Star comment: Do we go back to normal exams?

Thank heavens for one thing. The "exams," which have really been non-exams, are over, along we must hope with the uncertainties in the academic assessment process which have been such an unwelcome by-product of the pandemic.

GCSE Results for 16 year olds.
GCSE Results for 16 year olds.

School and college pupils have found themselves caught up in a great enforced experiment and one in which there have been different views about what form that experiment should take when it comes to grading pupils when they have not actually taken any exams. Last year the whole process was labelled a fiasco.

This year some of the heat has been taken out of the situation with the employment of teacher assessment. This week the proportion of A-level entries awarded top grades reached a record high. GCSE grades have reached a record high as well.

Amid the celebrations there is an issue for those pupils of the past, and particularly those pupils of the future. On the assumption that things are back to "normal" next year and they take exams in the "normal" way, what are we to think if the grades achieved by students who sit exams in 2022 prove to be not as good as the coronavirus years in which students have not sat exams and have been graded by other means?

They may feel hard done by, and that they have consequently been put at a disadvantage when it comes to securing university places and jobs.

There is a body of academic and wider opinion which calls into question whether exams are really the best way to assess the learning of students. There may be voices which argue that the experiences of 2020 and 2021 actually should form a blueprint for the future.

So that's an examination to come – an examination to determine whether this method of assessment really was a better way, or whether tradition exams are best.

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News