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Teacher assessments to replace GCSE and A-level exams in England this summer

England’s Education Secretary Gavin Williamson confirmed the exams would be cancelled.

LAST UPDATE | Jan 6th 2021, 2:03 PM

THIS YEAR’S GCSE, AS and A-level exams in England will be cancelled and replaced by school assessments, the Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has confirmed.

Williamson told MPs that the British government will put its “trust in teachers, rather than algorithms”.

The Education Secretary said that exams are the “fairest way” of assessing what a student knows, but said the impact of the pandemic meant it was not possible to hold exams in the summer.

His comments in the House of Commons came after the British government announced that schools and colleges in England would be closed until mid-February amid the new national lockdown.

The grading of GCSE and A-level students in England became a fiasco last summer when end-of-year exams were cancelled amid school closures.

Thousands of A-level students had their results downgraded from school estimates by a controversial algorithm, before Ofqual announced a U-turn, allowing them to use teachers’ predictions.

Speaking today, Williamson said he wishes to use a form of teacher-assessed grades to award results rather than an algorithm.

This morning, the Department for Education said it recognises this is “an anxious time for students who have been working hard towards their exams”.

In a televised address on Monday announcing England’s third national lockdown, Boris Johnson acknowledged that shutting schools meant “it’s not possible or fair for all exams to go ahead this summer, as normal”.

Press Association
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