Here’s how students’ GCSE and A-level grades will be awarded this summer


Students across North Staffordshire will get their GCSE and A-level results early under plans to award grades based on teacher assessments.

The move follows the cancellation of formal exams for the second year in a row on the back of the coronavirus pandemic.

But unlike last summer’s A-level fiasco, there will be no controversial algorithm used to determine the final grades.

Instead, schools and colleges will receive guidance from exam boards on how to make their judgements and there will be random sampling of some students’ work.

The plans unveiled today follow a public consultation, which attracted around 100,000 responses, including more than half from young people themselves.

Exams regulator Ofqual and the Department for Education said they wanted to ensure as much consistency and fairness as possible.

Simon Lebus, Ofqual’s interim chief regulator, added: “The aim is to make it no harder overall for this year’s students to receive a particular grade than students in other years.”

He stressed the system would only take into account what ‘students have been taught, not what they have missed’.

Schools and colleges will be able to use optional test questions set by exam boards. But students won’t be expected to answer them under formal exam conditions and teachers will have the flexibility to choose how long they have to complete each task.

Other evidence that could be taken into consideration includes mock exam results, coursework, essays, in-class tests and other work completed as part of a student’s course.

Teachers will submit grades to exam boards by June 18, allowing as much teaching time as possible before they make their judgements.

Results days – which normally take place on consecutive Thursdays in mid to late August – will now be brought forward. People will get A-level results on August 10 and GCSE results on August 12.

That will give additional time for appeals to be completed, so teenagers are less likely to miss out on their university or college places.

Every candidate will have the opportunity to appeal at no additional cost. If they are still unhappy with their grades, they can take exams in the autumn.

Kathie is the Education Reporter for StokeonTrentLive.

You can follow her on Facebook here and Twitter here.

You can contact Kathie at katherine.mcinnes@reachplc.com

Students doing vocational and technical courses, such as BTECs, will also receive grades based on teacher assessments. But if they need to demonstrate a required professional standard for an occupation, they may still sit an exam.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Young people have shown incredible resilience over the last year, continuing with their learning amid unprecedented challenges while the country battles with this pandemic.

“Those efforts deserve to be fairly rewarded.”

Teaching unions have described today’s announcement as ‘the least worst option’. But they raised concerns about the extra workload for teachers.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “It is now down to the awarding bodies to provide the details which schools and colleges need to implement the process.

“Although earlier results for students seeking to start university could be beneficial, cramming GCSE results into the same week will place unnecessary pressure on to the system.”





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