Early indications given over how Suffolk secondary school assessments will work

Suffolk schools have been rated by Suffolk County Council. Photo: David Davies/PA Wire

The usual exam season in the summer will not take place, and teacher assessments will instead determine grades - Credit: PA

Means of assessing GCSE and A-level students this summer could include mock exams, classwork, coursework and Year 10 and 12 work, Suffolk education bosses have indicated.

The government has confirmed that an algorithm used last year to determine GCSE and A-level grades will not be used again, with teacher assessments informing grades this time around.

That algorithm used factors such as historic performance of schools and numbers of pupils to adjust teacher assessments and left thousands of pupils having grades adjusted down. 

Suffolk County Council assistant director for education and learning, Adrian Orr, said students who

Adrian Orr, Suffolk County Council's assistant director for learning and teaching, said primary schools were likely to hold assessments in reading, writing and phonics soon after pupils return on March 8 - Credit: Suffolk County Council

Suffolk County Council's assistant director for education and learning, Adrian Orr, said school feedback had been in favour of scrapping that algorithm and relying solely on teacher assessments. 

"My lead for assessment who is talking with the secondary assessment colleagues is saying to me is there is a big bit of work to do here, but the feedback is that at least it is around teacher assessments and people's knowledge of young people and curriculum expectations," Mr Orr said. 

"It is a conundrum for the profession at the moment because when we had the examination situation last year, they did at least have part of the year where all the children had been in school, and they have got a baseline of coursework and classwork that they could draw on. Some had had mock exams.  

"I think there is some really creative thinking going on about assessment activity that schools will be doing to provide as robust a teacher assessment for GCSE and A-level examinations.  

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"For the current Year 11s, they will probably also be drawing on their Year 10 work because that was a time when those young people were in school, so the system is very focused around that.

"I know that assessment leads across secondary schools, who come together periodically, have been bringing their collective thinking as to how that will work." 

He added that there was "growing confidence" among school leaders about grades this year, and planning for those assessments has already been ongoing alongside the return to school measures around testing, classroom set-ups and school transport among other considerations.

More guidance on how teachers determine grades for their pupils is likely to come out from the Department for Education in the coming weeks.