Guidelines on A-level assessment announced

We now know the basis on which this year’s  A-level students will be accredited.

According to the in-house journal Schools Week, exam boards will:

“Ask teachers to submit their judgement about the grade that they believe the student would have received if exams had gone ahead” Teachers should consider evidence including performance on mock exams and non-exam assessment.

Clear guidance on how to do this fairly and robustly this will be provided to schools and colleges. “The exam boards will then combine this information with other relevant data, including prior attainment, and use this information to produce a calculated grade for each student, which will be a best assessment of the work they have put in.” Ofqual and exam boards “will be discussing with teachers’ representatives before finalising an approach, to ensure that it is as fair as possible. More information will be provided as soon as possible.”

Ofqual said it will also “aim to ensure that the distribution of grades follows a similar pattern to that in other years, so that this year’s students do not face a systematic disadvantage as a consequence of these extraordinary circumstances.” If pupils “do not believe the correct process has been followed” then they can appeal. “If they don’t feel their calculated grade reflects their performance pupils can also resit an exam “at the earliest reasonable opportunity, once schools are open again. Students will also have the option to sit their exams in summer 2021.”

While cobbled together quickly, hopefully this is will be enough to enable a generation drilled on the importance of exams, now disoriented and confused by this week’s decision,  to move their lives on and progress smoothly?

Ironically and astonishingly, after years of denying teachers any role in determining the educational outcomes of their students (remember Michael Gove’s defence of ‘standards’ and ‘rigour’) teacher’s professional opinions  will now play a major part.  It’s also resulting in more students  (and their parents)  questioning why this type of assessment was necessary in the first place.

If education ever gets back to ‘normal’ hopefully teachers and lecturers  (and in particular, organisations representing them) will be able to use their position to, at the very least, restore  a reasonable balance between external and internal (teacher) assessment – as part of a campaign for a different system of education.


                 A need to change the system


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