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Webinar Info – Advice for Secondary Schools on collecting Estimated Grades for Exams in 2020

This webinar takes place on Friday 24th April at 11am and will offer advice for Secondary Schools on collecting Estimated Grades in 2020.

Click the below link to register:


If you missed the webinar above please find the info below:

Watch Recording
Advice for Secondary Schools on collecting Estimated Grades for Exams in 2020 Webinar
One IT Quick Notes from Webinar


Results Day Survival Kit

Exams Download Day

Processing results and Calculating PI
Exams GDPR PowerPoint
SIMS Secondary Year Book

Organising Marksheets
Recording External Results
Managing PI Data
Exams Prep
Exams Admin

Latest News from Capita:

16/04/2020 – Public Consultation on Exceptional arrangements for exam grading and assessment in 2020
Ofqual have released a public consultation on the exams grading process for the summer of 2020.  The aim of the consultation, which closes at 11:45pm on 29th April 2020, is to:

  • to ensure students can receive grades in these qualifications this summer so they can progress to the next stages of their lives without further disruption
  • that the grades will be as valued as those of any other year
  • that the approach will be fair

Please do take time to read the additional information and where you can, submit your feedback to Ofqual.

In terms of the awarding organisations working with MIS providers, the conversations have reduced in the past week as they continue to work through their revised processes and figure out their technical strategy for collecting the data they require.  We know that they will not be using revised basedata or different versions of EDI submission files.

We have stressed to the JCQ that any data they collect across the different boards must be in a consistent format.  This is to ease the burden of the Exam Officers and Data Managers coordinating responses across a variety of AOs at their establishment.  When we have more information and certainty on how SIMS can help in this process, we will publish additional guidance.

09/04/2020 – Update Video from Ofqual
Ofqual have provided teachers and students some video guidance on the current Summer Series situation.  There have been some conversations this week at a variety of levels and plans are starting to solidify and I am sure will be announced in the coming days.

06/04/2020 – News from Ofqual regarding Summer Series
You may have heard on the news over the weekend, Ofqual released further information regarding how students this summer will be assessed.  Their document (click here) in summary states on page 5: “For every GCSE, AS and A level subject, exam boards will require each school, college or other exam centre to submit the following information:

  • a centre assessment grade for each student – the judgement submitted to the exam board by the Head of Centre about the grade that each student is most likely to have achieved if they had sat their exams. This professional judgement is derived from evidence held within the centre and which has been reviewed by subject teachers and relevant heads of department
  • the rank order of students within each grade – for example, for all those students with a grade of 5 in GCSE maths, or a grade B in A level biology, a rank order where 1 is the most secure/highest attaining student, and so on.”

Furthermore, Ofqual make it clear on page 10 that Exam Boards are working on how they collect this data:

“Exam boards are currently working to adapt their IT systems to collect this data in a way that is as straightforward as possible for centres. The final deadline for submission of data to exam boards will be specified by the exam boards. It will not be earlier than 29 May 2020 and that centres will have a window of at least two weeks in which to submit the data. Further information will follow from exam boards after Easter. While you can begin the work to generate the grade and rank order, please do not try to submit data until exam boards have issued instructions.”

We (Capita) continue with our discussions with the JCQ and individual Exam Boards, each centre is going to have different ways to manage this, as each school has different levels of access to SIMS and even applications at home such as Excel.  Once we understand more on how the Exams boards proceed with collecting the data, we can then explore if there are any processes of real value in SIMS we can utilise.  I am keen to make sure we don’t over think this and create massively complex ways to collect this data, where a secure shared online spreadsheet may be the most efficient way to do this.


30/03/2020 – Continued conversations regarding the Summer Series
Today there were a number of different meetings with SSUs, Awarding Organisations, JCQ and internally on how Exam Centres will deal with the change to assessing the outcomes of learners this summer.  Progress is being made on a consistent approach and all are invested in making the alternative arrangements as easy as possible even when access to school systems is difficult.  I would like to think that as we move towards the end of this week, this process will have taken shape and we hopefully will have something that we can all share.

