End of year exams in Wales will be scrapped in 2021 and replaced with coursework and assessments, Welsh education minister Kirsty Williams has announced.
The move, which affects GCSE, AS-level and A-level exams, is the latest ongoing disruption to schools caused by the coronavirus which has made it “impossible to guarantee a level playing field for exams to take place”.
Williams said the decision “removes pressures from learners” and “the well-being of learners and ensuring fairness across the system is central in our decision-making process”.
She added: “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.
“We remain optimistic that the public heath situation will improve, but 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.”
Williams said universities across the UK had been consulted and had confirmed “that they are used to accepting many different types of qualifications”, PA Media reports.
“They expect a transparent and robust approach which provides evidence of a learner’s knowledge and ability,” she said.
“Our intended approach does just that, as it is designed to maximise the time for teaching and learning.
“Cancelling exams provides time for teaching and learning to continue throughout the summer term, to build the knowledge, skills and confidence in our learners to progress in whatever they decide to do next.”
Teacher-managed assessments will include assessments that are externally set and marked, but delivered within a classroom environment under teacher supervision.
Teachers will also have flexibility when it is best to undertake the assessments.
The announcement comes months after a shambolic summer of exam results across the UK.
In Wales 42% of A-level results predicted by teachers were lowered by Qualifications Wales, leading to claims that its algorithm, which took into account the past performances of schools, had unfairly downgraded some pupils.
The scenes were similarly repeated in English, Scottish and Northern Ireland schools and prompted U-turns from each respective government after a massive outcry.