Schools in Wales to determine exam grades

Welsh Education Minister Kirsty Williams has confirmed that pupils in Wales studying for GCSE, AS and A levels this year will receive grades determined by their school or college.

The policy decision follows further disruption to face-to-face learning caused by the coronavirus pandemic, and arrives after recommendations were made to the government from the design and delivery advisory group that is made up of head teachers and college leaders.

The group was established in December by Williams to ‘support well-being, fairness and progression’ for learners taking exams this year. As such, grades determined by a pupil’s school or college will be based on work they have completed over their course.

She said: “The worsening situation with the pandemic has meant we have no choice but to revisit our approach to ensure wellbeing and public confidence in our qualifications system. The proposals we are announcing today puts trust in teachers’ and lecturers’ knowledge of their learners’ work, as well as their commitment to prioritise teaching and learning in the time available to support learners’ progression.     

“Teaching the core content and aspects of each course remains my absolute priority for learners in exam years, so they are supported to progress with certainty into their next steps, with confidence in their grades.

“We are working with higher education institutions to look at how we can support learners through this transition, and can provide a bridge into university courses. I would like to thank each and every learner and education professional for their ongoing flexibility and adaptability in responding to this incredibly difficult situation. Their continuing commitment in the face of adversity is admirable, as is their individual and collective contribution to the national effort against Covid-19.”

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