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NAHT welcomes pragmatic guidance on awarding of GCSE, AS and A Level grades

Today (Fri 3 Apr) Ofqual has published guidance for schools and colleges about how to provide grades for GCSE, AS and A Level students in summer 2020.

Schools and colleges are instructed to provide a grade for each student which reflects a ‘fair, reasonable and carefully considered judgement’ of their most likely grade had they ‘sat their exams this summer and completed any non-exam assessment.’

Schools and colleges are also instructed to rank students from the most, to the least secure in each grade, for each subject.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “Many schools, colleges and their students will have been anxiously awaiting this information, and whilst there is not a perfect solution, this is pragmatic and the fairest approach to take in these exceptional circumstances.

“NAHT has provided the views of school leaders during the detailed discussions and processes of creating these new arrangements and we will of course continue to work with Ofqual in the days and weeks ahead.

“Of course, this is not a seamless solution. Students will have been expecting to go through a very different process. However, their grades will now be determined by the professionals who know them best; professionals who are well-equipped to make these judgements, and we hope that gives students confidence that they are in safe hands. Where pupils are not content, appeals are possible and Autumn exams are being discussed.

“We are pleased to see that there is no requirement for teachers to set additional tasks for students; schools will have enough knowledge and evidence prior to the school closures on 20th March to make their decisions. We also welcome that there is no requirement on schools and colleges to collate or provide any evidence to awarding organisations to support their judgements, a near impossible and needless task at this time.”

Mr Whiteman continued: “The DfE will not hold schools and colleges to account on this summer’s data. This is entirely the right thing to do and helps schools and teachers to have clarity of purpose and focus their judgements on each individual student. The government will not be calculating performance tables measures, such as Progress 8, and performance tables will be frozen. Ofsted, local authorities, and academy trusts should also not be using this information to hold schools and colleges or teachers to account.

“Importantly, schools and colleges must not share their assessment grades or the rank order of students with students, or their families before final results have been issued. This will help to protect the integrity of teachers’ judgements. Since the grades students are finally awarded by the examining body could be different from those submitted, this will also help to avoid confusion.

“It will be extremely important for employers, universities and other places of work and study to play their part in supporting this year’s alternative arrangements, so that students can have confidence that their hard work will be judged correctly and valued in the same way as in previous and future years.”

Press and Media contacts:

Steven George
NAHT Head of Press and Media
01444 472886
07970 907730

Rose Tremlett 
Senior Press Officer 
07545 354363

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