The cancellation of A Level and GCSE exams in Wales
Education is always at the forefront of the news, however this year it has made more headlines than ever thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent effect upon schooling. The latest front-page news is courtesy of the Welsh education system, where the decision has been made to assess students for GCSE and A Level examinations in 2021 in the classroom, rather than the usual format of formal summer tests.
Whilst making the announcement about the cancellation of 2021 school examinations, Welsh Education Minister Kirsty Williams stated that, “the primary reason for my decision is down to fairness; 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.”
Amongst students there seems to be a split between relief and hesitancy; relief that they will not have to endure the pressure of examinations but hesitancy about how their results will be interpreted by universities and employers in the years to come. With the rest of the United Kingdom not yet following suit and still set to have examinations in 2021, this causes a disparity between Welsh students and others.
Despite the cancellation of 2021 exams, the Welsh Education Minister has insisted that the value of any GCSEs and A Levels awarded to Welsh students will be exactly equal to any other student in the United Kingdom, stating that it is simply the assessment methods which will differ.
For other students in the United Kingdom, the question now will be whether their own examinations will be cancelled in favour of classroom assessments. At the moment, this is not the case in Scotland, England or Northern Ireland with the only change being delays to some exams in order to allow for more teaching time.
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