UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is being asked to scrap rather than postpone the 2020-21 GCSE and A-Level examinations due to COVID-19 which has disrupted the academic year.
The petition which has been trending on Twitter was apparently put forth by a teacher suggesting that as a result of the “stress and anxiety” caused by the COVID-19, it would be unfair for students to have to write examinations this year.
The teacher goes on to also point out the postponing the examinations would only cause a “logistical nightmare”.
At the time of publishing this article, the online petition at change.org had garnered 7,694 signatures in support of scrapping the exam. In order for the partition to get a response from the UK government, it requires 10,000 signatures and 100,000 for it to be put before parliament for debate
So the question now lies, how do you grade 2020-2021 GCSE and A-Level candidates so that they can progress forward to their next levels of studies if the Prime Minister agrees to scrap the examinations??
The solution according to the petition, is to allow the teachers to use “predicted grades” for the GCSE and A-Level. The solutions listed in the petition are as follows:
“How will this work? Simple… By showing you have as much trust and faith in teachers as you need to have in your NHS and other key personnel over the next few months.
1. Allow teachers to give honest predicted grades for their students. We know them as more than just statistics. We are not going to try to ‘cheat the system’. Students have done the work – the only element they will be missing from their education is the final exam. Will some students gain a better grade than if they sat the final exam? Probably. Will there be others that may well have done better had they had the opportunity to sit the exam under ‘normal’ conditions? Likely, but these are not normal conditions and teacher predictions will likely be a more accurate reflection of the vast majority of students educational journey over the past few years than a couple of hours writing a paper in these extraordinary times.
2. Allow any students who feel they could have done better than their prediction to re-sit the exam in November. This would be a completely voluntary option to be decided by the individual.
3. University places were offered on predicted grades, so there should be little effect there. In essence all places would be awarded ‘unconditionally’.
4. Suspend all Ofsted inspections for the 2020-2021 academic year. Allow schools and students time to recover from any gap in education caused by closures without the added pressure of judgements by the inspectorate.
We are trained professionals. You defer to medical experts in a time of crisis. You also need to defer to your educational experts during this same time.
Whether the Priminister Boris Johnson will allow teachers to hold the fate of their students in their hands to that extent yet to be seen.
There is the fear of bias and the credibility of the grades given to the graduating classes off 2020-21 will always be questioned.
Although the idea of having the UK Prime Minister scrap rather than postpone the GSCE and A-Level examinations because of COVID-19 is perfectly understandable and justified, the solution as to ‘what then’ in regards to the graduating class grades may end up causing more “stress and anxiety” than the actual exams themselves.