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Assessments and tests ‘are fairest way to grade pupils’

Anna Davis
·1-min read
<p>A consultation on how to award students grades this summer is under way after exams were scrapped</p> (PA)

A consultation on how to award students grades this summer is under way after exams were scrapped

(PA)

There is no completely fair way of replacing GCSE and A-level exams this year and students are in an “incredibly horrible situation”, an education expert warned today.

Dr Tina Isaacs, honorary associate professor in educational assessment at UCL’s Institute of Education, said the current proposal of teacher assessment, mini tests and coursework to replace exams is the “fairest” system possible in the circumstances, but some students will still miss out.

A consultation on how to award students grades this summer is under way after exams were scrapped. It is the second year running that exams have been cancelled because of the pandemic.

Last year GCSE and A-level results were mired in chaos after a discredited algorithm was used to work out grades. After a government U-turn grades were recalculated based on teacher assessments only.

This year it is proposed that teachers provide grades, using evidence which could include short tests set by exam boards and marked by teachers.

Other evidence that could be used for teachers to base their grades on includes coursework, essays, tests and homework. Dr Isaacs told the Evening Standard: “There is no system that can be absolutely fair to every individual because learning loss has been so uneven across the population.

“It’s not just regional, it’s school to school, college to college and child to child. Who has been isolating, and whose bubble has been sent home?”

Dr Isaacs believes now is the time to overhaul the whole exam system for good, so that teacher assessment will be used to determine final grades even when the pandemic is over.

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