Ramadan Exams Advice
The below paper is relevant to all school and college leaders, and those involved in administering GCSEs and A levels. There are also safeguarding implications for students considering how to observe Ramadan, therefore this will affect all teaching staff, and all staff engaged in the delivery of exams over the summer. ASCL has worked with imams, Islamic scholars, experts, Muslim chaplains in the education sector and leaders to produce this information for school and college leaders to use to initiate discussions with Muslim students on how best they can fulfill their Islamic obligations during Ramadan, including the obligation to perform well in their exams.
What do ‘Advanced’ levels involve?
AS/A2 Levels are assessed mainly by examination although many have an element of coursework. A timetable of major hand-in dates for coursework for relevant courses is published in the calendar at the beginning of every academic year. It is essential that students meet these deadlines in order that coursework can be marked and submitted to the Exam Boards on time.
Currently all A Level specifications are made up of four or six modules. The first two or three modules give students an AS level qualification and are examined between May and July at the end of the first year of study. The remaining two or three modules are examined in the second year of the course and lead to the A2 qualification.
A2 and AS Levels are awarded grades A, B, C, D, E & U. ‘E’ is the lowest pass grade and A is the highest grade. Since 2010 there is also an A* grade at A2. Two AS Level passes are equivalent to one A2 level pass, in terms of progression to university, although exact requirements vary from one university to another.
What is an Applied AS/A2?
- the Applied AS/A2 (Double) is made up of 12 modules and is equivalent to 2 AS/A2 Levels.
- the Applied AS/A2 (Single) has 6 modules and is equivalent to 1 AS/A2 Level.
These courses involve the continuous assessment of coursework as well as external exams and students have to meet regular assignment deadline dates.
The pass grades awarded on Applied (Single) AS/A2 Levels are A, B, C, D and E, where A is the highest level pass. On Applied (Double) AS/A2 Level courses the pass grades are AA, AB, BB, BC, CC, CD, DD, DE, and EE.
What is a National Diploma?
- The Extended Diploma comprises 18 units and is equivalent to 3 A2 levels.
- The Diploma comprises 12 units and is equivalent to 2 A2 levels.
- The Subsidiary Diploma comprises 6 units and is equivalent to 1 A2 level.
The pass grades awarded for National qualifications are pass, merit and distinction, where distinction is the highest level.
What grades will my son/daughter need to get for University?
Entrance requirements for University courses vary but are usually 3 A2 Level passes or equivalent, often with a 4th subject at AS level. Universities make offers based on students’ predicted grades in certain subjects. The exact nature of these offers will depend on both the individual course and the University.
Students will be given more information about this during their Tutorials. They can also find useful material in the Careers Library or on the Careers section of the ‘o.Zone’. Students can make an appointment to see the Careers Help Desk in the main college building.
If a student is on a GCSE or Btec First Diploma programme, what do they need to achieve to carry on to the advanced courses next year?
- Btec First Diploma students’ target for progression to Advanced Level is to achieve at least a Merit.
- The small number of students on our GCSE programme will need to pass at least three of the four subjects taken this year at grade C or above.
However, students who do not quite achieve this target may be allowed to progress if their Course Tutor feels they have the potential to be successful at Advanced Level.
How can we help?
When exams or coursework deadlines approach it is not unusual for some students to feel anxious and under pressure. It is important to be aware of this and plan how you can help. There are people in College your son or daughter can speak to for support.
If there is a problem, encourage your son or daughter to see their Personal Tutor, a Subject Tutor or a member of the Student Support Team, for advice. You are, of course, welcome to contact us if you wish to discuss the problem.
All exams will be conducted according to the rules laid down by exam boards and within the start and finish times determined by the board. Exam dates are non-negotiable.
It is necessary for students to comply with the exam board regulations which are issued via tutorial and are available on the intranet.
What can go wrong?
Every year a very small number of students fail to gain qualifications because they have:
- Failed to read their exam timetable and not turned up on the appropriate day
- Arrived late for their exam and had their paper discounted
- Caused a disruption because their mobile phone has gone off during the exam
- Introduced unauthorised material into the exam room
All of these incidents must be reported to the awarding bodies who decide on the sanctions to apply.
What can we do?
The College issues exam timetables in December for January exams and Late April/Early May for the summer exam session:
- Make sure your son/daughter has a copy of their timetable and is aware of all exam dates and times
- Timetables are individual to the student so please encourage your son/daughter to inform the exams department immediately of any perceived difficulty, discrepancies or missing examinations.
Special Exam Arrangements
There are many things that can impact on exam performance and in some circumstances the exams department can make arrangements which will support your son/daughter’s through the examination period.
- Inform the exams office, immediately, of any last minute circumstance which will impact on your son/daughter’s ability to sit an exam, for example, illness or injury.
Absence on the Exam Day
Contact the exams office immediately if your son/daughter is going to be absent due to illness or unforeseen circumstances to discuss their options.
More information about Examinations can be foundin the Student Diary, the College Charter and the on the College internet site.