Privacy notice - Summer Series 2020 and data on learners

Summer Series 2020 and data on learners

Due to the ongoing Covid-19 public health crisis, Welsh Government announced that summer 2020 exams would be cancelled on the 18th March[1]. Subsequently Welsh Government directed Qualifications Wales to pay due regard to their policy that the 2020 cohort of learners for GCSE, AS, A level and Skills Challenge Certificate qualifications should receive calculated grades[2].

In the absence of exams these grades will need to be calculated by awarding bodies using a range of evidence. We are aiming to oversee a fair and robust approach to providing learners with grades.

Consequently, Qualifications Wales will be processing some additional data at learner level for this examination series. This data, which will include potentially identifiable information, is necessary for statistical research into methods for standardising and calculating grades and to oversee the award of accurate calculated grades for learners.

It will constitute research datasets containing data about learners from this year and previous years. This includes information such as qualification level results, learner prior attainment and characteristics such as age, sex and ethnicity. We will also collect the ‘centre assessment data’ (estimated grades and rank orders produced by centres) and the final grades awarded to learners this summer.

The data will be sourced from Welsh Government and awarding bodies including WJEC. We will only share aggregate statistical information back with Welsh Government and WJEC.

We do not expect to be processing fully identified learner level data (containing information such as learner names or dates of birth) this summer. If this changes we will update this privacy notice accordingly.

Our legal basis for processing this data is to support the performance of our function as regulator of qualifications and the qualifications system in Wales (thus complying with article 6(e) of the UK GDPR), and to enable us to fulfil our public task in accordance with the Direction we have received from Welsh Government.

Where “special category” data is processed  (a learner’s ethnicity for example), this will be where there is substantial public interest for this information to be processed so as to enable the fair and robust approach to the monitoring of awarding grades to learners (complying with article 9(g) of the UK GDPR)

The purposes of this processing are:

  • To carry out our regulatory monitoring functions.
  • To enable us to publish statistics about the operation of the qualifications system in Wales.
  • To carry out evidence-based research on the qualifications and the qualifications system, including for impact assessment.
  • To investigate issues reported to Qualifications Wales.
  • For statistical modelling to support the development of the approach to standardising and calculating grades.
  • To assess the accuracy of the centre assessment data.

This is to support our Principal Aims:

  • ensuring that qualifications, and the Welsh qualification system, are effective for meeting the reasonable needs of learners in Wales;
  • promoting public confidence in qualifications and in the Welsh qualification system.

We expect to retain the research data until August 2021. The final results data will be retained for 15 years to enable trends to be analysed.

Your Rights

Details of the rights available to you and how to exercise them please refer back to our learner privacy notice.  Please note that legal exemptions may apply in the case of assessment data and data used for statistical and research purposes.

[1] https://gov.wales/written-statement-written-statement-summer-examinations-2020

[2] https://gov.wales/gcse-and-level-cancellations-letter