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England’s school assessment system favours the sharp-elbowed and the wealthy | Gaby Hinsliff

It’s a good sign that teachers, not algorithms, are in control this summer. But they face huge pressure to inflate grades

Their leavers’ proms are cancelled due to Covid, their summer festival tickets hanging by a thread. And they still can’t celebrate the end of exams by going clubbing. But at least this year’s GCSE and A-level students have now finished school for summer, albeit with more of a whimper than a bang. For teachers, however, the exam stress is just beginning.

Friday 18 June is the deadline in England for schools submitting estimated grades – based on assessment papers children sat this spring, but also performance throughout the course – which will determine the class of 2021’s futures in the absence of normal exams. The good news is there won’t be a repeat of last year’s debacle, when swathes of teacher-predicted grades for exams that children couldn’t sit were abruptly downgraded by an exam board algorithm. The bad news is that we may be heading for a different debacle instead: an emotive high-wire summer of appeals, favouring sharp-elbowed parents who know how to work the system, in a year when deepening inequalities have already been alarmingly baked in by the pandemic.

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Read the original article at The Guardian

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