I hope this letter finds you and your family well. Undoubtedly you will have read in the national newspapers that the summer examinations for Year 11 and Year 13 have been cancelled for this year. It is extremely important that you also know that the Department for Education and Ofqual are currently consulting with the profession on the best method to decide grades. The final method of grading has yet to be confirmed.
Whilst it has been reported that the judgement will be at the teacher’s discretion, known as teacher assessment, it is highly likely that academies and schools will be asked to provide evidence to exam boards when deciding on a grade. Much of the consultation points to the fact that there will be mini tests, required to be carried out in school to assist teachers in arriving at a suitable grade. This process means that exam boards may well release the questions that were previously meant for full exam papers enabling teachers to match the question topics with the content that has been taught. This is positive for three reasons. Firstly, it provides a national standard question base of unseen questions, whereas schools largely use past paper questions to assess. Secondly it enables schools to compare responses to other students and schools to moderate the grading process and finally, only the content we have covered will be assessed, students will not be assessed in content that they have not been taught.
The exact manner in which these ‘mini tests’ will need to be conducted, either in exam conditions or in classrooms, has yet to be decided. It is however, very clear that students must be absolutely clear grades will be based on work completed previously and from this point onward and that this evidence will be combined with the best of the teacher’s knowledge of the course, syllabus and work complete so far to arrive at a final judgement. Our staff will work tirelessly to ensure no student is disadvantaged but must continue to work within the national standards that are provided to us. There will absolutely be a deadline date in June or July and if gaps in work exist we will only be able to arrive at a grade based on the work that is presented at that point.
I understand that this can be a very confusing and worrying time for students, parents and carers please rest assured no one piece of evidence will carry excessive weight, particularly if it is significantly out of line with other performances, and we will take into account the improvements that students typically make in the final lead up to examinations. Students will be entered at their potential, based on the full base of evidence completed. In summary this means that, to ensure all students achieve the grades that they deserve, engagement and ‘attendance’ online is paramount alongside the completion of the work provided, right up until June or July when the deadline is agreed.
In partnership with parents and carers, we must continue to ensure that all students are online in Google Classrooms daily using their Chromebooks (in Year 11) provided to them as a priority so that they are all able to access delivery. Students have been remarkable and shown an incredible resilience, now in a time of uncertainty, they have all the tools they need to succeed. Stay focussed, stay motivated and we will do the rest.
Mr W Monk