Calls for an overhaul of how children are assessed after GCSE results
PUBLISHED: 18:30 20 August 2020
Students across the region received their GCSE results today, amid calls for an overhaul of how pupils are assessed.
After a last minute U-turn from the government, pupils were awarded their predicted grades – meaning overall there are a larger number of students with higher grades and far fewer have been disappointed in the way A-Levels did last week.
Many schools across Suffolk and north Essex chose not to reveal their results, but praised their students who have experienced the most turbulent year in education in recent history.
Geoff Barton, former head of King Edward VI School in Bury St Edmunds and general secretary of the Association of Schools and College leaders, praised students and schools.
But he criticised the education system for being “obsessed” with statistics and called for an inquiry.
He said: “We simply must revolutionise assessment, utilise technology and provide a variety of assessment approaches.
“We have fixed in aspic the distribution of grades, and every year we consign a proportion of young people to leaving school feeling that they have fallen short.
“This year more students will receive higher grades because of the decision to revert to centre-assessed grades.
“But this is by accident rather than by design. In the longer term, we have to think again about our statistics-fixated system. We have to do better.”
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Graham White, secretary of the Suffolk National Education Union (NEU) branch, said that it is absolutely right and proper that students should get the grades “they have earned”.
He said: “They should get the correct grades on the correct day yet we are still waiting for BTEC results which is an unacceptable situation.
“I appreciate Covid and difficult times but this problem was known about by Pearson, the Department For Education and government some time ago.
“I hope parents, pupils and teachers do not lose faith in the system put in place however there does need to be a rethink on exams for 2021.”
Jerry Glazier, Essex NEU branch secretary agreed with Mr White and says the pandemic has demonstrated the flaws in the current education system.
“We can’t afford a repetition of this next year if we have a second wave of Covid-19,” he said. “We have called for a radical reform where students are properly recognised and the system is fair to them.
“This demonstrates the current system is not fit for purpose to accommodate all abilities and all learning styles, and this is a huge wake up call for the government.”
Labour councillor Jack Abbott, Suffolk spokesperson for Children’s Services, Education and Skills, has also criticised the government for not releasing BTEC results on time and said: “I do feel incredibly sorry for all the BTec students who had their results pulled at the last minute.
“Even after Gavin Williamson’s U-turn following the A-Level results debacle, there remains so much confusion, with students and educational settings trying to unpick the mess the government have made.
“Young people have been failed so badly.”
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