Burden Of Proof: Evidence in teacher assessed grades

In any normal year, the GCSE and A Level exam period would be starting about now. But, there’s scarcely any need to point out that this isn’t a normal year! You might be forgiven for thinking that in the absence of exams there would be less pressure and a distinct lack of need to revise. However, across the country – but to varying degrees – schools are rolling out assessments in a bid to secure much-needed evidence for grades. So just was is it about the cancelled exams that is giving rise to the need to test?

This week we’re looking at the grade awarding process for 2021, with the head of the organisation that helped to shape the process.

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Nathan McGurl is joined by Dr Philip Wright. Philip is the Director-General of the Joint Council for Qualifications. JCQ is a membership organisation comprising the eight largest UK qualification providers. Philip has over 20 years of experience working in public and regulatory affairs largely in the life sciences sectors; including leading educational outreach and activities in a number of different organisations.

We know that exams are cancelled and there are no externally set and moderated assessments. However, many students seem to be finding themselves faced with a fresh round of “mocks”; as teachers hurriedly gather the materials needed to support their grade judgements. In particular a significant number of parents – and perhaps some teachers too – seem to be at a bit of a loss as to exactly what is happening and what constitutes evidence.

In this episode, we explore the role of teacher judgement and the inherent difficulties that arise across the country in determining consistent grades. We look at the role of evidence in the process and some of the nuances in selecting it.