Consultation: Teachers to use 'mini exams' and other evidence for GCSE, A-level 2021

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Evil Homer
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The consultation regarding A-level and GCSE grading for 2021 has been released.

As always I have tried summarising as best as I can below, but I would encourage anyone who wants to have their opinion on the proposals heard to read through and offer their view.

The main overview is:

  • Students would continue with their education during this academic year
  • Students would be assessed by their teachers in a period beginning in May into early June. This would take the form of set exam questions from the exam boards, plus any other performance evidence such as mock exams, formal tests or other candidate work
  • Teachers would submit grades to the exam boards by mid-June
  • External quality assurance by the exam boards would be ongoing throughout June
  • Results would be issued to students once the QA process is complete, most likely in early July
  • This could possibly involve decoupling from the UCAS/Higher Education Institutes decisions - meaning you may have your results but not know if you have been accepted to uni yet
  • Student appeals could be submitted immediately following the issue of results and would first be considered by schools and colleges.

You can find the full consultation here.

Ofqual Proposals for GCSE and A-level


  • Each GCSE or A level would have questions supplied by exam boards, potentially ones they have already developed. Ofqual states that exam boards should use questions that are similar in style and format to normal exam papers. This could be compulsory or optional, and the consultation asks for views on this potential option. Exam boards will also support teachers with guidance and training. They would need to use these papers or other assessment measures within a set period of time.

  • There will also be other performance evidence used, such mock exam results, formal tests and other candidate work.

  • These could be accompanied by support materials for teachers to use which would help standardise the process. These include exemplar answers where possible, guidance on how to conduct the assessment, information on other performance evidence that could be taken into account, best practice on avoiding bias and discrimination, and how teachers can consider the impact of a students performance at the time of their assessment for any events outside their control.
  • There will be exam board checks on the teacher assessment, but nothing approaching full moderation.

  • It is expected that these papers will be assessed within your school or college in a classroom setting, or at home or an alternative venue if the pandemic means that in-school assessments are not possible.

What about Private Candidates?

  • Private candidates could complete papers set by exam boards, with the exam boards marking these papers and any other completed non-exam assessment and issue a grade to the candidate.

  • Private candidates could also work with a school or college who are willing to assess them in the same way it is doing for its students

  • Exam boards could run normal exams for private candidates in summer or autumn of 2021, but venues would need to be found

  • Ofqual have not yet decided between these options


Quality Assurance

  • Schools and colleges will put into place an internal standardisation arrangement, and a procedure that heads of departments and centers would have to agree all teacher assessed grades.

  • Exam boards should verify that schools are adhering to published guidance prior to awarding of grades

  • Exam board should sample, at subject level, the evidence on which the grades were based

  • Exam boards could only change submitted grades after a review of the evidence and following discussion with that school/college


Just to be clear, Ofqual have NOT decided yet on these ideas. It is important to remember that these are just proposals at this stage, and the consultation is a period for Ofqual to hear the views of teachers, school leaders and students. The details below are not yet confirmed and could still be changed. If you want to respond to this consultation you can follow this link here. The consultation lasts two weeks.

Edit: Ofqual have published a handy overview of the consultation, if you're looking to respond but are finding it slightly intimidating - Find it here!
Last edited by StrawberryDreams; 1 month ago
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Evil Homer
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Tagging in all users who posted in our first announcment.

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jae jae
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I don’t trust the government
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Cherrygrape1234
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(Original post by Evil Homer)
The consultation regarding A-level and GCSE grading for 2021 has been released.

As always I have tried summarising as best as I can below, but I would encourage anyone who wants to have their opinion on the proposals heard to read through and offer their view.

The main overview is:

  • Students would continue with their education during this academic year
  • Students would be assessed by their teachers in a period beginning in May into early June. This would take the form of set exam questions from the exam boards, plus any other performance evidence such as mock exams, formal tests or other candidate work
  • Teachers would submit grades to the exam boards by mid-June
  • External quality assurance by the exam boards would be ongoing throughout June
  • Results would be issued to students once the QA process is complete, most likely in early July
  • This could possibly involve decoupling from the UCAS/Higher Education Institutes decisions - meaning you may have your results but not know if you have been accepted to uni yet
  • Student appeals could be submitted immediately following the issue of results and would first be considered by schools and colleges.

You can find the full consultation here.

Ofqual Proposals for GCSE and A-level


  • Each GCSE or A level would have questions supplied by exam boards, potentially ones they have already developed. Ofqual states that exam boards should use questions that are similar in style and format to normal exam papers. This could be compulsory or optional, and the consultation asks for views on this potential option. Exam boards will also support teachers with guidance and training. They would need to use these papers or other assessment measures within a set period of time.

  • There will also be other performance evidence used, such mock exam results, formal tests and other candidate work.

  • These could be accompanied by support materials for teachers to use which would help standardise the process. These include exemplar answers where possible, guidance on how to conduct the assessment, information on other performance evidence that could be taken into account, best practice on avoiding bias and discrimination, and how teachers can consider the impact of a students performance at the time of their assessment for any events outside their control.
  • There will be exam board checks on the teacher assessment, but nothing approaching full moderation.

