Commenting on the announcement today by Welsh Government that exams in 2021 will be cancelled, Ruth Davies, president of school leaders’ union NAHT, said:
“We welcome the acknowledgment that things need to be different in 2021, but there is a real concern that we will end up with exams by stealth.
“It has been announced that pupils will still be given externally set and marked tests, just in the classroom. We can’t see how that isn’t an exam. There is an awful lot of detail still to be determined, and we await further clarification, but we are worried we will end up with exams in all but name.
“The same problems still exist that pupils may not be able to attend school that day, and that the exams will be testing areas that haven’t been able to be taught. We can't have a situation where pupils are assessed on teaching they simply haven't had.
“The academic year 2020-21 needs a shot of realism. It simply isn't going to be the same as other years however much we may wish it to be. We particularly need to be realistic about the amount and quality of teaching time available to students this year, which has been reduced and interrupted and has varied massively.
“We need to guard against the prospect of this critical time being reduced further by multiple assessments: too much focus on gaining as many as possible means that every session has the potential to be turned into an assessment opportunity. This will not just add additional layers of stress for our learners and their teachers but will further cut into the already limited time allowed for teaching.
“The most important thing this year is that we give teachers the power to do what is right for their students as they know them the best.”
Press and Media contacts:
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Senior Press Officer
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First published 10 November 2020