With the recent cancellation of GCSE and A level exams due to the unforeseen lockdown announced by Boris Johnson a week ago, many secondary school pupils were left abandoned with fear of how this would affect their future. The Education Secretary confirmed that there would be no return of last years disastrous algorithm method which had previously resulted in a humiliating Government U-turn. Bearing this in mind, some form of assessment had to be introduced and along came the notorious teacher assessment grading system. 


The key question that is on many peoples mind is: What is the teacher assessment grading system and how does it work? 


Just as it sounds, the teacher assessment grade is an assessment of a pupils progress from a teachers perspective. Essentially, these are grades are not heavily based on exams but rather on what a teacher believes you would have been able to achieve. For example, if throughout year 10 and year 11 up to Christmas a student had been scoring grade 6s, the teacher might think if this student is getting 6s now, with a few months in hand before the actual GCSE the student would have scored an 8. Likewise, if a student had been scoring grade 6s up till Christmas but had been messing around in class and not trying their best during lessons, a teacher might think that the student is not able to improve on their grade resulting in them receiving a 6 in their assessment.


In Gavin Williamson’s announcement, he made it clear that the government would “use a form of teacher assessed grades with training and support provided to ensure (that the grades) are awarded fairly and consistently across the country.” This means that if a teacher had a grudge on a student who had been performing well academically, the teacher cannot just downgrade them for not liking their personality. There were no specific details offered as to how these grades would be awarded, only that the details would be worked out with Ofqual (the exams watchdog).


The general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, Geoff Barton, raised the very valuable concern that “it is frustrating that there is not an off-the-shelf Plan B ready to go.” He went on to say that “We have repeatedly called on the Government and the regulator to prepare such a plan in the event of exams being cancelled, and have repeatedly offered to work with them in doing so.” 


The main message to take home from the recent news regarding the cancellation of GCSEs and A levels is that pupils should keep pushing themselves even during online schooling to prove to their teachers that they are worthy of the best grades possible.