Dear Parent / Carer
Following on from my letter dated 15th January, Ofqual has published its proposal on what assessment would look like for A-level, GCSE and Vocational qualifications. The details can be found here:
How 2021 could look for students and learners
The consultation is open to all to respond and I would encourage you to take this opportunity to have a direct say in giving direction to the outcome of this process. Although the consultation has 68 questions, the majority require either yes/no answers or responses that ask whether you agree/disagree and, therefore, we hope it should not take too long to complete.
The consultation deadline is Friday 29th January and can be found here:
The key proposals for GCSEs, AS and A levels are outlined below and cover the assessment expectations and arrangements, the timescales involved, quality assurance processes, results days and appeals. (Please note the feedback on these proposals will inform the final assessment process and Ofqual may choose to take forward only certain elements.)
Key proposals in the consultation:
- A student’s grade in each subject should be based on their teachers’ assessment of the standard at which they are performing.
- The grade recommended should be evidence-based and that evidence will need to be retained for exam board sampling.
- The final assessment should be informed by a breadth / combination of evidence, but there may be limits on what schools can use to inform their judgements.
- To account for time missed as a result of the pandemic, assessment should focus on the content students have covered (but there will be a minimum proportion of the overall subject content that will need to
- Exam boards should provide a set of papers (either compulsory or optional) to support teachers in assessing their students’ work; these will be marked by teachers.
- Non-exam assessment should be taken into account in the final assessment.
- Final assessment should be made towards the end of the academic year, at about the time students would have taken their exams and will involve internal standardisation and moderation.
- Grades would be submitted to the exam boards by mid-June and results would be issued to students in early July, after the exam board had undertaken quality insurance (including sampling of work).
- Students would not be told the grade their school has submitted before results day.
- Students would be able to appeal but a grade would only be changed if it is found not to represent a reasonable assessment.
- A-level students would be informed of their results before universities (to allow for an appeal process) to support fairer admissions decisions.
We are currently reviewing the consultation document and planning a number of scenarios on how best to ensure that students have as much teaching time as possible with the opportunity to sit assessments that demonstrate their understanding and knowledge. There will be a new assessment schedule for students but the timeline will be dictated by when students come back to school and the outcome of the consultation.
My message to Year 13 and Year 11 students is the same as in my letter sent on 15th January:
‘The key message to all students sitting exams is that you need to attend your online lessons, actively engage and ensure the work produced is of the best of your ability. It is the responsibility of students to show resilience and do the work set. The blunt fact is that if teachers do not have the evidence to support a grade judgement then what you get in the summer will reflect that and will have consequences for your future progression.’
To help us review our online provision please can you complete the Google survey that was sent out last Friday. The deadline for this has been extended to Wednesday 20th January.
Once Ofqual publishes its final decisions on the process for assessment we will, of course, keep you informed of the outcome and next steps. This will include further specific guidance from the exam boards on particular subject expectations.