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Assessments: Teachers

Department for Education written question – answered on 25th March 2020.

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Photo of Emma Hardy Emma Hardy Labour, Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that teacher assessments that will potentially replace exams are fair and impartial.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

On 18 March, the Government announced the cancellation of all exams and assessments due to take place in schools and colleges in England this summer, as part of the fight to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Our priority is to ensure that students can move on as planned to the next stage of their lives, including starting university, college or sixth form, a job or an apprenticeship in the autumn. For GCSE, AS and A-level students, we will make sure they are awarded a grade which reflects their work. A calculated grade will be awarded this summer based on a range of the best available evidence, including any non-exam assessment that students have already completed. The independent qualifications regulator, Ofqual, is working urgently with the exam boards and teacher representatives to set out proposals for how these arrangements will work and will be talking to teachers’ representatives before finalising an approach, to ensure that the approach taken is as fair as possible.

There is a very wide range of different vocational and technical qualifications as well as other academic qualifications for which students were expecting to sit exams this summer. These are offered by a large number of awarding organisations, and have differing assessment approaches – in many cases students will already have completed modules or non-exam assessment which could provide evidence to award a grade. We are encouraging these organisations to show flexibility and pragmatism to ensure students are not disadvantaged. Ofqual is working urgently with the sector to explore options and we will work with them to provide more details shortly.

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