I wrote this blog post earlier in the school year, when I had a nasty feeling that whatever was being said publicly, the 2021 exams were not secure. Like many of us, in the uncertain world of the pandemic, it seemed far from certain we would definitely do the exams and teacher assessment seemed like a real possibility. Now we know that the 2021 exams in the UK are certainly cancelled, I have updated the advice here.
Many students, parents and teachers are feeling very stressed right now, as no one is quite sure exactly how teacher assessment will take place this year. At least we have seen the back of the wretched algorithm, but what else could happen? So far at The Tutor Team, we have heard of schools who are discussing a set of mocks when (if) schools reopen after half term. We know that many teachers are already setting assignments, including some that are done under timed conditions during the online classes. Other teachers have pressed students to get their written coursework finished and handed in for assessment. As you might imagine, this is all causing some anxiety.
So, how can a student prepare for teacher assessment?
Prepare for teacher assessment
Last year was hugely stressful for teachers, students and parents when we all discovered teacher assessment would decide grades. However, teachers will be much more prepared for it now, and many are probably feeling a mix of déjà vu and resignation. I know this is how I am feeling right now. But how can a student prepare for teacher assessment?
To put it simply, it is now essential that students focus on every assignment, every online lesson, every test and every mock exam. Teachers use evidence of performance across the school year to help them to predict grades and write reports, but now those performance indicators become crucial for a student. With teacher assessment, those practice assignments, test results and lessons will be informing grades, so it makes sense to score the highest grades personally possible across the rest of this academic year.
Also, attending the online lessons being provided by the school is mandatory, not optional. Any student who starts cruising now, thinking it’s all fine because of exam cancellation, is likely to get a rude awakening. Teacher assessment means that there is still assessment, however it is done. Students will be graded. Giving up now really is the worst possible thing to do.
Students should work steadily, carefully and to their very best ability over the lockdown and beyond. It will take concentration, dedication and stamina. But, at the moment, a student cannot afford to turn in a piece of work that has not been done to the best of their ability. They cannot afford not to revise for tests – they need to be consistent. Parents can help them out by setting a routine, making sure they get online for their lessons and giving them space to work. If you don’t have a separate space for them to work, can you purchase noise-cancelling headphones so they can really concentrate?
It’s also worth saying here that whilst students with their own bedrooms have a quiet place to study, do make sure they emerge for meals, breaks, and when they have finished their work day. It won’t be great for their mental health if they are in their bedroom all day every day – they need to be in the wider home at times and to get outside for exercise too.
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A Bit About Me
I am Dr Janet Rose, an Oxford University graduate and a trained teacher. I have both a Masters Degree and a DPhil in History, and I have been teaching IGCSE, A Level and prepping students for the HAT for 13 years.
As well as being a mum, grandmother, professional tutor and education blogger, I am the Founder & Managing Partner of The Tutor Team
Based in beautiful, rural Wiltshire, our offices are in an old converted water mill. We are a family business, where I work with my daughter Tess, my son Anthony and my daughter-in-law Anita. I am also ably assisted by Lisa, my wonderful PA. We understand parents’ concerns about their children’s education, because we are all parents ourselves. That’s why we set extremely high standards for our tutors and are very proud to have a team of 81 qualified, experienced teachers and university lecturers offering high-quality private tuition.