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Colleges ‘may take vastly completely different approaches to grading exams’


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here’s a “important danger” colleges will take vastly completely different approaches to grading in teacher-assessed A-levels and GCSEs, a senior educator has warned.

There will probably be non-obligatory assessments set by examination boards for all topics, however they won’t be taken in examination situations or resolve last grades.

Natalie Perera, chief govt of the Schooling Coverage Institute (Epi) suppose tank, mentioned: “With out well timed and detailed steerage for colleges on how this yr’s grades needs to be benchmarked towards earlier years, and with classroom assessments solely being non-obligatory, there’s a important danger that colleges will take very completely different approaches to grading.

“This might end in massive numbers of pupils interesting their grades this yr or extraordinarily excessive grade inflation, which may very well be of little worth to schools, universities, employers and younger folks themselves.”

Different academics, nonetheless, have welcomed Schooling Secretary Gavin Williamson’s anticipated transfer to provide colleges extensive flexibility in deciding how academics assess their pupils, primarily based on these components of the curriculum they’ve been taught.

Leora Cruddas, chief govt of the Confederation of Faculty Trusts, mentioned: “There’s a affordable consensus that instructor judgment will must be each supported, scaffolded and high quality assured.

“It’s because though the pandemic has had a dangerous influence, we nonetheless need evaluation outcomes this yr to mirror one thing goal.”

Paul Whiteman, common secretary of the varsity leaders’ union Naht, mentioned the plans “seem to chart a path which avoids the terrible chaos of final yr”.

He mentioned: “This set of selections is, nonetheless, solely the place to begin. It’s now all the way down to the awarding our bodies to supply the element which colleges and faculties have to implement the method.

“Though earlier outcomes for college students looking for to begin college may very well be helpful, cramming GCSE outcomes into the identical week will place pointless strain on to the system.”

Mary Bousted, joint common secretary of the Nationwide Schooling Union, mentioned the ultimate selections had been “higher” than the unique proposals, including it was “seemingly the least worst choice obtainable”.

However she added: “Nevertheless, there are nonetheless query marks over how it’s anticipated that the additional work essential to facilitate grading will probably be handled.”

Final summer time, hundreds of A-level college students had their outcomes downgraded from faculty estimates by a controversial algorithm earlier than Ofqual introduced a U-turn which allowed them to make use of academics’ predictions.

This yr examination boards will present academics with non-obligatory evaluation questions for college students to reply to assist colleges resolve which grades to award, after this summer time’s exams had been cancelled as a result of pandemic.

However these assessments should not anticipated to be carried out in examination situations and academics can have the pliability to decide on how lengthy college students have to finish the duty, and the place will probably be carried out.

Considerations have been raised that the Authorities’s method to grading A-level and GCSE college students may end in “extraordinarily excessive grade inflation”.

The Division for Schooling and England’s exams regulator Ofqual have confirmed academics will be capable to draw on a variety of proof when figuring out grades – together with mock exams, coursework or different work accomplished as a part of a pupil’s course, comparable to essays or in-class assessments.

Pupils will solely be assessed on what they’ve been taught after months of faculty and school closures.

Colleges and faculties will submit their grades to examination boards by June 18 to maximise educating time, and college students will obtain grades in early August as soon as high quality assurance checks have been accomplished by the examination boards.

Usually college students obtain their leads to mid to late August, however A-level college students will obtain their outcomes on August 10 and GCSE pupils will obtain theirs two days in a while August 12.

It’s hoped the sooner schedule will guarantee pupils have sufficient time to log appeals so A-level college students don’t miss out on their most well-liked college locations for the autumn.



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