The Department for Education (DfE) and Ofqual have introduced guidance for schools and colleges to support the gathering of evidence of student performance that could be used to determine grades in the unlikely event that exams are not able to go ahead as planned.
The guidance on the gathering of evidence follows an earlier consultation on proposals to build resilience in the exam system for 2023 for GCSE, A/AS Level, Project and AEA qualifications, after the DfE had announced if it becomes necessary to cancel exams, a Teacher Assessed Grade (TAG) approach would be implemented.
Teachers are not currently being asked to determine TAGs. The government is firmly committed to exams taking place saying that further information on how to determine a TAG, and on any quality assurance and appeals processes, will be provided only in the unlikely event that exams are not able to go ahead safely or fairly.
Use of existing arrangements
The guidance focuses on encouraging schools to use their existing assessment arrangements as far as possible and emphasises the need to avoid over-assessment. It does not suggest how frequently schools and colleges should assess students. Instead, it would be for schools and colleges to determine whether the evidence gathered was sufficient for them to be confident that, taken together, it would provide for an appropriate assessment of their students’ knowledge, understanding and skills. Whilst Ofqual acknowledges concerns that the guidance could require additional effort beyond existing assessment arrangements, it believes that its approach is proportionate in order to balance flexibility with consistency. Also, the guidance attempts to make clear that assessments should be based on exam board materials - such as past papers - as far as possible and that schools and colleges do not need to create their own materials.
Some improvements have been made to the original proposed guidance including: