A level exam results and government competence?

Government has belatedly submitted to pressure and now done what Scotland had eventually done, i.e. use teacher assessments as the achieved grades of students.  This is an exceptional year and is the fairest way for the students. Universities and employers are perfectly capable of assessing students on this basis and then return to normal next year.

Government has made two huge errors. First, using a computer algorithm that could not take account of the exceptional circumstances and is wrongly geared to the overall system rather than fairness to each student.  Second, they fail to understand that teachers know their students and their assessments were based on mock exams, a students’ previous performance and a students’ current circumstances.

It has been suggested that the teams of examiners who would have marked and moderated students’ exam papers should have been used to moderate the teacher’s assessments, thereby focusing on the individuals, not the system as a whole.

Liberal Democrats believe it is time for government to realise that tests and examinations should be for the learning and progression of students, not the overall performance of schools. They form only part of the assessment process. External moderation should be used as part of a system of checks and balances, not the determinant of each student’s future progress in life.

Nigel Jones

17 August 2020

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