Use teacher assessments and cancel 2021 exams

Use teacher assessments and cancel 2021 exams

Due to the ongoing disruption in students’ education as a result of the coronavirus pandemic next year’s public exams may have to be cancelled.

The National Education Union (NEU) have said more pupils are being sent home due to higher Covid-19 infection rates which makes going ahead with exams unfair and less likely to take place.
However, the government is committed to GCSE and A-levels taking place next summer, however they are considering to delay it by a few months.
An official spokesman said “We are working with the exam boards and Ofqual on our approach, recognising that students experienced considerable disruption to their education last year.”

Dr Mary Bousted, NEU joint general secretary said this was a position that was becoming "increasingly untenable" and teachers urgently needed to know what evidence of pupil achievement they needed to collect so fair assessments could be made. Her comments were made a day after national attendance figures revealed one in six secondary schools were not fully open to all pupils last week, with 16% having to send at least some pupils home to self-isolate amid a rise in virus cases.

It also follows comments from several university vice-chancellors who have all called for next year's exams to be cancelled, and for the focus to be on pupils catching up missed learning instead.

Dr Bousted said national figures showed 200,000 children and young people were not in school last week, and that with 7,000 new cases nationally yesterday (29/09/20) alone, disruption was inevitable.
"All of that makes it more and more difficult to see that students will get the opportunity to consistently be in school across the country," she said.
"As the situation develops it may become inevitable that what we have to move to is a system of centre-assessed grades... everybody appears to agree that this is a real possibility - that we won't be able to do exams.
"The only body which is sort of sticking its head in the sand, sticking its fingers in its ears, is the government, and that is what they have done consistently in this crisis.


Kenneth Baker, a former education secretary who introduced GCSEs has also called for the exams, along with A levels, to be cancelled in 2021 due to the continued disruption to learning caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
In a letter written to the current education secretary Gavin Williamson urging him to accept that teacher assessment "will have to be used again next year.”
And, in order for this to happen, guidance will need to be provided to schools on “the sort of report that teachers should be keeping for each student now, not only on attendance, but on performance as the weeks and months go by", he said.


Michael Morpurgo, one of Britain’s popular children’s author has voiced his opinion and called for the “tension and fear” to be taken away from pupils who have missed so much work during the pandemic.

war horse

The author of The War Horse said the 2021 GCSE and A-level grades should be based again on teacher assessments, as they were this year after exams were cancelled due to the coronavirus.
He said: “Teachers know the children best, and to take the tension off it should be so again.” Grading should be “teacher led and teacher judged”.

Algorithm Chaos
This summer’s exam chaos was caused by a faulty algorithm that purposely down graded grades in ways that were described as "unfair and unfathomable" by head teachers. Students were given grades based on teacher assessments moderated by an algorithm.

exams algorithim
The algorithm was quickly discredited and marks were recalculated based solely on teacher assessments. 

Many headteachers are calling for papers to be pushed back from May to July to give students time to catch up.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: "We expect exams to take place next year and continue to work with Ofqual and the exam boards on our approach, recognising that students will have experienced considerable disruption to their education in the last academic year.
"There are a range of measures proposed by Ofqual following a public consultation, including a possible short delay to the exam timetable and subject-specific changes to reduce pressure on teaching time. We will continue to work with school and college stakeholders, Ofqual and the exam boards, to ensure that exams in 2021 are fair."