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Calling parents / teachers / those “in the know“ - do you think A-levels will be “normal” in 2021?

(19 Posts)
moj1to Thu 25-Jun-20 11:40:09

Hi, I know there are people who work in education on here, so I hope this is the right place to ask for any insights / perspectives.

There is currently some talk about A-levels being pushed back by several weeks next summer. I don’t see how this would close the inequality gap between those who have had a full term’s teaching since Easter and those who haven’t, as those schools who are relatively ahead now will just use the extra weeks to consolidate.

Nor do I see how lowering grade boundaries would help because obviously this means lowering them for everyone and the more advantaged students will still fill the higher grades.

Just wondering if it might be teacher assessment again next year or part teacher assessment and if anyone has any views or insights here? Localised lockdowns look likely as winter comes, so I’m thinking this might be the only way forward?

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KaptainKaveman Fri 26-Jun-20 07:48:07

My personal preference would be to test on a reduced curriculum and provide teacher assessment which would account for around 30% of the GCSE. I hope that happens.

Knottylox Fri 26-Jun-20 20:44:40

We received info today from school to say definitely exams will be pushed into July so we cannot book holidays. We were told it will not be a reduced curriculum due to schools teaching different parts of the syllabus at different times. We were also told it is highly likely part of the grade will be based on teacher submitted assessments. But that was underwritten with this is all covid dependent.

Pikachubaby Fri 26-Jun-20 20:50:01

DS College are preparing for long term long down

Basically “prepare for the worst, hope for the best”, we just had a chat with all his teachers of how they can improve online learning for pupils

DH is a teacher and HoY and there is no “inside information”

Good/organised schools are preparing for either scenario

And yes, there is talk about pushing A levels back

Either way, our y12 kids are screwed as there will be a massive influx of deferred entrants, so it’ll be extra hard to get a place at uni sad

Pikachubaby Fri 26-Jun-20 20:52:01

Kaptain, they can’t reduce the curriculum as all schools teach different order. Our college has move things around to teach more theoretical stuff now and more practical (lab) stuff when/if colleges open again

TheOnlyLivingBoyInNewCross Fri 26-Jun-20 20:52:10

What country are you in, Knottylox? In England, we're still waiting for the "consultation stage" to finish. I wish they'd come to a conclusion one way or another like your government has!

Knottylox Fri 26-Jun-20 21:04:46

@Theonlylivingboy yes I’m in England. Our HT is part of something can’t think what was on the email but it has come somewhere official. I’ll check back later!

skylarkdescending Fri 26-Jun-20 21:08:39

Bronze group?

TheOnlyLivingBoyInNewCross Sat 27-Jun-20 11:30:03

Wow - am amazed your school has stated that something will definitely be happening before Ofqual has even published its proposals for consultation. That's not a step many schools would be bold enough to take.

Knottylox Sat 27-Jun-20 12:21:41

There were a number of caveat “maybes” on the final format, The only one which was said definitely was that exams would be taking place in July.

TheOnlyLivingBoyInNewCross Sat 27-Jun-20 12:31:53

Just really surprised that they've announced it as definitive before Ofqual have even published their proposals or the DfE have made a statement, that's all. Not something I've been told as a teacher (but then I suppose we would be the last to know grin).

moj1to Sat 27-Jun-20 12:44:09

I’m also really surprised Knotty, that this school have announced exams will take place in July. How on earth could they know this? What kind of school is this?

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climbingcorfecastle Mon 29-Jun-20 19:56:54

No school can say anything definite at that this stage, simply because they don't know!

Burnshersmurfs Thu 02-Jul-20 11:06:00

Assuming no further lockdowns, I think it'll be business as usual but with pushed-back exams. In my subject (English Lit), I think outcomes will be quite polarised though- there's little middle ground between those who have really stepped-up with lockdown learning, and those who have stepped out of it. Not apportioning blame there- many students have found it very stressful and have tricky circumstances at home.

TheOnlyLivingBoyInNewCross Thu 02-Jul-20 22:44:24

Just read Ofqual's consultation document, which says this:

We do not prescribe the detailed exam timetable, but we do require that GCSE, AS and A level exams are only available in May and June (with the exception of GCSEs in English language and maths that can also be taken in the autumn). If the timetable was to be delayed so the end of the exam period went into July we would need to change our rules. We are, therefore, seeking views on timetable options.

So it looks as if your school knows something that even Ofqual doesn't, Knotty!

MarchingFrogs Fri 03-Jul-20 07:24:12

Either way, our y12 kids are screwed as there will be a massive influx of deferred entrants, so it’ll be extra hard to get a place at uni

The recent publication by UCAS of the application statistics to date does not suppport this assertion re an increase in the number of applicants requesting deferred entry. And for those planning to wait until results day, the decision whether to request deferral may be theirs, but the decision whether to allow deferral is the university's to make, so they may find themselves having to decide whether to go this year after all or withdraw their application and compete (with this year's grades in hand, or on predicted grades for resits next summer) on the same playing field as current year 12s, rather than reduce the latter's chances by already having a guaranteed place.

(Quoted on another thread):
www.ucas.com/corporate/news-and-key-documents/news/rise-number-students-planning-start-university-autumn

www.ucas.com/corporate/news-and-key-documents/news/rise-number-students-planning-start-university-autumn
Table 1a shows that, overall, more undergraduate applicants have accepted an offer to immediately start studying at university or college compared to last year. The decline in EU applicants holding an offer should be seen alongside the fall in EU applicants overall, as of the15 January application deadline.

SirTobyBelch Fri 03-Jul-20 07:49:17

Total numbers of applicants will be down slightly for 2021 because no students from the EU/EEA/Switzerland will be applying to any but the most prestigious universities. However, the admissions waters will be muddied a bit by people taking exams in the autumn having 2020 offers kept open. It's hard to predict how many of these there will be.

SeasonFinale Fri 03-Jul-20 08:26:10

So far the only uni I have heard if that will keep offers automatically open for next Summer if assessed grades do not meet offer (to allow Autumn exams tonuograde results) is Cambridge. Has anyone heard of any others?

moj1to Fri 03-Jul-20 08:54:29

Marching - thanks for the stats. Really though, for those of us with DC applying to Cambridge, the concern is not so much the number of deferred offers at this stage (because there are always deferrals every year). The real impact may be following results day. If Cambridge applicants miss their grades, it’s not likely to be by a wide margin. Maybe they drop an A* to an A or similar? So they have until November exams to focus on this subject, and this subject only, to bump it up to the A* in the Autumn exams for a guaranteed deferred place. Great for this years students, of course. But as Cambridge has 30-odd colleges, there are only 2 or so places per subject in each college for many subjects. It only takes one of two who miss the grades (as happens every year) to defer via the exam - and there could be no places left in certain colleges. Students this year could be applying to certain colleges (especially the smaller ones) for courses that have filled their quota of two students, before their application has even been considered.

Plus, Oxbridge will be less affected by obstacles to foreign students because of the reputation internationally, etc.

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