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NI qualifications body ‘will support teachers assessing grades’

GCSE, AS and A-level results will be awarded using teacher professional assessment, with moderation, due to pandemic restrictions on holding exams.

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Northern Ireland’s qualifications body is committed to providing as much support as possible to teachers assessing grades (David Jones/PA)

Northern Ireland’s qualifications body is committed to providing as much support as possible to teachers assessing grades (David Jones/PA)

Northern Ireland’s qualifications body is committed to providing as much support as possible to teachers assessing grades (David Jones/PA)

Northern Ireland’s exams body has said it wants to provide as much support as possible to teachers assessing grades.

GCSE, AS and A-level results will be awarded using educators’ professional assessment, with moderation, due to pandemic restrictions on holding tests.

In determining these grades a five-step awarding process will be followed.

A spokesperson for the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) said: “The knowledge, expertise and professionalism of teachers and school leaders are key to the success of this process.

We are grateful for the commitment, hard work and collaboration across the education community to ensure that our students are able to progress onto the next stage of their journeyCouncil for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment

“CCEA recognises the burden of responsibility that this task places on to teachers and is committed to providing as much support and guidance as possible so that they can work with confidence to arrive at grades that reflect their student’s knowledge this year.

“We are grateful for the commitment, hard work and collaboration across the education community to ensure that our students are able to progress onto the next stage of their journey.”

An algorithm will not be used to predict student grades this summer.

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All GCSE, AS and A-level tests have again been cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Schools, pupils and parents protested when the statistical algorithm used to standardise results reduced more than a third of A-level grades predicted by teachers last year.

It was subsequently scrapped.

CCEA has sent schools a broad range of evidence to support centres in making judgments.

An independent report by Deloitte has said CCEA and the Department of Education “adopted a professional approach to the unprecedented task at hand” last summer.

It concluded more could have been done to manage expectations and officials could have raised awareness that standardisation was a normal process.

Stormont Education Minister Peter Weir recently told the Assembly that he believed exams are the “fairest and most robust method” for awarding qualifications and was disappointed these could not be held again this year.

He said ensuring fairness to pupils is his priority and added lessons had been learned from last year.

Mr Weir emphasised that these assessments are not exams and will not be treated as such.

“The assessment resources can be used alongside a range of evidence and the emphasis should be on a broad portfolio of evidence, not a single source,” he previously said.

The CCEA will also carry out an external quality assurance process looking at the grades submitted by all schools and colleges throughout June.

The Education Minister has confirmed that students will receive CCEA AS and A-level results on August 10 2021 followed by the release of GCSE results on August 12 2021.

Mr Weir has also announced he will put in place indemnity arrangements to protect schools from potential legal challenges.

PA


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