How will 2021 exams be assessed?

Categorised in: Insights | Posted on: 6 January 2021

On 4 January the UK entered its third national lockdown. With all schools closed, what does this mean for 2021 exams?

What we know

Both primary and secondary schools reopen on Monday 8 March. Shielding students have been asked to remain at home a little longer.

Due to the school closures GCSE and A level 2021 exams have been cancelled. At the time of writing, BTEC exams will still go ahead as planned, but only where schools judge it is right to do so.

Primary school Year 6 Sats have been cancelled.

Will 2021 exams still be assessed?

Yes. The DfE in conjunction with Ofqual have asked teachers to assess grades.

“We’re going to put our trust in teachers rather than algorithms”, the Education Secretary said.

How will GCSE and A level 2021 exams be assessed?

A teacher-based assessment will determine students’ GCSE and A level grades this summer. England has follow Wales and Scotland’s lead who are carrying out internal, teacher-based assessments.

Teachers’ judgements will be based on a range of evidence relating to the content they have delivered, either in the classroom or online. This might include work that student’s have already completed, as well as mock exam results, homework or in-class tests. Teachers may also use questions from exam boards, largely based on past papers.

Results for AS and A levels come out on 10 August, and GCSEs on 12 August.

International GCSE (iGCSE) exams have been cancelled in the UK. However, they are still going ahead abroad. International students are advised to contact their school and examination boards directly for clarification. (Oxford AQA, Cambridge Assessment and Edexcel). The iGCSEs are independent of Ofqual and different guidelines may apply.

Results for iGCSEs come out on 12 August.

Similarly, International Baccalaureate (IB) and Pre-U students should contact their schools directly for clarification on the summer exams. The most recent updates can be found on the IB website as well as the Pre-U website.

Ib results come out on 5 July and Pre-U results come out 18 August.

How will entrance exams be assessed?

Many independent schools have already made changes to their entrance exams this year. We highly recommend discussing the latest update directly with schools for more information.

13+ Common Entrance exams are assessed by the Independent Schools Examination Board (ISEB), which is independent of Ofqual. The ISEB has not yet said whether the exams will still go ahead as planned. 

What we advise

We recommend that students keep studying in line with their current courses. Students will take teacher-based assessments. It’s important to keep up to date with school work as normal. Stay tuned, we’ll keep you posted!

Lucy Cawkwell, Founder & Managing Director

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