  • It is expected that these papers will be assessed within your school or college, or at home or an alternative venue if the pandemic means that in-school assessments are not possible.

What about Private Candidates?

  • Private candidates could complete papers set by exam boards, with the exam boards marking these papers and any other completed non-exam assessment and issue a grade to the candidate.

  • Private candidates could also work with a school or college who are willing to assess them in the same way it is doing for its students

  • Exam boards could run normal exams for private candidates in summer or autumn of 2021, but venues would need to be found

  • Ofqual have not yet decided between these options


Quality Assurance

  • Schools and colleges will put into place an internal standardisation arrangement, and a procedure that heads of departments and centers would have to agree all teacher assessed grades.

  • Exam boards should verify that schools are adhering to published guidance prior to awarding of grades

  • Exam board should sample, at subject level, the evidence on which the grades were based

  • Exam boards could only change submitted grades after a review of the evidence and following discussion with that school/college


Just to be clear, Ofqual have NOT decided yet on these ideas. It is important to remember that these are just proposals at this stage, and the consultation is a period for Ofqual to hear the views of teachers, school leaders and students. The details below are not yet confirmed and could still be changed. If you want to respond to this consultation you can follow this link here. The consultation lasts two weeks so please respond quickly.
Will filling in the consultations form actually be taken into account? Will our views be heard by Ofqual depending on the majority?
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Interea
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Interesting idea about decoupling from UCAS decisions day - guess it avoids the mess of last year if appeals can be sorted beforehand.
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jackmarshal757
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At this stage I’m not listening to anything the government says until it’s said on the day
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Theloniouss
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From your description, this all sounds quite sensible, especially the early release of results (one of the huge mistakes made last year imo was keeping results day the same).
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mnot
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(Original post by jae jae)
I don’t trust the government but it is what it is 🤷*♀️
They’ve already said they are giving out inflated grades in line with last year, which means almost everyone will receive stronger grades then they would have in a normal non covid year. The inflated grading alone (which despite being utterly ridiculous imo) is reason for last year & this year’s candidates to be thanking Gavin.


The people who are being utterly shafted are the candidates who would have achieved straight A*s without grade inflation.
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Evil Homer
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#9
(Original post by Cherrygrape1234)
Will filling in the consultations form actually be taken into account? Will our views be heard by Ofqual depending on the majority?
Ofqual are asking for opinions on this.

Who knows what level of impact filling in the consultation form will achieve, but in my opinion it's better to fill it in and have your say than not bother!
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Theloniouss
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#10
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#10
(Original post by mnot)
They’ve already said they are giving out inflated grades in line with last year, which means almost everyone will receive stronger grades then they would have in a normal non covid year. The inflated grading alone (which despite being utterly ridiculous imo) is reason for last year & this year’s candidates to be thanking Gavin.


The people who are being utterly shafted are the candidates who would have achieved straight A*s without grade inflation.
I believe Gavin has since said that grades won't look like last year or previous years.
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Ten-Ten
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#11
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#11
And here I was excited to no longer have to revise and just focus on homework 😭
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mnot
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#12
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#12
(Original post by Theloniouss)
I believe Gavin has since said that grades won't look like last year or previous years.
Good.

I’ll be watching grade distributions this August
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medichope8
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#13
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#13
Wow okay I’m happy with the options they have for private candidates, hopefully exam centres aren’t as pricey after the deadline early entry deadlines
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V℮rsions
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#14
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#14
ffs man, so first they cancel exams, then they say "ah nah mate actually, we'll just do mini ones" smfh, just give me an A and 2 B's and let's get this over with...
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jae jae
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#15
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#15
(Original post by mnot)
They’ve already said they are giving out inflated grades in line with last year, which means almost everyone will receive stronger grades then they would have in a normal non covid year. The inflated grading alone (which despite being utterly ridiculous imo) is reason for last year & this year’s candidates to be thanking Gavin.


The people who are being utterly shafted are the candidates who would have achieved straight A*s without grade inflation.
I agree with you on the last paragraph.
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ilovephysmath
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#16
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#16
(Original post by mnot)
They’ve already said they are giving out inflated grades in line with last year, which means almost everyone will receive stronger grades then they would have in a normal non covid year. The inflated grading alone (which despite being utterly ridiculous imo) is reason for last year & this year’s candidates to be thanking Gavin.


The people who are being utterly shafted are the candidates who would have achieved straight A*s without grade inflation.
Indeed. Last year, there were people in my school who went from Us to Bs and from Cs to As and A*s.
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jae jae
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#17
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#17
(Original post by jae jae)
I don’t trust the government
I’m also worried that they won’t give us high grades even though gavin williamson has stated already..
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mrshayaan
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#18
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#18
ohhhhhhhhhhhhh jeremy corbyn
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Laureningliss
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#19
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#19
Does anyone know IF Ofqual decides this will happen, will previous mocks be used as a factor too ? Or will these mini exams be the only factor to consider ? xx
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Evil Homer
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#20
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#20
(Original post by Laureningliss)
Does anyone know IF Ofqual decides this will happen, will previous mocks be used as a factor too ? Or will these mini exams be the only factor to consider ? xx
Well that is up to what the consultation suggest. I think the idea is for the mini exams to be part of the range of evidence not the sole way to grade students.
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