TEENS look set for a record haul of GCSEs and A levels this year — as officials abandon trying to control soaring grades.
Normal exams are being ditched due to the pandemic and teachers will decide what results their students get, ministers have confirmed.
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Teens look set for a record haul of GCSEs and A levels this yearCredit: PA:Press Association
Normal exams are being ditched due to the pandemicCredit: Getty – Contributor
Marks will not be pegged to previous years, meaning grade inflation could run wild as teachers tend to be generous markers.
But it comes as a government report reveals kids in every year have fallen hugely behind in maths and English during lockdown.
Ministers are desperate to avoid a repeat of last year’s botched computer algorithm disaster, which saw a massive public outcry over the unfairly-low marks given out.
All results had to be scrapped and higher teacher grades were awarded instead.
Now teachers can decide to make their pupils sit “mini exams” in the classroom to help them decide their marks, alongside coursework and ongoing assessments.
These mini tests can only cover topics pupils have studied, in recognition of the fact many will have massive holes in their learning.
They will not be checked by outside moderators and schools must submit their results by June 18.
Results day is being brought forward to the week of August 9, so kids have longer to appeal grades before university begins.
Schools, college bosses and exam boards will carry out checks in a bid to make sure results are fair.
But they will not be cracking down on grade inflation.
Education Secretary Gavin 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.
Gavin Williamson said teachers would be trusted in the coming summer testing periodCredit: PA:Press Association
The grading system will officially be announced tomorrowCredit: Alamy
“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.”
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.
Teaching unions welcomed the plans, saying “it is right” that teachers decide exam grades.
It comes as a Department for Education survey laid bare the devastating impact school shutdowns have had on children’s studies.
Pupils in England were around two months behind in reading and three months in maths by the end of October last year, it found.
And researchers said the problem will have got far worse since then as schools have been shut again since January.
Boris Johnson said helping children catch up is his ‘number one priority’Credit: AFP or licensors
Professor Jonathan Van Tam says it is time for Zoom lessons to be ditchedCredit: Rex Features
Natalie Perera, boss of the Education Policy Institute, which carried out the study, warned its findings could be just the tip of the iceberg.
She said: “These new findings show considerable losses in pupil progress were already evident by the first half of the autumn term.
“Pupils all saw their academic progress penalised by the pandemic. Since then, pupils have faced further disruption as a result of this period of school closures.
“While teachers, parents and pupils have been going to great lengths to adapt to remote learning, the real concern now is that these learning losses could increase.”
The report says that pupils in Year 6 and Year 9 are worst hit, and are already two months behind.
The picture is even worse for maths. On average, primary school pupils are behind on their arithmetic by 3.2 months.
ZOOM LESSONS TO BE DITCHED
The study, based on more than a million school assessments, goes up until last year’s October half term.
Speaking on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, he reassured anxious parents that the UK’s jabs programme should stop a school Covid spike.
He said: “Because we are taking out, at the line of fire, those older people in households through the vaccine programme, we probably won’t see the same kind of impact from opening schools that we probably would have seen.
“We’re in a different space now. The welfare of children depends upon them going back to school. And I think we are in a much more optimistic place now because of the quite stunning effects, so far, of the vaccine programme.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said helping children catch up on all their lost learning is his “number one priority”.
Ministers have pledged an extra £700million to give “Generation Covid” extra tuition and help.
This includes laying on summer schools, beefing up the national tutoring programme, and putting on sports activities.
But teachers have warned it will take a decade of extra support and many billions of pounds to plug the gaping holes Covid has punched in children’s education.
The roadmap will see kids return to schools in England on March 8
The Sun says
IN one breath, scaremongers demand we “follow the science” — then they claim pupils and teachers will walk into the jaws of death when schools reopen on March 8.
You cannot hold both positions. Not when the scientists insist school is safe.
Chief medic Chris Whitty considers the risk to kids “incredibly low”.
His deputy Prof Jonathan Van Tam says schools “absolutely” must reopen.
There will be multiple Covid tests and masks in class.
Spring should allow for better ventilation. Vaccinations should keep older parents safe at home.
It’s less risky even than it was last year, when schools were judged “not a significant driver of infections”.
Let’s get the kids back, for their sake.