Responding to Ofqual’s consultation
on arrangements for assessing GCSEs, A-levels and other qualifications in summer 2021, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:
“Ofqual’s consultation sets out sensible options for assessing this summer’s GCSEs and A-levels following the cancellation of exams.
“However, there are a number of important questions to be resolved, particularly around exactly how externally-set papers taken in the summer term will provide fairness and consistency for students whose learning has been disrupted by the pandemic to greatly varying extents.
“We can see how a set of papers with flexibility for teachers over the choice of topics on which their students could answer questions might achieve these objectives.
“However, these papers will need to be exceptionally well designed, and this will be a huge challenge given that time is short and nothing like this has been attempted before.
“The proposals avoid the pitfalls of last summer by jettisoning any notion of trying to standardise grades by using an algorithm.
“However, this will mean that the support and guidance provided to schools and colleges, and the quality assurance processes, will need to be clear and logical in order to ensure that there is consistency in how grades are awarded.
“All of this adds up to a huge and complex task for the exam boards and we would be very happy to support them in this vital work.
“We will respond in detail to the consultation in due course.”