4 Ways to Improve GCSE and A-Level Teacher Assessment Scores

by Anita Naik

With the news that GCSEs and A-Levels exams will be scored by teacher assessment in 2021, here are four ways to help you improve your scores.

A-level and GCSE exams were abandoned last year, and the replacement results were scrapped when it emerged that the algorithm used skewed against disadvantaged pupils. This was then replaced by teacher assessments, which is how 2021 exams will be marked.

A breadth of evidence informs teachers' judgments to reach an assessment of student's grades such as low-stakes testing, classroom performance, homework, or coursework. A new idea, not yet agreed, is to also provide externally set tasks or papers so that teachers can draw on this resource to support students' assessments.

Of course, the main concern from students and parents' is that assessed grades are subjective and do not always accurately reflect students' abilities. The good news is research shows assessments and exam scores match very closely for English, maths and science, so you can rest assured that grades are as fair as they can be

However, as teachers assess performance over time students also have ample time this year to better their scores. Here's what you need to know.

It pays to be an all-rounder

We all play to our strengths, whether that's tests, homework, or in-class participation. To improve your assessment scores, your need to work towards doing well in all fields of assessment. As teacher ratings assess performance over time, with ongoing monitoring of your performance, you have a lot of scope, in which, to improve your work. Ratings are primarily based on sustained effort and performance. This means class participation, prepping for your subjects and revision for those smaller tests and mock exams will all help.

Focus on your weaker areas

Teachers know that students can make a comeback at any time and with no one single exam this year, you have time to work on your weaker areas and subjects. Work out what subjects need more work, and what areas of work need attention. Is it help with understanding, more revision, a filling of knowledge gaps or simply more work from you? If you're unsure of how you can improve in a subject, or topic area ask your teacher for direction and help with a plan to improve.

Keep revising

Revision isn't out the window just because there are no external exams. Continuous revision is vital for several reasons; consolidation of everything you have learnt, subject understanding, and in-class tests that will happen between now and the end of the summer term. Remember with assessment, you won't just be tested on memory but on how you use the facts to show you understand the content. It means for many subjects; you need to be adept at writing essays. To help yourself, write essays in timed conditions using past papers. Mark your work and note down areas you need to work on in terms of knowledge and essay writing skills.

Work with a tutor

One of the most significant ways you can improve your work is by working with a subject tutor. Subject comprehension is about analysis and understanding of a subject, and once you have this, it aids everything from class participation to essays and tests. Tutoring allows you to work on a subject at your own pace and focus on areas you are struggling with alongside a trained professional. This, in turn, allows you and your tutor to unpack each topic and only progress once you have mastered it.