In January 2021 it was announced that GCSE and A-Levels were to be cancelled and replaced by ‘teacher assessments’.

But what are the teacher assessments replacing exams? And how should you prepare for these teacher assessments in Summer 2021?

We caught up with one of our expert GCSE English Tutors, Heather Holmes, to find out more about teacher assessments. Heather has been teaching for over a decade. She works currently as a Director of English for a multi-academy trust in the north of England. She is also an examiner for GCSE English Literature.

Summer 2021: What will the teacher assessments look like?

Schools have been asked to submit Teacher Assessed Grades (TAGs) to exam boards this year, due to the impact Covid-19 has had on schools nationally. Schools will be working to ensure that their TAGs reflect a fair, reasonable and carefully considered judgement of a student’s performance during Year 10 and Year 11.

How do these teacher assessments work?

  • Schools are required to submit a grade for each student.
  • These are based on an assessment of the standard at which they are performing at the time of submission.
  • This is slightly different to last year. In 2020 teachers were asked to submit a grade based on a student’s anticipated trajectory through their course.
  • This year the focus is on what grade are you working at, not what grade are you working towards.
  • Schools will be working to ensure that submitted grades are objective and can be substantiated through evidence produced by a student on the content they have been taught. In some cases, students may not have been taught the entire content of the course.

How should I prepare for the teacher assessments?

Schools will be generating a body of evidence for each of their students in a variety of different ways:

  • Some schools will be asking their students to sit more formalised assessments based on topics they have studied at this point
  • Some will be offering mock exams focusing on past papers
  • Others schools will be collecting evidence contained in exercise books

The focus at this stage is to collect enough evidence to substantiate any grade submitted for a student. Therefore, the best way to influence your TAG at this stage is to complete as much work as possible, at the highest standard you can. Your teacher will then be able to use this work to help them arrive at a TAG.

Also, work completed with a tutor outside of school can also be submitted. Your teacher will work with your tutor to determine the conditions that you completed the work in. If your tutor verifies that the work submitted was generated with little to no help, then the work can be submitted as evidence of the grade you are working at. We advise you speak to your teacher at school if this is something you might be considering.

Key dates: 

  • Teachers will submit the grade they decide on to the exam board by 18th June 2021.
  • GCSE results day 2021 will now be earlier than usual: Thursday 12th August 2021.
  • If you are unhappy with your grade you do have the option to appeal. During the appeal process student’s grades can go up or down. It is also likely that appeal fees will be scrapped to allow all students in England to appeal their grades at no cost.
  • GCSE Resits
    • If you have been successful or unsuccessful during the appeals process or if you are unhappy with your grade you will have the opportunity to resit an examination in the autumn term.
    • OR you can choose to be entered in the exam next year, retaking your exam in Summer 2022.

How should I prepare for teacher assessments in Summer 2021? is here to help you prepare for teacher assessments in Summer 2021! We now offer a 3 day FREE trial of our platform, with access to over 1350 bite-size video tutorials, interactive quizzes, additional activities and much, much more! All created by AQA and EdExcel examiners who walk you through how to get better marks.

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