questions about this process should contact the centre with which they have registered their entry.

Other frequently asked questions

  • How will Cambridge International AS Level grades from June 2020 count towards Cambridge International A Level in future series? We are working urgently to finalise our policy on this and we will inform you as soon as possible. We recommend that you keep your entries in for Cambridge International AS Level. It will be possible for you to withdraw them as appropriate later without charge once we announce our policy.
  • How will Cambridge AICE Diploma rules apply with the grades awarded in June 2020? The grades we award for Cambridge International AS & A Level in June 2020 will count towards the Cambridge AICE Diploma we award in June 2020. We are urgently exploring how we extend time limit rules. We recommend that you keep your entries in. It will be possible for you to withdraw them as appropriate later without charge once we announce our policy.
  • How will Cambridge ICE rules apply with these grades in June 2020? The grades we award for Cambridge IGCSE in June 2020 will count towards the Cambridge ICE we award in June 2020. We are urgently exploring how we extend time limit rules. We recommend that you keep your entries in. It will be possible for you to withdraw them as appropriate later without charge once we announce our policy.
  • Will results be delayed? We have no plans to delay release of results in August 2020.
  • Withdrawing candidates:
    • For schools working directly with Cambridge International: You can withdraw or enter candidates via Cambridge International Direct until 17 April. You can also, until 1 May, withdraw either a whole cohort of candidates for a syllabus, or a small number of candidates about whom you cannot find evidence. If you do withdraw candidates between 18 April and 1 May, you will need to email rather than use Direct.
    • For schools working with British Council: If you work with us via the British Council, the extended deadline for withdrawals (for whole cohorts or small numbers of candidates about whom you cannot find evidence) is 24 April rather than 1 May, and you will need to contact them to do this.
    • For schools working through local Cambridge Associates: If you work with us via a local Cambridge Associate, you will need to contact them directly for details about the extended deadline for withdrawals (for whole cohorts or small numbers of candidates about whom you cannot find evidence).
  • Can subjects usually offered only in June be available in the November 2020 series? We are urgently exploring which June-only syllabuses we can offer in November. We appreciate the strong interest in this and we will provide an update very soon.
  • What should we do with question papers we’ve received? We have already despatched question papers to schools so it is possible you will receive these despatches. If you have received any question papers we ask that you do not open them. Instead, store them securely as normal until we provide further information. If it is safe and you are happy to accept the consignment, please do so. If you do not intend to take the delivery or are unable to, please get in contact with Customer Service so that we can make arrangements with the courier.

Fees

We understand that the current situation is having a significant impact on schools, students and parents. Some centres have asked if there will be any changes to our fees. We are working on this and we will update centres on Thursday 9 April.

We can confirm that we will not charge a fee for any entry for a student who does not receive a grade in cases where a centre cannot give a predicted grade or a place in the rank order. There will be no charges for the June series for late entries until 17 April or withdrawals up to 1 May.

Universities and recognition

The grades awarded for June 2020 series will have the same value as grades awarded in any other series.

We continue to talk to universities so they understand our approach to grading students this year as they adapt to make students are not systematically disadvantaged. We understand that universities will treat grades in the usual way.

We will update you more about their policies in future updates.

Support for teaching and learning

Many schools have now been closed for several weeks but are doing a fantastic job of delivering remote teaching and learning. We are continuing to add to the Teaching and learning when school is closed section on our website, which includes:

  • Tools to support remote teaching and learning
  • Resources for you and your learners, including tips for students and parents and Resource Plus for teachers and learners
  • E-books from Cambridge publishing partners
  • Webinars and online training.

Staying in touch

You can find our advice on our website

If you have any questions, please get in touch with us via our help section or contact your local Cambridge Associate (such as the British Council).

We have created an infographic about the process we will use to provide grades, and a communication to parents and families.

Our communications on our website may change on a daily basis, and we will send a general update to schools on 16 April.

We wish everyone in the Cambridge International community well at this difficult time.

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