U.K. Teachers to Assess Pupils’ Grades Without Need for Exams

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U.K. teachers will be asked to determine what grades 16- and 18-year-olds will be awarded this summer after the country’s third lockdown curtailed in-class schooling for a second year.

While the pupils in those age groups won’t take the GCSE and A-Level exams they’d normally sit, teachers will be asked to award them marks based on coursework, mock exams and questions set by exam boards, the Department for Education said Thursday in a statement. Students studying for vocational and technical qualifications will also be graded by their teachers.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson is trying to avoid a repeat of last year’s exam chaos, when a controversial algorithm downgraded thousands of A-level results, causing anger among teenagers who were counting on the grades to secure university places. Ministers were forced into a U-turn and students were eventually graded by their teachers -- after it was already too late for some to get into their chosen university.

The department emphasized that “no algorithm will be used” this year. Teachers will have to submit grades by June 18, “allowing as much teaching time as possible before teachers make their assessments,” according to the statement. Results will be announced in the week of Aug. 9 -- two weeks earlier than previously planned, in order to allow more time for appeals.

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