Grades in 2021

Submitted by AWL on 12 January, 2021 - 10:46 Author: Martin Thomas
Empty desks

The government has said GCSE and A level grades for 2021 will be done on teachers’ assessments.

That may be better than the botched algorithm attempted in 2020. But every school will seek to report results a bit better than 2020 or 2019. A student’s grades will depend as much on their school management’s talents as chancers as on anything real.

There’ll also be “grade inflation” (an A or a 9 in 2021 not the same as in 2019), but that, I think, is a lesser problem.

For GCSE, the answer is just to scrap GCSE grades. Let 16 year olds go on to what they want, A levels, apprenticeships, whatever. Other countries do without grades at age 16.

For A level, until we have a wholesale (needed) reform of Britain’s snobby university system, just scrapping is unworkable.

Least bad, I think, will be to drop grades and instead have “transcripts” giving students’ whole recent records, including relative to their school cohort.

That sort of thing works in other countries, at least no worse than the standard English system.

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