Wales’s education minister has promised a “transparent and robust” approach to assessing universities after confirming that A-level exams will be scrapped in the country next year.
Kastry Williams said students’ grades would be based on teacher assessments, and changes in the number of students at different schools over time would allow them to qualify for class due to the coronavirus epidemic. GCSE and AS level exams will also be canceled.
The move comes after school dropouts entered the university earlier this year on the basis of teacher-predictive grades, abandoning an algorithm designed to recreate the probable results of formal exams, raising concerns about backwardness. Children and school children are being punished unjustly.
Ms Williams said the scoring process should include “assessments that will be externally scheduled and marked, but will be provided in a classroom environment under the supervision of a teacher”. Teachers will be able to decide when it is best to take these tests.
The Minister said the Welsh Government would adopt a consensual national approach to school-based assessments to guarantee consistency.
“We are optimistic that the public health situation will improve, but the reason for my decision is fairness; Ms Williams said learning time in schools and colleges would be very different and in this situation it was impossible to guarantee level playing for exams.
“We have consulted with universities across the UK and confirmed that they are accustomed to accepting a wide range of qualifications. They expect a transparent and robust approach that provides evidence of the trainee’s knowledge and competence.
“Our intended approach does just that, because it is designed to teach and learn for as long as possible.
“Canceling exams provides time for training and to continue throughout the summer, to enhance the knowledge, skills and confidence in our students that they decide to pursue.”
Ms Williams added that full plans would be drawn up for the period “to provide time for implementation from January and we have assumed that assessment activities will not begin until mid-spring”.
The Westminster government has insisted that the test will go ahead in England, but that most tests will be taken three weeks later than usual to address the disruption caused by Covid-19.