Coronavirus: Lockdown testing possible say exam boards

Exam boards representative suggests remote assessments using technology could be used for GCSE and A levels

Catherine Lough

student writing in an exam

A representative of the UK's exam boards has said some form of assessment could go ahead while the country is on lockdown from the coronavirus outbreak.

Prime minister Boris Johnson announced yesterday afternoon that GCSEs and A levels would "not take place as planned" this summer.

Now Tom Bewick, the chief executive of the Federation of Awarding Bodies - a group representing all UK exam boards - has said that teacher assessments with external moderation might be used as a way of assessing pupils, along with the possibility of using technology to assess pupils remotely. 

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Asked whether it was possible to assess pupils during lockdown, he replied, "Absolutely and I think it's important to stress...we will work tirelessly with the exams regulator Ofqual and the Department for Education to ensure no student is penalised this summer."

He also said: "The assessment industry in other forms of exams and qualification for example is well used to doing remote assessment - there's obviously a role potentially for technology. These are the sorts of options we've been working on with ministers and officials behind the scenes.”

Speaking on the BBC's Today programme Mr Bewick said that he appreciated pupils and their parents would be feeling anxious but said there were already "plans well in advance" to ensure assessments went ahead and pupils were not penalised. 

"Obviously because of the government's need to put in place these aggressive social distancing measures there will be no communal examinations but of course, teachers already have ongoing assessments of pupils, there are of course the Sats, the Progress 8 measures and of course there are mock examinations," he said.

"So I think we can arrive at a solution fairly quickly which is about internal assessment, which of course, the teachers have the purview of that with some external moderation and support from the awarding bodies."

Mr Bewick said he was meeting with exams regulator Ofqual today to discuss options and that plans would "move swiftly" over the next few days. 


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author bio

Catherine Lough

Catherine Lough is a reporter at Tes.

Find me on Twitter @CathImogenLough

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