To be Scrapped? Future Of GCSEs Reviewed

Exam board Pearson has launched a major consultation today into the future of qualifications and assessment for students aged 14 to 19 years in the UK, to make the journey fit for the 21st Century.
To be Scrapped? Future Of GCSEs Reviewed
By Carli Allan
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A major consultation has been launched by the exam board Pearson today (February 15) to focus on the future of exams for students aged 14 to 19-years-old. Former UK education secretaries Damian Hinds, Baroness Morris and Lord Blunkett will sit on an expert panel alongside parents, educators, and employers to consider how the existing assessment system can be "fit for the 21st century".

The national consultation follows news in recent weeks that all GCSE and A Level exams are cancelled this year in the UK due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This will be the second year running that students have not sat their exams, and instead received grades based on teacher assessments.

Rod Bristow, president UK & Global Online Learning, Pearson said:

"For the second year running, COVID-19 will force us all to adapt and rethink how we both educate and assess our young people. While we work with the government, schools and colleges and other exam boards to make sure the system delivers for learners in 2021, we also have a responsibility to look further ahead and use this unique moment to consider all of the issues.

"So far, public debate is focussing narrowly on whether GCSEs should be scrapped but we recognise that GCSEs are just one stage in the age 14 to 19 journey. Coherence across all stages of education is essential and Covid aside, we need to ensure what young people learn, how they learn it and how it is assessed, is fit for the 21st century."

The findings of the consultation will be published in an interim report in April, there will be a final report in Autumn 2021.

The consultation will consider three key areas affecting secondary students in the UK:

  • Conditions and Environment: exploring shifting requirements of the digital first generation and how wider economic, technological, and societal trends are impacting both the demands of, and requirements for, today’s learners.
  • Purpose and Value: considering the role that education within the 14-19 phase should play in helping develop confident and well-rounded learners and supporting their life aspirations.
  • Trust and Equity: exploring issues around fairness and coherence in the system to maintain public confidence in qualifications and assessment, and to ensure that the system delivers equitably for all learners and serves the diversity of the UK.

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