Exams 2021: iGCSE and IA levels cancelled in the UAE

A directive from the nation's Ministry of Education means schools must switch to teacher-assessed grades

Tes Reporter

What it’s like to have your exams cancelled – twice

IGCSE and IA-level exams in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have been cancelled by Cambridge International owing to a directive from the nation’s Ministry of Education.

​The move means students at international schools in the UAE will now receive all their grades based on teacher assessments – something many had been calling for amid concerns that the move for exams to go ahead would be unfair on students.

Cambridge International confirmed the news in a statement sent to Tes: "Following a directive from the Ministry of Education in the UAE, cancelling all international exams, we will work with schools to ensure students entered for the June 2021 exam series can still receive grades using teacher assessment."

The move appears linked to a statement on the UAE's Ministry of Education website from Saturday, which said "alternative assessment methods" were being offered to international schools.

"The Ministry of Education has decided to provide alternative assessment methods for international examinations for students of private schools that apply the British curriculum and the International Baccalaureate curriculum for the academic year 2020-2021," it said.

"The ministry affirmed that this step reflects the confidence in private international schools to prepare or adopt solid evaluation methodologies that benefit from their long experience in evaluation procedures, approved in their parent systems, and to build on them in light of changing circumstances or capabilities available to them."

The move will likely intensify protests in other nations from students and schools where exams are still going ahead amid concerns that it will not provide a level playing field for these students.

Last week, it was revealed that any students unable to sit any component of a Cambridge International exam would not be eligible for a teacher-assessed grade either – leaving some students at risk of having to wait an entire year to attend university.

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