Exams: Covid grade inflation to be wound back over two years

Exams: Covid grade inflation to be wound back over two years

BBC reported that GCSE and A-level grades in England will be returned to pre-Covid levels over the next two years, the government has announced.

Next summer’s grades will be wound back to a “mid-point” between 2019 and 2021, after two years of unusually high grade inflation.

Ministers say exams will happen but the option of teacher-assessed grades will be kept in reserve and pupils will get notice of exam topics in some subjects to aid revision. There will also be a choice of questions in some art subjects, as well as materials such as formulae for maths and science subjects.

These modifications aim to protect pupils against lost learning due to the Covid pandemic as summer just gone, exams were cancelled for the second year in a row due to the pandemic and grades were again awarded by teachers and tutors. This led to the proportion of pupils passing and scoring higher grades rising significantly for the second year in a row.

Between 2019 and 2021, the proportion of GCSEs, for example, awarded the top grades 7 to 9, rose nearly 12 percentage points to 28.9%. Usually, the share of grades is held steady, by a system of comparable outcomes designed to maintain standards from one year to the next. Exam boards use statistics and predictions to maintain fairness in the system.

Ministers also confirmed a set of adaptations to exams including a choice of questions in English Literature, history, ancient history and geography. Teachers and tutors will also get information on the focus of exam content so they can guide students on what to revise – but not until February.

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