AoC respond to Ofqual consultations on awarding grades

03 Feb 2021

The students being assessed in 2021 have faced unprecedented differential disruption to their learning resulting from lockdowns, absence, self-isolation, uncertainty and anxiety, inequality of access to digital devices and broadband and a range of associated personal circumstances. Questions of assessment, inequality, public health and lost learning are interconnected and have to be viewed in the round.

We understand the challenges of developing alternatives to an exam series mid-year and have worked with DfE, Ofqual and other stakeholder groups to evaluate the various scenarios.

Key principles underpinning our response:

  • The need for this year’s grading process to reflect the differential impact of disruption to students, which has extended over 2 academic years and the need for a holistic equality and diversity impact assessment for any decisions affecting students – by protected category and socio economic status.
  • The need to minimize burdens on college staff to allow them to concentrate on teaching and supporting students safely, both online and face-to-face and ensuring that awarding organisations play their full part in ensuring standards and dealing with student appeals.
  • The need to consider all qualifications together (General Qualifications (GQs) and Vocational and Technical Qualifications (VTQs)). Decisions taken on all these qualifications will impact on colleges as providers as well as receiving institutions.
  • The need for robust and transparent external quality assurance to achieve fairness and grade comparability between candidates and centres and to build confidence in the system and minimise the scope for complaints and appeals.
  • The need for all guidance to centres on assessment, grading, the use of evidence and quality assurance processes to be clear and consistent and for all public communication to reflect this.
  • The need for any savings made by awarding organisations as a result of changes to assessment, to be returned to centres.

You can read AoC’s full response to vocational and technical qualifications and general qualifications here.