Students to be given grades that ‘reflect their work’ after exams cancelled by coronavirus

PUBLISHED: 15:29 20 March 2020 | UPDATED: 16:00 20 March 2020

A-level and GCSE grades are to be awarded by teachers after exams were cancelled due to coronavirus   Picture: MONKEYBUSINESSIMAGES/GETTY IMAGES/iSTOCKPHOTO

A-level and GCSE grades are to be awarded by teachers after exams were cancelled due to coronavirus Picture: MONKEYBUSINESSIMAGES/GETTY IMAGES/iSTOCKPHOTO

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GCSE and A-level students across Suffolk will be given a grade that reflects the standard of their work in the academic year in lieu of exams, the government has announced.

The news comes after the government announced exams would be cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak, while schools remain closed to all but the vulnerable and children of key workers from tonight.

Now, instead of sitting exams in May and June, students will instead be awarded a grade calculated by their teachers and exam board which “reflects their performance as fairly as possible” – while there will also be an option to sit exams in the next academic year if students wish to do so.
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A statetment from the Department for Education read: “Ofqual will develop and set out a process that will provide a calculated grade to each student which reflects their performance as fairly as possible, and will work with the exam boards to ensure this is consistently applied for all students.

“The exam boards will be asking teachers, who know their students well, to submit their judgement about the grade that they believe the student would have received if exams had gone ahead.

“The aim is to provide these calculated grades to students before the end of July. In terms of a permanent record, the grades will be indistinguishable from those provided in other years.”

The grades will be calculated using mock exam results and non-exam assessments in addition to other data.

Nansi Allis, assistant general secretary of the National Education Union (NEU), said she believed teacher-assessed grades to be “reliable and valid”.

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It is said the 2020 exam series will not be used to judge school performance, and universities are expected to be “flexible” for students trying to enter higher education.

Education secretary Gavin Williamson said he hopes teachers and exam boards will ensure students’ hard work is rewarded and “fairly recognised”.

Mr Williamson said: “Cancelling exams is something no education secretary would ever want to do. However, these are extraordinary times and this measure is a vital but unprecedented step in the country’s efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus.

“My priority now is to ensure that no young person faces a barrier when it comes to moving on to the next stage of their lives – whether that’s further or higher education, an apprenticeship or a job.”

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