Making The Grade: Determining GCSE and A Level results in 2021 with Simon Lebus

In many subjects, it all hinges on the final exam. Many see them as the culmination of 2 or 3 years worth of study. And, of course, they are often source of great anxiety and often huge relief when they’re finished. However, just like last year, the class of 2021 will not be sitting these terminal exams. This leaves a rather significant question; just how will these students get a grade to move on to their next step?

This week we’re looking at how students will be awarded their grades in GCSE, AS and A Level courses; following the decision to cancel exams. 

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Nathan McGurl, founder of The Study Buddy, is joined by Simon Lebus, the Chief Executive of Ofqual. Simon became the interim Chief Regulator of Ofqual on 1 January 2021. He has a wealth of experience in education technology and curriculum delivery, most notably as a former Chief Executive of Cambridge Assessment. Cambridge Assessment deliver, amongst other things, GCSEs, AS and A levels and iGCSE qualifications around the world.

In January, Gavin Williamson – the Education Secretary – announced that exams wouldn’t take place for GCSE and A Level students in England this year. Shortly after, Ofqual launched a consultation paper, jointly with the Department for Education. They invitied opinions as to what the alternative arrangements might be. This is quite a divisive topic. We can only imagine the variety that might have come from the more than 100,000 responses. However, Ofqual confirmed the arrangements for this year’s exams at the end of February.

In this episode, we take a look at the alternative arrangements for awarding students their grades. Simon explains the reasoning behind the decision and exactly why teachers are best placed to make the assessment. We also touch on the appeals process and how it might apply.