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18 November 2020

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Wales exams scrapped: What's behind the headline?

Liverpool A-Level students protesting

Liverpool A-Level students protesting   (Click to enlarge)

Michelle Francis, Bangor Socialist Students

The decision by the Welsh Government to scrap 2021 end-of-year exams for A-level and GCSE students is a step in the right direction. However, the assessments taking their place are still basically exams.

They are marked externally, they are in exam paper form, and have a time limit. Teachers will be able to alter the content of the exam to reflect what they have had the most teaching time on.

The 'assessments' will take place at different times of the year for different schools. The answers could be all over the internet.

This silly loophole could be closed by replacing phoney exams with proper teacher assessment. And it is still unclear how students taking a BTEC or vocational course will be graded.

From speaking to other students and my own experience too, I can say that teacher evaluation could provide a much more efficient and less stressful way of assessing students. That could be achieved far sooner if students and workers had more power over the curriculum and the ways we are taught and assessed.


Scrap our exams too and bring in teacher assessment

Mia Wroe, Birmingham Socialist Students

Watching thousands of students across the country receive their A-level results this summer was difficult viewing for me and everyone else who grew up in an 'undesirable' postcode. I can remember the nerves opening my own A-level results in 2017.

They were so much more to me than just exams. They were the manifestation of the hard work of me and my single mother, and my ticket to university.

This year, I watched the disappointed faces of my friends in my former college. They were doomed to the pandemic postcode lottery of the 2020 A-level results, until the Tory U-turn.

The class of 2021 is looking down the barrel of sitting GCSE and A-level exams after months of online classes delivered by teachers stretched to the limit by underfunding.

The Welsh Government is placing more trust in its own teachers. They can provide the best assessment of students' progress and the extent to which each individual has been affected by the pandemic.

If Tory education secretary Gavin Williamson were to ask himself: 'What is best for young people?' he may have good reason to follow suit.

Extra work must not be placed in the hands of teaching staff without also providing the essential resources and investment that education is desperate for after years of Tory austerity.

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In The Socialist 18 November 2020:


What we think

Tory crisis cannot be 'reset' - workers need a new mass party


News

Tories in turmoil... 'Reset' the whole system! Fight for socialism

Croydon Council declares bankruptcy - no cuts in Croydon or any other council

System failing thousands of children in care

Race disparity gets worse - fight to improve living standards for all


Covid

Covid, vaccines, 'big pharma' - and the need for socialism


Students

Tories student 'evacuation' plan will not work

Wales exams scrapped: What's behind the headline?


Schools

Campaign for school Covid safety must continue


Workplace news

Women workers need strong trade unions to defend their jobs, pay and services

Optare: Right to strike defended

Overcrowded Little Ilford School strikes against more expansion

Strike action ballot at UEL over job cuts

Hackney council parking services brought in-house


TUSC

After Corbyn: TUSC and the fight for working-class political representation


Campaigns

How will Socialism 2020 work?

Manchester student occupation - end rip-off rent, free education now

#SpyCops inquiry - Revealing police violence against Socialists

Selling the Socialist

Stop Leicester hospital closure


Youth

Young Socialists organising for our future


Obituary

Obituary: Paul Chettle


Letters

The Socialist Inbox


 

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Related links:

Education:

triangleEducation: Workload and inflation goes up, incomes fall

triangleNUS walkout: Organise to fight for free education on 2 March

triangleCovid, stress and cutbacks fuel school staff shortages

triangleUni staff and students must unite to end marketisation and for free education

triangleHigher education disputes

Wales:

triangleStagecoach victory

trianglePanasonic workers break company pay freeze

triangleWales: The Labour-Plaid Cymru agreement - jam tomorrow, maybe

triangleChartism: The world's first working-class movement

Students:

triangleThis is students' chance to fight back - help build 2 March NUS walkout

triangleSouthampton uni ignores staff and students in exam farce

triangleSouthampton student vote for online exams must be accepted

Tory:

triangleIt's my party, and I'll lie if I want to

triangleTory vaccine sacking threat set to deepen NHS staffing crisis

Teachers:

triangleUnion action needed for Covid safety

Socialist Students:

triangleSocialist Students conference

Welsh Government:

triangleWelsh Labour holds on to government but new crises loom

Article dated 18 November 2020

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Sheffield Just Eat strikers step up action and hold mass rally, photo by Alistair Tice

Sheffield Just Eat strikers step up action and hold mass rally: Over 100 trade unionists and students in Sheffield rallied in support of the Just Eat delivery drivers on their 31st day of targeted strike action against company pay cuts. Photo by Alistair Tice

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