We welcome the announcement from the Department for Education (DfE) that teachers will determine students’ grades this summer. The news follows consultation by exams regulator Ofqual, which invited feedback from all education stakeholders to decide how to grade pupils without exams.
The fair allocation of grades is a major concern of parents, so Parentkind has presented parent voice at every opportunity. In responding to Ofqual, we gave evidence from a poll* that found parents favoured teachers taking into account a range of evidence in determining a student's grade, including completed coursework and teacher devised assessments. Two thirds of parents (66%) felt that exam board papers should not be mandatory. Almost three quarters (74%) wanted results days to be brought forward to allow more time for appeals. We are delighted that all of these parental requests have been met.
Polling** in late 2020 on the DfE's proposed arrangements for 2021’s exams (abandoned once exams were cancelled in January) even then found that almost half (49%) of respondents said 'no exams - teacher assessments only' was the fairest way of allocating results. The figure was even higher among parents of children in exam cohorts.
Parentkind commends the DfE for taking parent voice into account when finalising the arrangements for this year's exams.
As quoted on the DfE's press release, Parentkind CEO John Jolly said, "We... fully support the DfE’s commitment to avoid assessing on a full curriculum this year, which very few parents want, as well as finding flexible ways for teachers to assess pupils’ work based on what they have learnt. Clarity over the new arrangements for this summer’s exams, which take parents’ views into account, provides parents and students alike with peace of mind. Exam cohorts can now focus on a successful conclusion to their studies."
Ofqual consultation poll – England Only (January 2021) *
Parentkind ran a short online survey, which was promoted to parents via social media. It was active from the 21st to 27th January 2021. It received 129 responses from parents of students in exam cohorts (years 10, 11, 12 and 13).
Parents’ Poll: Public Exams 2021 - England Only (December 2020) **
Parentkind ran a short online survey for parents of secondary school children, which was promoted via social media. It was active between 8.30am on 3rd December and 9.30am on 15th December 2020. 1,189 parents completed the survey. Most parents responding had pupils in exam cohorts, with 57% indicating they have a child in Year 11 and another 29% a child in Year 13.