It seems hard to believe many of the things that have changed recently, and one of the major changes has been the decision to cancel exams this summer but, what does that really mean for young people hoping to move on to Further and Higher Education or into jobs and apprenticeships?
Taking exams is, in many ways, just a stepping-stone to the next part of your future.
Remember KS2 SATs? Remember all the testing and practicing leading up to these ‘very important tests’? They seemed critical to the future at the time but, in reality, they were just a step towards the next stage of the journey. Looking back, it’s hard to remember why such a fuss was made of them!
This is true to a certain extent with GCSEs and A Levels – they allow you to access the next part of the process either college, apprenticeships, jobs or University. Schools and colleges will be doing their very best to ensure you get the fair grade that reflects ALL the work you have put in during your school life, not just your mock exam results. Everyone (you, teachers, employers, lecturers, - even parents) know that mock exams are only a means for checking where you are.
Mock exams also allow you find out where you have gaps in your knowledge and gives you time to learn these aspects before the real exam. It’s a helpful benchmark to measure your progress between now, and the exam, and can help you evaluate how far you have to go to achieve your target grades and whether your current revision techniques are working for you.
They are not and were never intended to be the final outcome grade which is why the DfE want to grade students based on a ‘range of evidence’ including ‘non exam assessment’
In September it will be the future learning that’s important and how you are ready to take on the next challenge, be it education or employment. It’s about moving on and, not what grade you got to get there.
It’s important to know that, if you are anxious or concerned about the next steps we are here to help, advise and support.
Exams and Ofqual
The exam regulator, Ofqual, and exam boards will work with teachers to provide grades to students whose exams have been cancelled this summer, following our actions to slow the spread of coronavirus. To produce this, teachers will take into account a range of evidence and data including performance on mock exams and non-exam assessment
This means that grades will be determined taking many different things into account so teachers who know you will work with Ofqual to provide information about lots of your academic achievements (not just mock exam results). The exam boards will then combine this information with other relevant data, including prior attainment, and use this information to produce a calculated grade for each student, which will be a best assessment of the work they have put in. This means they will look at assessments and attainment through your school life and will reflect the overall work you have put in.
The Government’s priority is now to ensure affected students can move on as planned to the next stage of their lives, including going into employment, starting university, college or sixth form courses, or an apprenticeship in the autumn. This means ensuring GCSE, A and AS level students are awarded a grade which fairly reflects the work that they have put in. There will also be an option to sit an exam early in the next academic year for students who wish to.
The Government, colleges and universities all want to help move you on to the next stage, to study or work in your chosen field and will award grades reflecting all the work you have put in over the course of your study. Remember ‘prior attainment’ will form part of the grade so all the work you’ve done in the past will count towards it.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:
“I have asked exam boards to work closely with the teachers who know their pupils best to ensure their hard work and dedication is rewarded and fairly recognised”.
Follow the link below to find out more about exam grades...
Preparing for your Future
There’s lots of talk about celebrating with parties, gatherings, family and good times at the end of this but how can you prepare for your actual future – college, jobs, apprenticeships, university?
Some of that is out of your hands in the short term but, rest assured, schools, colleges, employers are all doing their best to ensure your future plans stay on track. They want you to succeed and achieve your dreams so how can you prepare for that?
One way is to try and get ready for September. This could mean researching apprenticeship schemes
or looking at job specifications for things you’re interested in or preparing for the next level of education.
Learning at the next level often involves independent learning so why not start now? Be ready for the course you want to do in September. Why not spend some time each day studying for the subjects you want to take at A level? Check out resources online, for example
Or if you are going to University, check out you course specification via the website of the University of your choice and do some research around the subject
This link, for example is for a Law degree at Southampton University.
We can be proactive and be prepared for life after Covid!