Commenting as Ofqual publishes its consultation on how exam grades should be awarded this year, Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said:
“We are pleased to finally see the publication of the consultation on arrangements for awarding qualifications this summer, but almost two weeks have already passed since the announcement that exams are cancelled. Students, parents and teachers need to know quickly what will influence their final grades to prepare effectively and to maintain high levels of motivation and engagement in learning.
“Our members are clear that they want to maximise learning time and ensure the learning experience given to all students will help them prepare for their next steps. To allow for this, final assessments must take place as late as possible in the summer term, in June when exams were due to take place, and over a period of time which does not put unreasonable pressure onto students.
“The idea of externally set assessments could be of significant benefit. The evidence base which schools and colleges have to assess students is much smaller than last year. The current Year 11 and Year 13 have had significant disruption across both years of their courses and they have had a maximum of 15 weeks face to face teaching since March 2020. But it is absolutely vital that teachers are given the flexibility to adapt these assessments to assess students on what they have been taught; a one size test will not fit all.
“We are concerned about the proposed processes for appeals. The suggestion that initial appeals are made directly to the school or college is misguided in principle, and logistically very problematic.
“Whatever process is finally put in place by Ofqual, it needs to withstand the worst-case scenario that all students are not back in school or college for face to face teaching after February half term.”
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