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GCE A-level and GCSE: Assessments

Question for Department for Education

UIN 181465, tabled on 15 April 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that children are assessed fairly in their upcoming GCSE and A Level assessments.

Answered on

28 April 2021

Fairness to young people is fundamental to the Department and Ofqual’s decision making. We want to ensure all young people have the confidence that, despite exams not going ahead, they will receive a grade that reflects their ability and enables them to progress.

Pupils will receive grades determined by their teachers, with assessments covering what they were taught, and not what they missed. Teachers have a good understanding of their pupils’ performance and how they compare to other pupils this year and in previous years. They are best placed to undertake an assessment of the level of learning loss of individuals as they know their pupils best.

Entitlements to reasonable adjustments should be taken into account by teachers when deciding which evidence to use, with flexibility to use or discount evidence. The range of evidence can be tailored to an individual pupil according to coverage of the specification.

Teachers have been provided with grade descriptors and exemplar materials to support them in making an evidence-based judgement of the grade at which each pupil is performing. Pupils will also have multiple chances to show what they know and can do and will be able to see the evidence their teacher plans to submit for them.

Exam boards have set out clear requirements for quality assurance to centres. Every centre will need to produce a policy setting out their approach to assessment and quality assurance, and exam boards will check these. Heads of Centre will also be required to provide a formal declaration about the accuracy and integrity of the grades submitted and the processes supporting them.

Every pupil will have the safety net of the option to appeal their grade if they wish to. If a pupil believes their grade is wrong, they will be able to ask their centre to check for errors and make sure they have followed their own process correctly.