25/03/2020 – Alternative arrangements for GCSE and A Level’s this summer
Capita are working in consultation with awarding organisations and the JCQ to formulate our plans moving forward on how to best manage the return of data required for the Summer 2020 Season.  Please continue to review this article and as soon as we have more information and confirmed detail, we will share that here.

5/02/2020 – Update to KS4 Attainment 8 Estimates for 2019
In February 2020, the DfE updated their KS4 Attainment 8 Estimates based upon the outcomes of students who took exams in the Summer of 2019. The details from this recent document on page 43 have been produced in Patch 25661. Schools wanting to run the SIMS PI Reports for KS4 2019 and want to use the latest Attainment 8 Averages should apply this patch.  This patch will be included in the SIMS Summer 2020 release in preparation for the 2020 KS4 cohort’s estimated Attainment 8 scores.

UPDATE 24/01/2020 – Issues Importing AQA Basedata
Patch 25477 has been withdrawn from SOLUS3 because of an issue with External Results.  We have now released a new patch, 25588 on SOLUS3.

09/01/2020– Welsh Performance Measure File Version 6
We have released Version 6 of the Welsh Performance Measure file to add in one specific qualification:

  • QWAD C00/3896/1 with QAN 603/3040/5

Schools who need to use the QWAD only will need to import this PM File, those schools not teaching this qualification will NOT need to import this updated PM file.

29/11/2019 – We are now writing a database patch to update SIMS with the new and corrected information from the JCQ Formats spreadsheet.  Please keep an eye on the Notification for further updates.

Investigations into the root cause of the problem have been completed. The issue is a difference in the qualification levels published in the JCQ formats documentation and that in the AQA basedata. This difference is the reason why this particular basedata cannot be imported. We are waiting for official confirmation from the JCQ in a change to the formats documentation to which we can then prepare a database patch to then allow the successful import of AQA’s basedata.



21/08/2019 – OCR Drama J316A and J316B
Exam Board: OCR
Region: Any school in any region who has students entered for this qualification
Issue: When importing a result file for students who are expecting grades and marks for OCR J316A or J316B Drama, the error “Result not in range defined for the aspect” will be recorded in the import activity log.  This is because the current basedata has the maximum and minimum marks both set to zero and the incoming result file has a mark outside this range.  Only results for this specific qualification for OCR in this file will be impacted, all other incoming results should import fine.
Advice: OCR will be issuing new Basedata on their website which will need to be refreshed in Exams Organiser as soon as possible.

21/08/2019 – WJEC English Endorsements
Exam Board: 
Region: Any school in any region who has students entered for qualifications in English with Endorsements
Issue: Errors received upon import
Advice: Download and refresh Version 2 of the basedata for series 6G19_40 (link available here)

Exam Board: Pearson.
Issue: Result file not importing.
Notes: Pearson have issued some test files, (as in system test not exam test) which end in the extension .x99. They are not required to be imported into Exams Organiser, if attempting to do so, the user will receive an error. There is no requirement to import these test files.

Exam Board: All
Advice: In advance of the Double Award GCSE results next week, we have issued KB-481520 on how Exams Organiser displays grades like 99 and 98.


KB-481520 – Double Grades on Candidate Statement of Results
When running the Candidate Statement of Results report in Examinations Organiser, if a student has a GCSE Double Award Grade, the Grade will display in a different format. For example, 99 instead of 9-9.
See Solution
At present, Examinations Organiser reports will always use the Gradeset Short Code. In this instance, the GCSE Double Grades are in the format of 99, 98, 88, etc… and this cannot be changed. We are looking to change this in the next Generation of Exams.


28/05/2019 – Explanation and Demonstration of how to refresh basedata
As the exams result season draws closer, there can be confusion with users on how to be successful in refreshing exams basedata.  A recent meeting with OCR and WJEC also identified that awarding organisation also are confused by this process in Exams Organiser 6.  This video helps explain how this completed.   

10/05/2019 – Exams Pod Cast
To help customers understand what’s going to be available in the summer release of the software, we have put together some pod casts that are available on the SIMS Customer Success Resource Hub.