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Covid-19 and exams

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Mrs Blag, Mar 15, 2020.

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  1. Mrs Blag

    Mrs Blag New commenter

    So I’ve just been reading Geoff Barton’s comments about school closures and exams this summer, and that Ofqual will be busy contingency planning. Arlene Foster’s talking about a possible 16 week closure of Northern Ireland schools ‘at some point but not immediately’.

    Does anyone have any ideas regarding the possible scenarios for GCSEs and A Levels this year? For university places? And even for exam marking!!?
     
  2. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    No one knows, so no one can really answer your question.

    I have wondered if mock results will be used.
     
  3. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter


    I don't see how they can be as all schools conduct their mocks in different ways (and what's to stop a department or school artificially 'boosting' its results?!?)
     
  4. Skeoch

    Skeoch Star commenter

    We can't tell. But Ofqual had previously published plans for major disruption, as have the Awarding Bodies, even if they are not public documents. Keep calm and carry on revising!
     
  5. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    but students are regularly just awarded their mock results as their real results when they are unable to sit the real exam for some reason or another
     
  6. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter


    Not in my experience. The mock results CAN be used to show that candidate A (who was ill for their final exam) was better than B, not as good as C and the same as D - and the Board then looks at the 'real' results for B, C & D. But if all exams are called off, they can't do this.
     
  7. yodaami2

    yodaami2 Lead commenter

    No, I think that’s Predicted Results.
     
  8. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    o, ok. Our mock results become out predicted results, in most cases.
     
  9. Skeoch

    Skeoch Star commenter

    That's not quite the case. I can't remember the exact details but candidates have to have done some components of the qualification in order to be awarded a grade.
     
  10. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    maybe, I don't have any recent experience. I have in the past had students awarded their mock grades as real grades for reasons such as being arrested and put in prison, then found innocent, or being seriously ill in hospital. They hadn't done any part of the exam. But all such experiences I have had have been more than 5 years ago.
     
  11. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    I am personally glad I am not in Year 11 or Year 13 this year. Exam years are stressful enough without something like this going on (although it will be the modern day equivalent of ‘I survived the Blitz’ , ‘My GCSEs were in 2020....’

    We had some schools artificially improving grades in the recent past. It was called ‘assessed coursework.’ And some schools will game the system as far as they can get away with to get students (and themselves) the ‘best outcomes’ if it does come down to teacher assessment.

    It is a really hard issue. The timing of Covid 19 does look utterly atrocious in terms of exams with a possible peak coinciding slap bang with exam season. Even if Boris keeps the schools open, we could have a situation with mass absences, teacher shortages and a shortage of invigilators.

    Here are the options I see....

    1. Base grades on teacher assessment (if schools close.)
    2. (This might sound bonkers but there is logic to it....) Bring the exam season FORWARD and get exams out of the way by Easter. Lower the grade boundaries accordingly due to less revision. (The counter arguments are stressing the kids and the fact they might still have not completed the syllabus.)
    3. Exams to be sat normally even if schools are otherwise closed (Why not keep schools open to Y11 and Y13 only......)
    4. Sit exams online (logistical nightmare etc)
    5. ‘Void’ the academic year and temporarily put Y11 and Y13 back a year (two lots of college and uni entry logistical nightmare again)
    6 (and the only sensible one IMO) Push exams back to say late July, early August and have a quick marking turnaround once the peak of Covid 19 should have passed. No doubt teachers will complain they don’t want to be in school then and obviously childcare issues fo4 teachers with kids.

    There is no easy solution here I’m afraid but then life isn’t easy.......
     
  12. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    What if teachers have holidays booked?
     
  13. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    Or of course the kids....... If we’re really lucky on 6 mid July last 2 weeks might work (pain for private schools.)

    Exams held in the 6 week holiday don’t necessarily require all teachers, or even any teacher to be in. I’m sure there are plenty of people who would jump at the chance of a bit of paid work in the Summer!
     
  14. Nemo88

    Nemo88 New commenter

    In Scotland, delaying the exams until August or September brings all sorts of additional problems. The SQA exams are due to start at the end of April and as is common in Scotland, we start our new school year timetable at the start of June, then break up at start of July and back to school in mid-August. I'm worried how this would pan out for teaching the new cohort, especially in exam classes; shortening time to cover content considerably . I also mark for SQA and will definitely reconsider doing so if it means marking at the busy start of a school year. I don't know what's happening in England and Wales but we have been advised (by SQA) to collect candidate evidence as if we were submitting an 'Exceptional Circumstance Appeal' for ALL students. This leads me to believe they may work on teacher estimated grades for this cohort.
     
  15. yodaami2

    yodaami2 Lead commenter

    Our kids always do significantly better than the mocks! Consequently when we fill out the predicteds for the exam boards they are higher. You’re missing a trick here at f you use mocks. Or do yours tally?
     
  16. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    well, they tend to tally, some go up, some go down
     
  17. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    That's what I was going to say!
    Any school where the results are generally the same as saying no one learns between the two, which is seriously concerning.

    KS1/2 SATs Year 4 times tables and year 1 phonics can all simply be abandoned with no ill effects.
    GCSEs and A Levels will have contingency plans from the boards and Ofqual. They always have contingency plans for major disruption to exams, no real choice. Just this year they'll actually have to use them.
     
    yodaami2 and Pomza like this.
  18. Jellybaby72

    Jellybaby72 New commenter

    I guess if it is a coursework subject (like art) then the grades would be accepted as 60 % coursework has already been completed then if they add the 40% from the mock, then they would be able to calculate the grade - the issue for me is that several of my students are looking likely to perform significantly better in the final exam so I don’t know how it will go. I do wish government or exam boards would communicate what the plan is whilst In school though. I phoned the exam board on Tuesday to be told that everything is still going ahead as planned
     
  19. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    I think this is the time to change the university academic year. I think many of them are going to tell students not to come back after Easter. So push the whole lot back a term, use the autumn to finish off the current lot, then start the new academic year in January. There might need to be some exceptions - for example, it might be better not to delay qualification of teachers.
    That then means A-levels can be delayed to the summer or even September.

    January start has been suggested for universities before, as then applications can be post A-level. One of the arguments against has been the cashflow problem of universities having a gap for a term, but that's now been forced upon them anyway.
     
  20. gainly

    gainly Star commenter

    As a private tutor, many of my students in different schools tell me that their schools use past papers as mock exams, leading to very widespread cheating. Clearly any grades based on this would be very unreliable.
     
    ajrowing likes this.

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