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Wales CANCELS all A-Level and GSCE exams in 2021 amid on-going coronavirus class disruption

Wales CANCELS all A-Level and GSCE exams in 2021 with pupils getting grades from coursework and assessments instead amid on-going coronavirus class disruption

  • Welsh education minister Kirsty Williams made announcement today 
  • Said next summer’s papers would be replaced by coursework and assessments
  • Pandemic made it ‘impossible to guarantee a level playing field for exams’

A-Level and GCSE exams will be scrapped in Wales in 2021 to ensure ‘fairness’ in the system after the lockdown halted classes, the country’s education chief announced today.   

Welsh education minister Kirsty Williams said that next summer’s papers would be replaced by coursework and assessments amid ongoing disruption to schools caused by the coronavirus.

She said the ongoing pandemic made it ‘impossible to guarantee a level playing field for exams to take place’ and the decision ‘removes pressures from learners’.

Wales is latest UK country to halt its exams programme for next year, after the summer 2020 grading system in England and Scotland descended into farce over computer-calculated grades.

Scotland has said its National 5 exams – equivalent to GCSEs – will be replaced by assessments next year.

Announcing the decision today Ms Williams said: ‘The well-being of learners and ensuring fairness across the system is central in our decision-making process.

Welsh education minister Kirsty Williams said that next summer’s papers would be replaced by coursework and assessments amid ongoing disruption to schools caused by the coronavirus.

Wales is the first UK country to halt its exams programme for next year, after the summer 2020 grading system in England and Scotland descended into farce over computer-calculated grades

Wales is the first UK country to halt its exams programme for next year, after the summer 2020 grading system in England and Scotland descended into farce over computer-calculated grades

‘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.’

Ms Williams said universities across the UK had been consulted and had confirmed ‘that they are used to accepting many different types of qualifications.’

‘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.

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