Call for Scotland to follow Wales and cancel exams

Cancelling National 5 exams while pressing on with Higher and Advanced Higher exams is described as 'bizarre halfway house'
10th November 2020, 2:41pm

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Call for Scotland to follow Wales and cancel exams

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archive/call-scotland-follow-wales-and-cancel-exams
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The Scottish government is facing calls to follow the example of Wales by cancelling the 2021 Higher and Advanced Higher exams.

The Scottish Greens, who have repeatedly called for exams to be cancelled to take pressure off teachers and students during the coronavirus pandemic, reacted after the Welsh government today announced that it would not run conventional exams in 2021 at GCSE, AS level or A level.

On 7 October, Scottish education secretary John Swinney announced that the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) National 5 exams would be cancelled - with teachers' judgement relied on instead - but that the plan remained for Higher and Advanced Higher exams to run in some form.


Background: National 5 exams cancelled amid coronavirus fears

In Wales: GCSE and A level 2021 exams are scrapped

In England: Scrapping exams risks 'harm', warns Ofsted


Scottish Greens education spokesperson Ross Greer said: "The Welsh government has taken the only responsible approach by cancelling all 2021 exams. It's not fair to ask pupils who have missed weeks of class time to sit an exam next May on the same basis as those who have been fortunate enough to avoid any disruption.

"The Scottish government has so far opted for a bizarre halfway house by cancelling Nat 5 exams but pressing ahead with Highers and Advanced Highers. It's becoming increasingly clear that this is a mistake which John Swinney should correct immediately."

This is the ONLY fair approach to take next year. Credit to the Welsh Government for making the call.

Cancelling Nat 5s exams but scheduling the Highers & Advanced Highers is a mistake the Scottish Government should correct immediately. https://t.co/MDFogK7uO7

- Ross Greer (@Ross_Greer) November 10, 2020

Mr Greer added: "The only reliable solution is to cancel the 2021 exams now and grade Highers and Advanced Highers on the same basis as National 5s. Assessment based on work throughout the year can take into account whether a pupil has missed substantial periods of time due to self-isolation and removes entirely the risk of exams being cancelled at the last minute, as they were this year."

In England today, Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman said that cancelling next year's GCSE and A-level exams would take away so much of the structure and motivation for pupils that many would not return for the rest of the academic year.

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