DfE reveals grading plans for pupils after exams cancelled

2020-03-25

Teacher assessments will help to generate grades for pupils who have seen their exams cancelled this summer in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.


The Department for Education has said it intends to provide students with grades by the end of July, while pupils will have an opportunity to resit an exam if they do not think a grade they are given is fair.


The department recognises that grades for GCSEs and A-levels this summer will be “indistinguishable from those provided in other years”.


New government guidance states that teachers will be asked to provide judgements for pupils on the grades they believe they would have achieved, based on non-exam assessments and mock exams.


Exam regulators and Ofqual will provide “clear guidance on how to do this fairly and robustly” to all schools and colleges in the country.


“Exam boards will then combine this information with other relevant data, including prior attainment, and use this information to provide a calculated grade for each student, which will be a best assessment of the work they have put in,” the guidance states.


Ofqual and exam boards are expected to host further discussions with teachers’ representatives to finalise the exact approaches to be used and to ensure they are as fair as they can be.


The distribution of grades should “follow a similar pattern to that in other years”, designed to ensure that “students do not face a systematic disadvantage as a consequence” of exams being cancelled.


According to the guidance, those wishing to resit will be given the chance to do so “at the earliest reasonable opportunity” once schools have reopened.


Education secretary Gavin Williamson described the move to cancel exams as a “vital but unprecedented step in the country’s efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus”.


“My priority now is to ensure no young person faces a barrier when it comes to moving onto the next stage of their lives,” he explained. “Whether that’s further or higher education, an apprenticeship or a job.”


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