Explained: How GCSEs, A-Levels And SATs Will Be Different In 2021

Sara C Nelson
·2-min read

Students taking GCSE and A-level exams next year will be awarded special measures to compensate for disruption to their schooling during the coronavirus pandemic, the education secretary has announced.

The announcement comes after the fiasco around grading of GCSE and A-level students in the summer, when exams were cancelled amid the coronavirus pandemic and school closures.

Thousands of A-level students had their results downgraded from school estimates by an algorithm, before Ofqual announced a U-turn, allowing them to use teachers’ original predictions instead.

We took a look at what the government’s latest raft of measures will mean for students.

What’s changing?

Individuals sitting exams in 2021 will have special measures to ensure they are not disadvantaged by the coronavirus pandemic (file picture) 
Individuals sitting exams in 2021 will have special measures to ensure they are not disadvantaged by the coronavirus pandemic (file picture)

The measures, set out by Gavin Williamson, include more generous grades, in line with results from summer 2020.

Students will also receive advance notice, at the end of January, of some topics ahead of tests.

Additional exams will also be run to give students a second chance to sit a paper if the main exams or assessments are missed due to illness or self-isolation, the Department for Education (DfE) said.

Students will also be given aids, such as formula sheets, in some exams to boost their confidence and reduce the amount of information they need to memorise, as part of the measures.

A new expert group will be set up to look at differential learning and to monitor the variation in the impact of the pandemic on students across the country.

But it is understood that grading changes simply based on the region you live in have been ruled out.

Sats exams in Year 6 will still go ahead – except for the grammar, punctuation and spelling test – but tests in Year 2 will be suspended for a year.

What about vulnerable and disadvantaged pupils?

Under new contingency measures, students who miss one or more exams due to self-isolation or sickness, but who have still completed a proportion of their qualification, will still receive a grade.

If a student misses all their assessments in a subject, they will have...

Continue reading on HuffPost