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Exposed; The Governments awful plans for 2021 Exams

Last night the Education Secretary, Gavin Williams announced some new information regarding the 2021 summer exam series. They have been described as measures to ‘boost fairness and support students’ and ‘to ensure fair exams next summer’. I think they do neither.

So what are these measures

· More generous grading than usual. He has instructed the exam boards to be more lax and lenient when marking.

· Advance notice of some topics in January. Meaning they’ll tell you what topics are coming up in the exam.

· Exam aids. Meaning they’ll let you take in your notes and formula sheets to the exam.

· Additional Back up exams. In July; to allow the students to sit their exam if they had to miss it due to isolating or illness.

I actually think that last one is a good idea. Fair and reasonable. As long as it’s an entirely new exam they are sitting, which appears to be the case based on what I have seen. The rest are filled with a plethora of problems. The main issue I have with these measures is that they do not really address the lack of education the students are getting. It seems the government are more concerned in just waving all the students through so they can move on to the next stage of their academic career, as opposed to the students actually learning and mastering the subjects they take.

They are doing nothing to address the lack of teaching and education due to the impact of lockdowns, schools closing and students having to stay home for weeks at a time due to someone in their bubble testing positive. The GCSE students who they give these inflated grades to will struggle at A-Level. The A-Level students will find it increasingly difficult to make the transition to university studies. If the same trend were followed in the universities, students would be awarded degrees without covering the material to the rigorous standard that previous cohorts have had to maintain.

Would you want to be treated by a Doctor who passed their medical exams in these circumstances? In an open book exam, where they were told what they would be examined on with their textbook on the table? Would you feel safe crossing a bridge or sitting in a skyscraper that one of these engineering graduates built? Obviously I am exaggerating a little here, but there may be a kernel of truth in some of those statements, as the government haven’t published the details of those announcements yet. Time will tell.

But what I do know is that these changes and practices will bring the education sector into disrepute. The public, business and industry will lose confidence in the integrity of the grades students were awarded. Students who graduated in 2020 and 2021 may end up being discriminated against. That doesn’t help anyone.

The other issue is in the GCSE, due to the nature of the way the 9-1 is graded it will have little to no effect as the boundaries are somewhat based on how well students in the cohort performed, and I find it disingenuous the way government is marketing the marking leniency.

But what do you think. Do you think that it is a good idea? Do you think they will ‘boost fairness and support students’ and ‘ensure fair exams next summer’? I’d love to hear your thoughts below.

One way to make sure your child does not pass their exams knowing little about the subject they have passed, or has to rely on the generosity of these ill thought out Government schemes is to hire a private tutor. They will be able to go design and execute a timetable of work to get through all the material needed to not just pass their exam, but be confident in their subject knowledge and mastery. Contact me now to find out how I can help.

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