The exams regulator Ofqual has published its consultation on alternative arrangements for the awarding of GCSEs and A-levels this summer.

It follows a decision last week to cancel exams due to take place in 2021 amid partial school closures.

The consultation document proposes that students’ grades in each subject “will be based on their teachers’ assessment of the standard at which the student is performing”.

Final assessments will be made “towards the end of the academic year, at about the time students would have taken their exams”.

Views sought on plan for papers to help teachers with assessment

Ofqual has also said that to help teachers make “objective decisions”, it is proposing that exam boards provide “guidance and training”, and make available sets of papers for teachers to use with with students “as part of their assessment”.

The consultation is seeking views on “whether such papers should be provided and, if so, what form they should take”.

One question being considered is whether the papers could use materials from past papers. The consultation also asks when the papers should be made available and whether their use should be mandated.

The use of such papers “would support consistency within and between schools and colleges”, Ofqual said.

“The teacher, through the marking of the papers, could consider the evidence of the student’s work and use that to inform their assessment of the grade deserved. The exam boards could also sample teachers’ marking as part of the external quality assurance arrangements and to seek to ensure this was comparable across different types of school and college, wherever students are studying. The use of exam board papers could also help with appeals.”

Where non-exam assessments are part of a qualification’s existing specification, Ofqual is proposing that teachers will continue to assess any NEA a student has undertaken.

Ofqual is also proposing that teachers should draw on a “range of broader evidence of a student’s work in making their final assessment”, and that all students should be able to appeal their grades.

Early-June grade submission and early July results proposed

Under the proposed plan, students would be assessed by their teachers in a period beginning in May into early June. Teachers would then submit grades to the exam boards by the middle of June.

External quality assurance by the exam boards would be “ongoing” throughout June and results would be issued to students once that process is complete – most likely in early July. Students could then appeal immediately following the issue of results, and appeals would first be considered by schools and colleges.

A separate consultation on proposals for vocational and technical qualifications has also been published.

 

What’s being proposed: in short

Students would continue with their education during this academic year

Students would be assessed by their teachers in a period beginning in May into early June

Teachers would submit grades to the exam boards by mid-June

External quality assurance by the exam boards would be ongoing throughout June

Results would be issued to students once the quality assurance process is complete, most likely in early July

Student appeals could be submitted immediately following the issue of results and would first be considered by schools and colleges