Students begin tests amid concerns over GCSE and A level grading

Video report by ITV News Meridian's Social Affairs Correspondent Christine Alsford

Fresh concerns have been raised over how the final grades for GCSE and A level pupils in England are being decided, following the cancellation of exams because of the pandemic.

As schools finish for the Easter break on Thursday (April 1), many students will spend the holidays revising for classroom tests and assessments which will decide their final marks.

Last year's grading fiasco led to protests and a last minute government U-turn after a computer algorithm downgraded millions of results unfairly. 

This summer students will be assessed on what their schools have covered, not the parts of the syllabus they missed because of the lockdowns. 

Grades will be based solely on teacher assessment, backed up wherever possible with written work.

However, there are concerns about how consistency between schools can be achieved, when each can choose which bits of the curriculum assessments cover and how they are carried out.

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Headteacher Simon Graham said: "I think the most important thing is for schools to be robust in their evidence. Exam boards have given us guidance and as I understand it exam boards will be holding schools to account for the grades that they give to students this year."

Natalie Perera, Chief Executive, at the Education Policy Institute said: "Schools have lots of flexibility which on one hand is helpful but on the other hand could lead to a very inconsistent approach to setting grades across the country.

"That's why we are likely to see potentially many pupils being unhappy with their grades in the summer because they have been treated differently to their friends who go to a different school down the road."

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At Barton Peveril Sixth Form College at Eastleigh in Hampshire they have published details of how exactly students will be judged in every single subject. 

They are confident that government promises about robust checks will mean the system works and therefore there will not be dramatic grade inflation. 

Rob Temple, Sixth Form Vice Principal said: "The final adjudicator here is the exam boards. If results look out of line with previous years they will go in and moderate the work as appropriate, so we trust in that process. We will be squeaky clean and for most schools and colleges that is the approach they are adopting."