ASCL comment on confirmed changes for exams in 2021

03/08/2020
Deputy Director of Policy at the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on Ofqual’s confirmed changes to GCSEs, AS and A levels next year, Duncan Baldwin
 
Commenting on Ofqual’s confirmed changes to GCSEs, AS and A levels next year, Duncan Baldwin, Deputy Director of Policy at the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

“We remain concerned that these plans for exams in 2021 amount only to tinkering at the edges when it is clear that students could experience widespread ongoing disruption over the course of the next academic year.
 
“Everybody can see that the situation with coronavirus remains precarious. It appears to be likely that students will have to intermittently self-isolate, and that schools will be required to fully or partially close in response to local infection spikes.
 
“This makes it extremely challenging to deliver all the content for GCSEs and A-levels to all students, on top of the disruption that has already taken place to their learning.
 
“In our consultation response, we set out some measures which would have helped to make this situation more manageable, such as increased choice within exams over the questions that students can answer. We are pleased that Ofqual has decided to introduce more choice of questions in GCSE English Literature but disappointed that such approaches have not been adopted more widely.
 
“We also suggested that there should be a parallel assessment process, which could be used to inform a student’s grades in the event of them not being able to sit an exam as planned, or having missed significant parts of their learning.
 
“It is very worrying that this has also not been adopted, and we hope this decision does not come back to haunt us in the months to come.”