Assessments replacing exams for GCSEs and A-levels are underway

May 05 2021
Assessments replacing exams for GCSEs and A-levels are underway

SCHOOLS have started the process of assessing A-level and GCSE students.

In the absence of the traditional national exams, teachers are being asked to award grades this year for A Levels, AS Levels, GCSEs and some vocational qualifications.

Assessments started after the return from the Easter break, with many pupils sitting papers under exam conditions in the classroom.

Schools' policies and samples of work from pupils will then be compared nationally, in an attempt to ensure candidates at different schools have been treated fairly.

The system has been set up after the government announced in January that exams could not go ahead due to the disruption to education caused by COVID-19 restrictions.

At Chipping Sodbury School pupils are sitting assessments, which will be used alongside a wide variety of pieces of work to show progress during courses.

The school has recently joined the Athelstan Trust, which will provide support with GCSE quality assurance, while for A-levels this will take place jointly with other schools in the Cotswold Edge 6th Form.

Similar plans have been made at Yate Academy, where head teacher Isabel Ambrose (pictured) feels that ‘teachers are best placed’ to assess students in the absence of the usual exams.

Mrs Ambrose said: “A wide range of evidence will be collated over the next half-term, which will include internal assessments and student classwork.

"In addition, we will be using student work produced in response to assessment materials provided by our awarding organisations, including groups of questions, past papers or similar materials such as shadow or sample papers.”

Teachers at Winterbourne Academy will be using coursework, classwork, practice papers and assessments to inform their decisions.

The Olympus Trust, which oversees the school, says it will ensure the process is fair and follows the guidance provided by exam boards. All teacher-assessed grades will be reviewed by the school's leadership team, assisted by the trust.

Results days will be August 10 for A and AS Levels and August 12 for GCSEs.

Pupils can appeal grades, although exam boards have said they will only consider appeals where the evidence "cannot reasonably support" the grade that was given.