Due to ongoing disruptions to teaching A-Levels and GCSEs (Scottish Highers) across all countries in the UK have been scrapped, due to fears that if exams were to take place, schools would be unable to guarantee a level playing field as some students have faced more disruption than others.
The government are keen to avoid a repeat of last year’s algorithm A-Level results debacle which saw students up and down the country given lower grades than did not reflect their previous work. Education Secretary Gavin Williams declared that this year they will "trust in teachers rather than algorithms".
Teachers will make a decision on their students' grades based on “evidence of the standard at which their students are performing”. This could include a combination of in-class work, coursework, assessments, and could include exams set by teachers or external exam bodies.
Ofqual have outlined a number of proposals for assessment methods, including mini-exams marked by teachers. Teachers would be able to choose which topic their students sit in May or June, with A-Level results day moved forward to July to allow more time for appeals and disputes.
If the pandemic makes it impossible for in person exams to take place, students may be set exams at home. The format of at home exams varies; students may be given 24 hours to complete an exam paper or essay question, or may have to sit their exam over zoom with a teacher monitoring them.
Head of the ASCL head teachers’ union, Geoff Barton said the written tests would have to be "exceptionally well designed" to ensure fairness between students as "learning has been disrupted by the pandemic to greatly varying extents".
Apprenticeship providers are well aware of the current situation and are likely to take this into account when looking at applications. Lots of universities have decided to lower entry requirements as they understand the difficulties students have faced, apprenticeship providers are likely to follow suit.