A-LEVEL, AS and GCSE students in England could be asked to undertake externally set papers to help teachers with their assessments after formal exams were cancelled, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has suggested.

In a letter to exams regulator Ofqual, Mr Williamson said: "A breadth of evidence should inform teachers' judgments, and the provision of training and guidance will support teachers to reach their assessment of a student's deserved grade. This should be drawn out in the consultation.

"In addition, I would like to explore the possibility of providing externally set tasks or papers, in order that teachers can draw on this resource to support their assessments of students.

"We should seek views in the consultation on what broader evidence should determine a teacher's assessment of a student's grade and whether we should require or recommend the use of the externally set tasks or papers."

The Government has agreed not to use an algorithm to set students' grades in England, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has said.

His pledge came after thousands of A-level students had their results downgraded from school estimates by a controversial algorithm last summer, before Ofqual announced a U-turn allowing them to use teachers' predictions.

In a letter to Ofqual, Mr Williamson said: "We have agreed that we will not use an algorithm to set or automatically standardise anyone's grade.

"Schools and colleges should undertake quality assurance of their teachers' assessments and provide reassurance to the exam boards. We should provide training and guidance to support that, and there should also be external checks in place to support fairness and consistency between different institutions and to avoid schools and colleges proposing anomalous grades."

But he added: "Changes should only be made if those grades cannot be justified, rather than as a result of marginal differences of opinion.

"Any changes should be based on human decisions, not by an automatic process or algorithm."