NEXT YEAR’S A-Levels and GCSEs will be EASIER to help pupils who have been disrupted by Covid.
Exams in 2022 will be significantly watered down because of students’ loss of learning time, Ofqual boss Simon Lebus said yesterday.
Students sitting exams in 2022 will face easier exams
Ministers are trying to avoid last year’s exam chaos
Simon Lebus told MPs there would still need to be “adaptations” for those sitting papers in 2022 because of the disruption caused by the pandemic.
He added that the process of recovering lost learning was “going to take several years.”
Mr Lebus told the education committee: “As far as 2022 is concerned, the thinking at the moment is about adaptations along the lines that had been originally contemplated for this year when exams were still to go ahead.
“That’s based on the reality of the cohort taking exams next year will have suffered considerable disruption to their learning.”
He told MPs that students taking A-Level assessments in 2022 “will not have sat public exams before”.
Mr Lebus urged parents to give teachers the space to decide pupils’ A-level and GCSE grades so they do not feel “uncomfortable” as he insisted that teacher judgment was “pretty reliable”.
He said: “We’ve created a system which I think there are good incentives to allow teacher judgment to flourish and we’ve all got to play our part to support that.”
Mr Lebus added: “I also think it’s very important that parents give teachers the space to do it because it’s always a worry that parents get terribly involved and teachers feel uncomfortable and there’s an intrusive interest so I think that’s a really important point and I wholly agree with it.”
Before this year’s exams were cancelled, pupils were going to be warned of topics in advance and given a broader range of questions to choose from.
Pupils sitting GCSEs and A-Levels were also going to be able to take notes into the exam hall.
But now exams have been scrapped – for the second year running.
And instead of basing marks off of algorithms, the Education Secretary said he is putting “trust in teachers.”
Ministers are desperate to avoid a repeat of 2020’s botched computer algorithm disaster, which saw a massive public outcry over some unfairly low marks.
All results had to be scrapped and higher teacher grades were awarded instead.
Ofqual boss Simon Lebus said exams will need to be altered for 2022Credit: PA:Press Association
The decision on this year’s results was made as a Government report revealed kids in every year have fallen hugely behind in maths and English during lockdown.
Last year, teens received a record-breaking set of GCSE results from their teachers. The proportion of grades awarded at 7, 8 and 9 — equivalent to the old A and A* grades — rose from 21.9 per cent to 27.6 per cent.
And officials have confirmed that this year, there will be a “very robust” appeal process. Students who are unhappy can re-sit in the autumn.
Mr Williamson said: “Young people have shown incredible resilience over the last year, continuing with their learning amid unprecedented challenges while the country battles with this pandemic.
“Those efforts deserve to be fairly rewarded.
“We are putting trust in teachers. There is going to be no algorithms whatsoever, but there will be a very clear and robust appeals mechanism.”
Schools minister Nick Gibb added that parents can be “reassured” that this year’s approach to grading is the “best alternative to exams that can be devised.”
He added: “This is a system where we trust the professionalism of teachers.”
But Conservative MP Jonathan Gullis raised concerns that low expectations could see some students become “victims of grade suppression” as schools seek to avoid investigation over their marks.
GCSE and A-level results in 2021 will be decided by the teachers – using a combination of mock exams, course work and essays.
Exam boards will release grade descriptions to help them award the correct mark.
But, there are concerns this will lead to extremely high grade inflation.
Students will only be assessed on what they have been taught.
Plus, schools will be given wide flexibility in deciding how teachers assess and grade their pupils, based on those parts of the curriculum they have learnt.
Mr Williamson also revealed that there will be a £302million recovery premium in place to support struggling students.
Headteachers will be handed hundreds of millions of pounds to open classes during the six-week break for youngsters who have fallen behind with their education.
Schools reopened on March 8 – after being shut during the lockdown