ON THE eve of A-level results day, Wales' education minister has made a last-minute change to the rules for this year's exam results.

Kirsty Williams said she would "guarantee" that students would not receive an A-level grade tomorrow that is lower than they achieved for their corresponding AS-level results.

For example, that means a pupil who achieved a C-grade for maths at AS-level cannot be awarded anything lower than a C-grade for their maths A-level.

If a student receives a grade tomorrow which is lower than their previous AS-level result, then a revised grade will be issued automatically by examinations board WJEC, Ms Williams said.

If the A-level grade awarded tomorrow is higher than (or equal to) a student's AS-level grade, no action will be taken.

The last-ditch amendment to the exam rules follows increasing uncertainty over the way A-level results have been calculated in other parts of the UK.

In Scotland, the government abandoned a computer system that downgraded the predicted grades students had been awarded by their teachers.

Each Scottish student will now receive their predicted grades, but the fallout from the matter – which involved widespread protests – continues, including calls for the Scottish education minister to step down.

In Wales, Ms Williams said she was "confident that the system overseen by Qualifications Wales (QW) and WJEC, in response to the current emergency, is fair for students and robust in what it measures and signals to employers and universities".

The Welsh Government announcement has been welcomed by the shadow education minister, Suzy Davies MS, who said: “What has been absolutely crucial is to ensure there is a fair system for grading our young people on their A-level results.

“It was vital to see a safety net being implemented in Wales to make sure pupils achieved the grade they had worked towards. So tomorrow, I am pleased that pupils’ final grades are guaranteed to not be lower than their previous grade at AS-level.”

This year's A-levels and other exams in Wales, and across the rest of the UK, were abandoned in the spring when schools were forced to shut due to the coronavirus crisis.

Ms Williams said the changed rules in Wales would "not disadvantage Welsh students" following last-minute alterations brought in elsewhere in the UK.

Students in England have been told they will not receive a final A-level grade lower than they achieved in their mock exams.

In Wales, 40 per cent of the A-level exam result is based on the grade achieved at AS-level, unlike in other parts of the UK.

"In building on that completed work, I am giving a guarantee that a learner’s final A-level grade cannot be lower than their AS grade," Ms Williams said, adding: This will mean – and I have received assurances from UCAS and universities – that students can speak with confidence to their prospective universities regarding their A-level grades."

The rules are yet to be finalised on an appeals process for Welsh A-level students who want to challenge their grades, but Ms Williams said appeals would be free-of-charge "to ensure there is no financial barrier to ensure learners feel their exam grades are fair".

QW said it expects to provide more information on the appeals process early next week.