Voice Community Official Response: Consultation on how GCSE, AS and A level grades should be awarded in summer 2021
Background: Government decided that schools and colleges must close to most, to limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Through this joint consultation, Ofqual and the Department for Education wanted to hear the views of students who were due to take their exams, their parents and carers, their teachers, school and college leaders and others who have an interest, including further and higher education providers, and employers. The consultation covered general and vocational qualifications, with this document focusing on the former. Students need grades to continue to the next stage of their education or training, or into employment. Grades must reflect what a student knows, understands and can do, and they must be widely understood and respected. In place of exams in summer 2021 the Government proposes that a student’s grade in a subject will be based on their teacher’s assessment of the standard at which they are performing.
Voice Community welcomed the opportunity to engage with the Department for Education and Ofqual to consider the exams and assessment season of 2021.
In order that this assessment process be as robust as possible, we are in favour of the proposals to provide support to schools in the forms of additional exam-style questions and mark schemes, but we do not think that students should necessarily have to sit an exam, as this would mean coming onto a school or college site unnecessarily for students, teachers, support staff and invigilators – posing an increased risk of infection.
We do think that all work produced for the purposes of the course can be considered to form part of the assessment but that it does not have to. Nor should there have to be a minimum proportion of the course covered by assessment since this could discriminate against those most severely impacted by COVID-19.
Voice Community has always promoted teacher assessment and is pleased that this will play a major component of the awarding process, however we are clear that this is not a predicted grade, nor a calculated grade. Teacher assessment of the work that students have done will be supplied to the exam board only as an indication of performance. It will be for the exam board to issue any and all final grades.
Read Consultation on how GCSE, AS and A level grades should be awarded in summer 2021: The approach to awarding GCSE, AS and A level grades in 2021 following the cancellation of exams.