"Outdated" exam model holding our students back
Plaid Cymru calls for 2020-21 grades to be based on teacher assessments
While the new Curriculum and Assessment (Wales) Bill makes its passage through the Senedd, Plaid Cymru has raised concerns that there will be a greater disconnect between the way our students are taught, and the way they are assessed.
Siân Gwenllian MS, Plaid Cymru Shadow Education Minister, has called the current exam based method of assessing students “outdated” and has called for “serious reforms” in the way students are assessed.
Ms Gwenllian MS has called for the Welsh Government to give reassurance that 2020-21 school grades will also be based on teacher assessment. This is particularly important for next year’s A-level students who opt out of using their AS level results towards their final grade. If teacher assessments are not used, then some may find that their final mark is based solely on exam performance.
Concerns have also been raised about such reliance on the exam model of assessment given the plans to introduce a new curriculum, which may serve to increase the disconnect between the way pupils are taught, and the way they are assessed.
When introducing the new curriculum, Education Minister Kirsty Williams said “It will support young people to develop higher standards of literacy and numeracy, to become more digitally and bilingually competent, and evolve into those enterprising, creative and critical thinkers I'm sure that we all want to see.”
However Ms Gwenllian MS has said that while Wales “clings” to exam based form of assessment, which relies on students’ ability for instant recall and a number of external circumstances, “the same inequalities that were so horribly exposed during the A-level fiasco will continue to hang over the heads of our learners.”
Siân Gwenllian MS, Plaid Cymru Shadow Education Minister, said:
“If there is one thing we have learnt about our education system during the coronavirus crisis is that the way our learners are assessed doesn’t necessarily correlate to their ability in any given subject, rather it’s based on how well they perform on the day. It depends on all sorts of external circumstances, or sometimes even just good luck.
“The cruelty this year, of course, was that some students were originally marked down for bad performance in an exam they didn’t even sit. While this inequality has been addressed by the Welsh Government, the question remains over how well exams reflect student ability, and how fair an exam-based form of assessment really is.
“For those students sitting A-levels at the end of the 2020-21 school year, who may not have AS level exam results to fall back on, I call on the Welsh Government to give reassurance now that grades will again be based on teacher assessments, rather than students having to rely on an exam performance following such a disrupted educational journey.
“My concern is that this disconnect between teaching and assessing will only widen when the new curriculum is passed. No matter how progressive a new curriculum is, all the while Wales clings to an outdated form of exam based assessment, the same inequalities that were so horribly exposed during the A-level fiasco will continue to hang over the heads of our learners.”