Coronavirus: Teacher assessments will be used for exams

Students will also have the opportunity to sit exams early in the next academic year, says Department for Education

Catherine Lough

Coronavirus: Teacher assessment will be used to award this year's GCSE and A-level grades, says the Department for Education

The government has said teachers’ assessments of student performance will be used to assign grades to this year’s GCSE and A-level candidates after the summer’s exams were cancelled to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

The government announced today that it will ensure GCSE and A level pupils will be awarded a grade “which fairly reflects the work that they have put in” and that there will also be an option to sit exams early in the next academic year if students wish to do this.

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“Ofqual will develop and set out a process that will provide a calculated grade to each student which reflects their performance as fairly as possible, and will work with the exam boards to ensure this is consistently applied for all students,” the Department for Education said in a statement.

“The exam boards will be asking teachers, who know their students well, to submit their judgement about the grade that they believe the student would have received if exams had gone ahead."

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The statement said teachers will use mock exam results and non-exam assessment as well as other data, which will be used by boards to produce a calculated grade for pupils.

“The aim is to provide these calculated grades to students before the end of July. In terms of a permanent record, the grades will be indistinguishable from those provided in other years,” the statement said.

The 2020 exam series will not be used for school performance data, and universities are expected to be “flexible” in supporting students’ entry to higher education.

Education secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Cancelling exams is something no education secretary would ever want to do. However, these are extraordinary times and this measure is a vital but unprecedented step in the country’s efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus.

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

“I have asked exam boards to work closely with the teachers who know their pupils best to ensure their hard work and dedication is rewarded and fairly recognised.”

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Catherine Lough

Catherine Lough is a reporter at Tes.

Find me on Twitter @CathImogenLough

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