In response to the release of the DfE document, How GCSE, AS and A level grades should be awarded in summer 2021, the first of a series of Teacher Network meetings was held in the Greater Manchester area. You can view the Teacher assessed grades for students press release on the GOV.UK website. At the Teacher Network meeting, the main points within the document were whittled down to five key points, with a particular focus on KS5. Below is a summary of these key points and the ‘good practice’ suggestions that were raised by the attending teachers:
Grades awarded on what students know, understand & can do – deadline 18th June
A number of teachers were confident that they could complete the AS and A level Mathematics content by their usual deadline. Those fortunate to have already set several reliable assessments were looking at a ‘best-case’ grade or even weighting the scores according to the level of content covered.
Teachers can use optional questions from exam boards, and mocks, tests etc
Several teachers were intending to use their main form of assessment in the summer term in the form of full or edited past papers, despite the earlier exam season.
Some were planning to create compilation papers or offer shorter topic-based tests. Some were considering only setting pure papers, whilst others suggested having smaller tests on any applied content.
Exam boards will provide guidance before Easter
The main questions were about awarding a fair grade without the means of norm-referenced tests used by the exam boards. Those with a large cohort were looking at using a 3-year average to gauge the likely grade distribution. Guidance from exam boards on setting fair grade thresholds would be most welcomed.
Schools to conduct multiple checks & exam boards random/concerns checks
This generated several interesting approaches to marking a set of test papers, with the intention of creating fairness across the department and reducing the risk of appeals:
- Each teacher marks specific questions across the department (like online marking)
- Each teacher marks one full paper across the department
- With a small cohort, a teacher marks the group and gives any borderline cases to a colleague to re-mark blind.
Several centres were looking at anonymising papers with either a detachable cover sheet or even random numbers.