GCSE and A-level exams this year

The government’s consultation suggests, as a default position, that grades awarded to GCSE and A-level students this year should reflect their actual knowledge and performance, rather than ‘what they would have achieved in normal circumstances’. This is reasonable as exam grades are intended to be a measure of actual competence rather than potential.

However, if we believe that (many or most) students will perform less well than they would have done in a ‘normal year’ because of the disruption to their learning, then we are condemning this cohort, on average, to lower grades than other cohorts if we assess their actual performance.

This is a very obvious problem and I am not the first or only person to have thought about it. I do not want to claim any credit; I just want it, and possible solutions, to be discussed widely.




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