'We need to talk about our over-reliance on terminal exams'

As GCSE and A level grading returns to “normal”, we must now have a conversation about our over-reliance on end-of-course examinations, it was said this week.

School leaders have welcomed plans to return to pre-pandemic grading standards while ensuring some safeguards for next summer’s exams.

However, there is concern about the problems GCSE and A level students may face should there be further Covid waves this winter and spring and subsequent disruption to teaching.

Furthermore, the government has launched a consultation over making the terminal examinations system more “resilient” in the face of problems such as Covid.

Summer 2023

Exams watchdog Ofqual has confirmed a number of safeguards for summer 2023. Notably, senior examiners will use the grades achieved by previous cohorts as well as prior attainment data to inform grade boundary decisions. This approach worked well in 2017 when it was employed to protect the first cohorts taking the reformed GCSE and A levels.

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