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Free 'Ask the Expert' Webinar on Teacher Assessed Grades - Summer 2021

Monday 22 March 2021

The Government announced earlier this year that Summer 2021 exams have been cancelled and will be replaced by teacher assessed grades.

Schools and colleges have been given flexibility in deciding how to collect evidence of a child’s performance to help them make their assessment. They will be assessing against a national standard defined by the exam boards. This approach is intended to ensure a fairer system for all children and acknowledges that there has been a wide variation in the amount and type of learning that has been available over the last year.

How are the BDA supporting parents?

The helpline team have produced a factsheet for parents giving answers to the most frequently asked questions.

There will be a free webinar for Parents on Friday 9 April at 7pm where there will be the chance to put individual questions to our panel of experts.

Ahead of the session, please read the following carefully.

  • Join no later than 6.55pm so the session can start promptly at 7pm.
  • Select the mute option for your microphone.
  • If you don't have Teams already downloaded and the link opens in your web browser, choose "Join on the web instead".
  • For full functionality, if at all possible, please join on a laptop or desktop, rather than a tablet or smartphone.

If you have issues, you can find the answers here.

The helpline phone line is open each week on 0333 405 4567

  • Tuesday 10am-1pm
  • Wednesday 10am-1pm
  • Thursday 1pm-3pm

Or email your questions to:

Your questions answered:

How will a fair process be ensured?

Teacher submitted grades will be quality assured by the individual school or college using a process which has been signed off by the exam board to ensure that it is rigorous and in line with the defined national standards.

Results for individual schools and colleges will then be externally quality assured by the exam boards. This is likely to include random sampling of the evidence that has been used to determine individual grades.

Exam boards will award final grades when they are confident about the results that individual schools/colleges have submitted.

Once grades are published in August, there will be an independent appeals process for learners who do not think that their results are accurate.

Schools and colleges will be required to keep copies of all work on which a grade is based so that it is available for the internal and external quality assurance processes. It must also be available as part of the appeals process once exam results are published in August.

Exam boards have been asked to provide a package of support material for teachers to use. This will include questions and mark schemes based on past questions and some previously unpublished questions for every subject. These support materials will form part of a range of evidence teachers could use to determine the grade. Using them is optional, and it will be up to individual schools and colleges to decide what they use and how they use it.

How do I find out what my child’s school or college is doing?

Most schools and colleges are in the process of finalising decisions about the range of evidence their teachers will use to assess childrens’ grades. This process is likely to include discussions across all subject areas led by the Senior Leadership Team and endorsed by the Head.

The grading process will be highly regulated by the exam boards to ensure a national standard. Final guidance on grading will be published at the end of March and once this is available it is anticipated that schools will communicate their process to parents and children or publish their approach on their school website. It is expected that schools will share how the percentage of marks will be allocated across the different elements of classwork, coursework and formal assessments.

Parents who have specific concerns about the process are advised to talk to the individual school.

Information is still being received about the process for evidencing teacher assessed grades on vocational courses, but it is expected to follow a similar set of guidelines and process.

What will happen about Exam Access Arrangements?

Children who would normally be entitled to receive exam access arrangements will be entitled to the same arrangements, and schools and colleges should make their applications in the normal way.

The deadline for applications has been extended until 31st March, and online applications can continue to be made beyond this date to allow schools and colleges time to catch up on any backlog of applications.