The government has decided to cancel GCSEs and A-levels for the second year running. Although they insisted that exams would definitely go ahead in England, the Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson confirmed they will be replaced by assessed teacher grades.
Teachers, parents and pupils in England were left dubious after the GCSE and A-level cancellation in Wales and Scotland. Many were disappointed to see England follow in their footsteps. It feels like another wasted year for many pupils but there is still hope for achieving excellent grades.
So, what’s next?
The fact of the matter is students need grades to continue onto the next stage of their education or training. These grades must be a true reflection of the student’s ability and understanding. The 2020 grade algorithm crisis caused chaos as it left thousands of students nationwide with grades 33% lower than their teacher’s assessed grade submissions. Williamson has promised that we will not be repeating last year’s approach. Using an algorithm to moderate grades has been scrapped.
In place of exams in summer 2021 student’s grades will be based on their teacher’s assessment of the level in which they are performing. If you’re reading this as a student, you should feel empowered. All is not lost; you still have control over the outcome of your grade so do not give up now.
It’s very easy to lose motivation and throw in the towel but don’t do it. The Education Secretary said that schools are required to provide three to five hours of remote teaching per day. This means all your teachers are legally required to set work so you should be in no shortage of resources. Your best bet is to put your best foot forward in every assignment you are given. This means attending zoom lessons, completely task and submitting work regularly for your teacher to mark. All of these efforts will add to the outcome of your final grade. That final grade will be a clear reflection of your efforts.
Things to start doing now:
1.Replicate your school day at home:
Keep your day structured so you are able to dedicate your full attention to your studies. Don’t waste time playing video games or browsing on social media when your supposed with be engaged in a remote lesson or completing an assignment.
2.Engage with your teachers and ask for help:
Make sure you are maintaining contact with your teachers. This could be asking them questions if there’s anything you need help with, sharing your ideas and getting their opinion on any research you have done or asking them for feedback so you can improve your work. Remember they are here to assist you – do not neglect them just because you are learning at home.
Your final grade is still very much in your hands. Think about your next steps after school and use that to motivate you. Feel empowered and apply yourself in all that you do. Some days will be tough but that excellent final grade will be worth it. You’ve got this!