WALES has scrapped exams for next year and GCSE, AS and A level tests will be replaced with coursework, the Welsh education minister said today.
Kirsty Williams said the coronavirus crisis would make it “impossible” to give kids a fair shot in exams following the grading fiasco for students over the summer.
Over the summer, millions of kids were left in the lurch after A-level and GCSE results were bungled by a dodgy algorithm and students were given teacher assessments at the 11th hour instead.
Ms Williams said scrapping exams would “remove the pressure” from kids struggling to keep up with schoolwork during the pandemic.
She said: “The well-being of learners and ensuring fairness across the system is central in our decision-making process.
“In line with the recommendations of both Qualifications Wales and the Independent Review, there will be no exams for GCSE or AS level learners next year.
“A-level students will also not be required to sit exams.
“The time learners will spend in schools and colleges will vary hugely and, in this situation, it is impossible to guarantee a level playing field for exams to take place.”
And Ms Williams said ditching tests would give kids more time to learn from their teachers through the summer term after missing out on months of school during the first lockdown.
Kids will still complete assessments, which will be externally set and marked, but they will be done in the classroom with their own teachers keeping an eye on them.
It means teachers will be able to choose when to set the assessments depending on how fast kids have caught up.
Younger Scottish kids will also get to miss out on exams.
The National 5 exams, roughly equivalent to GCSEs in England, were ditched by the First Minister earlier this year.
Scottish Education Secretary John Swinney claimed it would be “too big a risk” to let exams continue.
But older students set to sit their Advanced Highers will still do so.
Ministers in England have refused to cancel exams, but have pushed GCSEs and A-levels back three weeks to give students more time to prepare.
And Amanda Spielman, boss of the schools regulator Ofsted, stressed today exams should not be closed because it could hit kids’ confidence and “take away everything that is familiar”.
But her comments come after a shocking report from Ofsted showing children have forgotten how to read and write or even how to use a knife and fork while out of school during the lockdown.
Ms Spielman said: “It remains the case that the home learning experience is patchy and, in many cases, not aligned effectively with the classroom curriculum.”