Teachers to determine exam grades in Northern Ireland

Grades for A level and GCSE students in Northern Ireland will be determined by teachers and previous data, the education minister has announced.

Peter Weir said examination grades for those completing their A level, AS level and GCSE qualifications will be based on a combination of information provided by schools and colleges and statistical information.

However the AS grades awarded this summer will not count towards final A level results.

Stormont education minister Peter Weir (NI Assembly/PA)

Instead, next summer A level students will be able to choose to only sit the required A2 units, or to sit AS and A2 units.

The announcement came two weeks after authorities in England and Wales announced exams grades would be based on predicted results.

Speaking in the Northern Ireland Assembly on Thursday, Mr Weir said his decision came after consultation across the education sector.

“My priority is to ensure that pupils receive fair results that reflect their hard work and enable judgments to be made about their future progression to study or employment or other avenues,” he said.

“CCEA, the local examinations body, together with officials from my departments and others in the education sector have been working tirelessly to develop an alternative process.

“This is a very complex process and there is still more work to be completed, however, it is vital that pupils and their families receive some clarity on this issue.”

Mr Weir’s decision affects students taking exams set by the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations & Assessment (CCEA) which is the majority provider in Northern Ireland.

Today, NI's Minister of Education announced the way forward for awarding CCEA GCSE and A level qualifications for students affected by the cancellation of the summer 2020 series.

Read CCEA’s guidance on how grades will be awarded here: https://t.co/fqoTqALTKdpic.twitter.com/nqoqyvj0JU

— CCEA (@CCEA_info) April 16, 2020

The minister said the development of an appeals mechanism is currently under consideration.

Detailed guidance is set to be issued to all schools and colleges.

Mr Weir said his officials are also working closely with colleagues in the Department for the Economy on arrangements for vocational qualifications.

CCEA chief executive Justin Edwards added: “Fairness is the guiding principle of CCEA’s approach to delivering grades for GCSE, AS and A level students in summer 2020.

“Students can be assured and have confidence that the grades they receive in August 2020 will reflect their hard work, enabling them to progress as planned onto the next stage of their journey.”

Further information on the awarding of GCSE, AS and A level qualifications for summer 2020 is available at www.ccea.org.uk/summer-awarding.

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