How can I appeal my A-level results and what is the 'triple lock' process?

Credit: PA

Students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are receiving their AS and A-level results today after exams were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However teenagers may find their results to be quite disappointing after thousands of A-level results in England have been downgraded.

Earlier this week Education Secretary Gavin Williamson announced some changes to the exam results in the '11th hour'.

Students have been assured they can pick their best results from their calculated grade, their mock results, or exams in the autumn, if they decide to take them then.

What is the 'triple lock' process and how can it help me?

The 'triple lock' process is the new way schools in England have calculated students' A-level results.

Schools have been asked to provide predicted grades while also ranking pupils in order of how well they could perform in each exam.

This information is then sent of to the exam regulator Ofqual, which has moderated the predictions.

Thursday's grades have been moderated using a statistical model, which takes into account things like a school’s recent exam history and each pupil’s previous exam results.

Students socially distance at Peter Symonds College, Winchester, as they receive their A-level results Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA

However if you're unhappy with your grades, you can choose to use results from mock exams taken before coronavirus restrictions enabled schools to close.

You can do this by notifying your school or college, who will send the mock results to the board.

Students are also able to choose to sit exams in the autumn.

The government is providing a support package to help schools with the costs associated with running these exams including venue bookings and sourcing invigilators.

What do I do if my A-level grades are lower than I expected?

Talk to your school, who will be able to tell you your centre-assessed grade (CAG), which is the assessment provided to exam boards by your teachers.

This means you’ll be able to see if and how far you have been marked down during the moderation process and decide what you'd like to do next.

Most students have missed more than five months education due to the coronavirus crisis. Credit: PA

How do I appeal my A-level results if I'm not happy with my grades?

In England, pupils can ask their school or college to check whether it made an administrative error when submitting their grade – and they can ask them to submit an appeal to the exam board if it did.

But individual students will not be able to directly challenge their grades to the exam boards.

They will be dependent on schools and colleges to appeal against results on their behalf.

Ofqual has said results can be appealed against if the school or college can show grades are lower than expected because previous cohorts are not "representative" of this year’s students.

If your result has been downgraded and your mock result was better than the result you received on Thursday, you can ask to appeal through your school.

It’s not an entirely straightforward process – the mock result will need to be validated – but teachers will be keen to help you get the best result possible.

What do I do if I haven’t got the grades I need for university?

Universities have been urged to be as flexible as possible this year.

They are also keen to recruit more domestic students this year than previous years because they are concerned international students might not turn up due to the pandemic.

So talk to your university of choice as they may be happy to admit you, even with slightly lower grades, in what everyone recognises is a difficult year.

If not on your first choice of course, your first choice university may be able to offer you an alternative course which you might consider.

Don't worry if you decide to appeal, universities have been asked to hold places open for students in your position until September 7.

Failing that, there is also the clearing process - you can look through Ucas' clearing system to see which universities and courses still have places remaining.