A plan to use externally set papers to help teachers set grades for exam candidates this year is not an attempt to “squeeze in” exams via a different route, the head of Ofqual has written in a blog.
Simon Lebus, interim chief regulator, said Ofqual has proposed that boards use questions that resembled those on normal exam papers because students would already be used to them.
Mr Lebus writes: “Our consultation also proposes that exam boards use questions in their papers that are similar in style and format to those in normal exam papers.
“This isn’t because we’re trying to squeeze in an exam via a different route. It is because most students would be familiar with the sorts of questions used, as students typically use past papers to help them prepare for their exams. It just means there could be questions in a form that students are used to.”
He also says: “I want to tackle one thing head on – the proposal to have externally-set papers or tasks to help teachers to assess their students objectively. Some have called these ‘mini exams’. This is not what we’ve proposed.”
According to the TES, Ofqual has had more than 90,000 responses on its consultation over how to assess pupils work this year after ministers announced that GCSEs and A-levels would not go ahead ‘as normal’ this year.
Headteachers’ unions have already said that any externally set papers should not be seen as ‘mini exams’ and teachers should have flexibility over when and even whether to use them.