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Licudi outlines education strategy for students facing exams

GCSE and A-level students will have their grades awarded through a combination of teaching assessments, assignments and mock tests after formal exams were cancelled amid the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The Minister for Education, Gilbert Licudi, said the Department of Education will now work with the senior leadership teams and subject leaders at schools to ensure that students undertaking examination courses achieve the outcomes they have been working towards and deserve.

This comes after England’s exams regulator, the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation [Ofqual], instructed teachers to provide grades for pupils which reflect “fair, objective and carefully considered” judgments of the results they believe each student would have been most likely to achieve if the exams had gone ahead.

On Friday, Ofqual said teachers’ judgments on grades should take into account a full range of evidence – including classwork, non-exam assessment, mock exams or previous results.

If grading judgments in some schools and colleges appear to be more severe or generous than others, exam boards will adjust the grades of students accordingly, the regulator has said.

Students will also have the opportunity to sit exams at the earliest opportunity in the new academic year.

Speaking at the daily 4pm press conference on Saturday, Mr Licudi said: “We are also conscious that students in years 11 and 13, the GCSE and A level years, will have been anxious about their exams.” 

“The UK examination boards cancelled their exams for this year and this has led to uncertainty as to how students undertaking examination courses are to be awarded their qualifications.”

“We now have greater clarity on this as a result of a statement issued yesterday by the exams’ regulator Ofqual.” 

“In their statement they say, and I quote: “For this summer’s awards, schools and colleges are being asked to provide centre assessment grades for their students.” 

“These should be fair, objective and carefully considered judgments of the grades schools and colleges believe their students would have been most likely to achieve if they had sat their exams, and should take into account the full range of evidence.”

“Ofqual adds that schools and colleges are best placed to judge the likely performance of their students at the end of the course and that what they are asking is both appropriate and manageable so that everyone can have confidence in the approach.” 

He added that a deadline of May 29, 2020, has been set for schools and colleges to send their assessment grades for every student in each of their subjects.

Judgments must be based on evidence such as classwork, bookwork, participation in performances in subjects such as music, drama or PE, non-examination assessments, results of assignments or mock exams, and other records of student performance over the course of study.

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