A-Level and GCSE pupils can be asked to sit mini classroom tests marked by teachers after the Government axed formal exams this summer.

Teachers will use a range of measures to determine students' grades, including coursework, mock exams, essays or in-class tests.

Results days will also move forward by a fortnight to the week of August 9 to allow students more time to appeal their grades before university terms begin.

The new blueprint comes as ministers seek to avoid last year's exams chaos, where thousands of students saw their marks downgraded by a computer algorithm.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson was forced to ditch the plan after a major public outcry, and students were given their teacher-assessed grades.

Under the new plans, teachers will be able to set mini tests to help them work out grades - but only on subjects students have covered, as many have spent months away from the classroom.

GCSE and A-Level exams have been cancelled this year

Teachers can use questions provided by exam boards to set mock exams.

Exam boards will give guidance to teachers on awarding final grades by the end of the spring term and schools will have to submit their results by June 18.

Schools and colleges will have to check if grades are fair, and exam boards will also sample centres to assess if grades are consistent.

Results will not be pegged to previous years, prompting concerns over grade inflation.

Mr Williamson said:

“Young people have shown incredible resilience over the last year, continuing with their learning amidst unprecedented challenges while the country battles with this pandemic. Those efforts deserve to be fairly rewarded.

“That’s why we are providing the fairest possible system for those pupils, asking those who know them best – their teachers – to determine their grades, with our sole aim to make sure all young people can progress to the next stage of their education or career.

Gavin Williamson
Education secretary Gavin Williamson

But Natalie Perera, chief executive of the Education Policy Institute (Epi) think tank, warned there could be "extremely high grade inflation" under the plans.

She said: "Without timely and detailed guidance for schools on how this year's grades should be benchmarked against previous years, and with classroom assessments only being optional, there is a significant risk that schools will take very different approaches to grading.

"This could result in large numbers of pupils appealing their grades this year or extremely high grade inflation, which could be of little value to colleges, universities, employers and young people themselves."

Labour's Kate Green said the delayed announcement has created "needless stress for pupils, parents and teachers".

“Gavin Williamson created chaos last summer and this cannot be allowed to happen again," she added.

“The Government must now set out the detail schools and colleges need to ensure every pupil receives fair grades which enable them to move onto the next stage of their education, training or employment.”

Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said the move was the "least worst option available" but questioned how teachers would manage the workload.

"Substantial time will need to be set aside for the initial assessments and gradings and then the internal school moderation processes; it may well be that extra staff need to be employed to release teachers for this important work," she said.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the school leaders' union Naht, said the plans "appear to chart a path which avoids the awful chaos of last year".

He added: "This set of decisions is, however, only the starting point. It is now down to the awarding bodies to provide the detail which schools and colleges need to implement the process."

It comes after Mr Williamson failed to rule out extending the school day or cutting the summer holidays short to give pupils more time to catch up.

The Government is pouring an extra £400million into catch up schemes, including a £302 million "recovery premium" for disadvantaged pupils.

Primaries will get an additional £6,000 on average, while secondaries will get £22,000 to run clubs and activities in the summer.