NSN Director responds to 2021 exam plans

Responding to the news that 2021 students will receive teacher awarded grades Unity Howard, Director of the New Schools Network, said:

“Given the cancellation of exams – and the significant issues students, schools, and universities faced last year – it is no surprise teachers are being asked to award grades. While this is the most palatable solution within the parameters laid out by the Prime Minister after cancelling exams, the amount of flexibility for schools to adopt different approaches to awarding grades comes with significant trade-offs. These plans do not protect against grade inflation, and the guidance provided today regarding benchmarks and quality assurance will be inconsistent between schools.

"Teachers have been working beyond capacity over the course of the past year and the schools we spoke to during the consultation period feared they would be overwhelmed with appeals. It is right that exam boards will be giving support to schools in awarding grades. We welcome a quality assurance process, but it is not clear that these plans will mitigate against mass appeals to teachers and headteachers directly from parents and students unhappy with their results.

"Exam results are critically important to students life chances, but the support they receive at their next destination will be even more crucial to ensure that young people will be able to develop the learning, knowledge and skills they have missed this year.

"It is clear that exams remain the fairest way to assess student outcomes, and we urge policymakers to develop a strategy and plan to guarantee these will go ahead in 2022.”

News type