Voice Official Response: Exceptional arrangements for exam grading and assessment in 2020
Background: The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has led to the closure of schools and colleges to all except the children of critical workers and vulnerable children, and to the cancellation of exams. In line with government policy, Ofqual is working to enable students nevertheless to receive qualification grades. In this consultation Ofqual sought views on a number of features of the exceptional arrangements for awarding GCSEs, AS and A levels in 2020.
Summary: It is clear that we are in exceptional circumstances and are considering a system which is less than that we would have expected to use. Therefore, the approach Voice has used in considering these questions is to focus on whether the proposed solutions expose schools and other centres, teachers and education staff, and the candidates themselves to unacceptable risk which might lead to them suffering detriment in some way.
Things we want to particularly focus on are ways of insulating staff from any accusations of falsification of grades – especially if there is a paucity of evidence through no fault of the teacher, or indeed from additional pressures from candidates and their parents, or from colleagues within the school to over-inflate grades for some reason.
With these key considerations in our mind, Voice believes that it is right and proper to use the normal processes within schools as much as possible and therefore we support the proposal to use centre assessed grades and student rank order, together with a robust standardisation process to produced calculated student grades this year.