GCSE and A-level results in England will be higher this summer, with exam boards set to be more lenient. Written exams were cancelled because of the pandemic - with pupils' results to be based on predicted outcomes.
The watchdog Ofqual says the numbers getting good grades will be 2% higher at A-level and 1% at GCSE. But they will be much lower than the "optimistic" predictions from teachers, which at A-level would have pushed up results 12% higher than last year.
The exam regulator says it is also confident, from preliminary results, that there has been no "unconscious bias" in predicted grades that would have disadvantaged ethnic minorities or poorer students.
A report from the education select committee this month warned of the risk that some pupils could be discriminated against. But Ofqual says there is no evidence of any widening gaps in this summer's results, in terms of ethnicity, gender or deprivation, compared with years when pupils have taken exams.
While individual pupils will not find out their GCSEs and A-levels until next month, the process of standardising these predicted grades means that the overall national picture is already emerging.
The exam regulator says this will be a more generous year, with candidates more likely to be given the benefit of the doubt. So for instance, last summer 25.5% of candidates achieved an A grade or above at A-level - and this year it will be more like 27.5%.