PLAID Cymru is calling for Welsh Government to take the decision now to cancel 2021 exams and replace them with centre grade assessments. To delay making the decision until later in the year is not fair on young people and will cause more stress at what is already a difficult time.
In a written statement, Education Minister Kirsty Williams refers to “the pressing need to put measures in place for the 2021 exam series” but with interim findings of the Welsh Government independent review not due until the end of October, and final recommendations not expected until December, Delyth Jewell MS, Shadow Minister for the Future says this is already too late.
With some GCSE exams currently due in November 2020 and other exams due in January 2021, Ms Jewell says that taking a decision to cancel exams around the same time would waste “valuable time” and cause extra stress for these learners.
Concerns have previously been raised by Plaid Cymru about such reliance on the exam model of assessment given the inequalities that were exposed during the “A-level fiasco.” Plaid Cymru has already called for serious reforms in the way learners are assessed, which becomes even more important given plans to introduce a new curriculum which may further serve to increase the disconnect between the way pupils are taught, and the way they are assessed.
Delyth Jewell MS, Shadow Minister for the Future says:
“A decision should be made now to cancel next year’s exams. That would be the fairest, least stressful way of supporting our young people.
“The Welsh Government review isn’t due to present its interim report until the end of October which in itself is too close for those learners re-sitting exams in November 2020. The final report and recommendations aren’t due until mid-December, which is too close for those sitting exams in January 2021.
“The Welsh Government has an opportunity now to cancel exams, rather than waste valuable time delaying what many feel will be an inevitable decision. The time that would be used on preparing students for exams can instead be used to ensure centre grade assessments are as robust as possible.
“Students have already expressed concerns returning to school. Let’s not add to their worry by keeping the exam question hanging over their heads.”