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Hold some or all summer 2021 exams in July?

(10 Posts)
nosswith Mon 31-Aug-20 08:43:00

Suggested this morning by the Labour Party.

Mixed feelings about this. I'd prefer to see exams later instead of being watered down/lower marks, which I think would lead to them being seen as devalued by employers and perhaps universities.

On the other hand, I recognise the short timescale between exams being sat and results, for university and sixth form decisions.

Third way would be for one or two of the most taken subjects (so at GSCE English Language and Mathematics) to be delayed to July, and marking planned accordingly.

Whatever outcome, it should be decided soon and not even left until the New Year.

OP’s posts: |
TheOnlyLivingBoyInNewCross Mon 31-Aug-20 08:56:43

It's all very well suggesting that exams are delayed to July but I would like whoever proposed this idea to show a basic understanding of the ramifications of that.

I examine for a board which has exam sessions in November and June. This year, the exam I mark is sat in the last week in October. I have to have completed my marking by the second week in December. There is then obviously reviewing of the marking and confirming of grade boundaries to be done after that.

So given a time frame like that - about two months - as long as parents, students, sixth forms and universities are happy for results to be released towards the end of September and this has no knock on effects in terms of students progressing to the next level then, yes, it's a GREAT idea hmm Why don't any of these politicians think before they open their mouths?

keiratwiceknightly Mon 31-Aug-20 09:00:23

Good point about knock on timing. Also, teachers are about to embark on what is likely to be the most difficult academic year of their lives.... and the relief when exam season kicks in during May will never be more necessary. Putting exam season back 6 weeks will finish some.

keiratwiceknightly Mon 31-Aug-20 09:01:33

Time for rigorous coursework in every subject imo. There's time to get this implemented only if govt get their fingers out (unlikely).

bestbefore Mon 31-Aug-20 09:09:24

I think they just need to cut down the content by 20% as they have lost 20% of their classroom time. Make exams modular so schools pick the topics they have learnt/ will focus on and have the exams on that. Can't believe they don't just do that. It's fair then

ChazsBrilliantAttitude Mon 31-Aug-20 09:10:58

DS1 will be going into U6 this year. Based on what I have seen with GCSEs few children will be able to sustain exam level preparation for that long. There is a risk that grades will suffer due to student burn out. They were all exhausted by the end of the GCSEs so to make the year longer may be counterproductive.

swashbucklecheer Mon 31-Aug-20 09:14:46

Schools in NI finish 30th June for the summer. July is too late for us.

Champagneforeveryone Mon 31-Aug-20 09:26:55

DS and I were discussing this earlier, and I wonder if someone wiser than us can explain...
Does it matter if you don't get to learn the whole curriculum in say history? Can you not just rewrite the exam and remove some of the content? So DS would not have studied one or two of the present curriculum topics.

Also, why does it actually matter if students are not as well prepared, as the top x% will still gain a grade 9 etc, it's just that the actual % they achieved would be lower than in previous years?

I know none of it's ideal and as always, some students will be more disadvantaged than others but surely this is going to happen whatever we do?

TheOnlyLivingBoyInNewCross Mon 31-Aug-20 10:37:42

It's far too late to rewrite the exam at this stage. Exams are written about eighteen months to two years in advance of the session for this they'll be required.

To be fair to Ofqual, what they have proposed for History and English Literature GCSE - that all the topics remain on the curriculum but fewer of them are compulsory - is the most sensible solution. This allows teachers to adapt their teaching to allow for that missing term. The problem is that they've done it for so few GCSEs, and made barely any changes to A Level at all except in practical subjects.

The other issue is the lack of parity in what happened last term across the UK. So the school I work at, and my DS's school, continued teaching online. That's two cohorts of students who are exactly where they should be at this stage of their education, and I know they're not the only two schools which did that. That has to be balanced against the schools who delivered no new content last term. This is what creates the problem in terms of setting next summer's grade boundaries - only some of the students are not as well prepared (in terms of content covered, at any rate. I'd argue that every student suffered from the lack of face to face teaching, even those who were having live lessons online).

TeenPlusTwenties Mon 31-Aug-20 11:10:52

There has already been a consultation, and the curriculum/exams are being adjusted for some subjects for GCSE.
e.g. English Lit one of 3 items can be dropped, history & geography have been adapted, practical subjects have been adapted.

I think they could have gone further - e.g. providing more formulae for Foundation Science.

We have taken a bet and booked a holiday for last week July/first week August, as I can't see how they will get exams marked if they leaving things any later, but who knows?

You can't do 'rigorous coursework'. Coursework was so open to abuse when it was used before. Plus this year's cohort have been taught towards doing exams, it really wouldn't be fair to suddenly change the assessment method. I'd rather stick with teacher assessed than go back to 'coursework'.

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