The exam board Pearson has launched a “major” consultation into the future of exams

The first part of the research will be a national six week consultation to get views from students, parents and the sector on how the assessment system can be “fit for the 21st century”. The Covid-19 pandemic and cancellation of exams in 2020 and 2021 have led to a growing debate over the future of assessment, with calls for GCSEs to be scrapped. Teacher assessments are to replace exams this year, with further details of the system due to be set out next week. More at: Schoolsweek

Covid hits exam-taking and poorer pupils worst, study finds

Children studying for exams and those from disadvantaged families are the most likely to have suffered severe disruption to their learning and motivation during the pandemic, according to the largest published study of its impact on pupils in England. More in: The Guardian

Global exam disruption continues into its second year

The disruption of school-leaving exams which determine entry to university is now entering its second year as countries suffer second and third waves of COVID-19 infections. It has an effect well beyond the individual country’s exams as universities around the world try to assess the varied impact for international student admissions and attempts to be fair to students Read more at: University World News

International schools split on IGCSE and International A-level exams plans 

When it was announced on 8 January that IGCSE and International A-level exams would go ahead, eyebrows were raised. A key concern was that pressing ahead with exams in international schools ignored the fact that every nation was in a different situation with the pandemic – some were teaching in school as normal, some were spending months teaching remotely. Read more at: Tes News

Teachers’ grades to replace A-levels and GCSEs in England

Teachers’ estimated grades will be used to replace cancelled GCSEs and A-levels in England this summer, says Education Secretary Gavin Williamson. He told MPs he would “trust in teachers rather than algorithms”, a reference to the U-turn over last year’s exams.For primaries, he confirmed there would be no Year 6 Sats tests this year. Read more at: BBC News Also: England’s school chaos deepens as Williamson fails to explain exam plan (The Guardian)

Timms outcomes over 2020

“BEHIND THE NUMBERS: A DIVE INTO ENGLAND’S TIMSS 2019 RESULTS” is a free online event hosted by UCL in London on Wednesday 3rd February 2021, between 14.00 – 17.00. via Zoom. Register at

Colleges should gather more data to equitably assess and grade students in the future

What data do we need, asks Justin Westerfield, to make an equitable contingency plan for assessing and grading students in the future? The year 2020 will be remembered as the year of COVID-19. Institutions of higher education initially responded similarly to the pandemic by closing their doors and switching to remote learning. But their grading policies, hurriedly made in response to the crisis, varied wildly. That became the source of the nickname “the asterisk semester,” which slowly became the asterisk year. Continue reading at:

Higher exams to be cancelled for Scottish pupils

Education Secretary John Swinney said the decision was based on the disruption that Covid has caused to the education system rather than safety concerns.The move means that pupils’ final grades will be based on the judgement of their teachers.The country’s National 5 exams have already been cancelled.There were more than 200,000 entries for Higher and Advanced Higher courses this year Continue reading at: BBC News