GAVIN Williamson has confirmed an algorithm will NOT be used to determine pupils' grades after A-level assessments descended into chaos last year.
The Education Secretary is instead "putting trust in teachers" after A-level and GCSE exams were cancelled for a second successive year due to the pandemic.
Are GCSE and A-level exams cancelled in 2021?
GCSE and A-level exams have been cancelled for 2021, because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and third lockdown.
The government decided to axe this summer's testing regime with a Department for Education spokesperson saying in early January: "The Government position is that we will not be asking students to sit GCSE and A-Levels."
On January 6, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said GCSE, AS and A-level exams in England will be replaced by school-based assessments.
This means teachers will decide what grades A-level, GCSE and AS students will be awarded.
Mr Williamson confirmed an algorithm would not be used this year.
At a No 10 press conference on February 24, he said: "We are putting trust in teachers.
"There is going to be no algorithms whatsoever but there will be a very clear and robust appeals mechanism."
Headteachers have already warned that there is now huge educational inequality caused by the pandemic – making some pupils more prepared for exams than others.
It comes as the Government launched an advertising blitz to remind people of the need to still "stay at home" despite declining coronavirus transmission rates, the success of the vaccine rollout and the launch of the road map out of lockdown.
Kids return to school classrooms on March 8.
What will replace GCSEs and A-levels exam?
The Department for Education and England's exams regulator Ofqual says teachers can draw on a range of evidence when determining grades.
This includes mock exams, coursework or other work completed as part of a pupil's course, such as essays or in-class tests.
Pupils will only be assessed on what they have been taught after months of school and college closures.
Schools and colleges will submit their grades to exam boards by June 18 to maximise teaching time.
Pupils will receive grades in early August once quality assurance checks have been completed by the exam boards.
Normally students receive their results in mid to late August, but A-level students will receive their results on August 10 and GCSE pupils will receive theirs two days later on August 12.
Bringing results day forward will ensure pupils have enough time to log appeals so A-level students don't miss out on their preferred university places for the autumn.
Schools will be given wide flexibility in deciding how teachers assess and grade their pupils, based on those parts of the curriculum they have been taught.
Exam boards will provide teachers with optional assessment questions for students to answer to help schools decide which grades to award, after this summer's exams were cancelled due to the pandemic.
But these assessments are not expected to be carried out in exam conditions.
Also, teachers will have the capacity to choose how long students have to complete the task, and where it will be carried out.
This move comes after the Association of School and College Leaders said students should not be expected to sit compulsory "mini-exams" to help teachers with their grading judgements amid the Covid disruption.
HIGH GRADE INFLATION FEARS
But concerns have been raised that the Government's approach to grading A-level and GCSE students could result in "extremely high grade inflation".
The grading of students became a fiasco last summer when exams were cancelled amid school closures.
Thousands of A-level students had their results downgraded from school estimates by a controversial algorithm before Ofqual announced a U-turn which allowed them to use teachers' predictions.
But this year the regulator will not use an algorithm to standardise teachers' estimated grades if they appear more generous than they should be.
The DfE said schools and colleges will conduct multiple checks – such as on the consistency of judgements across teachers and that the correct processes are followed – to ensure as much fairness as possible.
Exam boards will also conduct their own checks through a combination of random sampling and more targeted scrutiny.
Mr Williamson said: "Young people have shown incredible resilience over the last year, continuing with their learning amidst unprecedented challenges while the country battles with this pandemic. Those efforts deserve to be fairly rewarded.
"That's why we are providing the fairest possible system for those pupils, asking those who know them best – their teachers – to determine their grades, with our sole aim to make sure all young people can progress to the next stage of their education or career."
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