Call for less emphasis on exams in future as pupils in Wales receive their A-Level results today
Plaid Cymru have called for less emphasis on exams in future as thousands of pupils receive their A-level results across Wales today.
Grades overall are expected to be lower than during the pandemic but higher than 2019.
This year’s grades aim to reflect a midway point between 2021 – when pupils were assessed by their teachers – and 2019.
Senedd members from across the political spectrum wished good luck to students on their results day.
But Plaid Cymru spokesperson for Children and Young people, Heledd Fychan MS added that they believed that there were better ways of measuring students’ abilities than exams.
“Congratulations to everyone who received their A Level results today,” she said. “It’s fair to say that all learners have faced all kinds of challenges due to Covid, and have done their best under difficult circumstances.
“Plaid Cymru continues to question whether sitting exams is the best way to measure young people’s abilities and attainments.
“We believe it is time to explore putting greater emphasis on continuous assessment rather than examinations.”
Students who sat exams for the first time since before the coronavirus outbreak are expected to face tough competition for university places, with institutions known to have been more conservative in their offers this year.
Admissions service Ucas has said it expects record or near-record numbers of students to get onto their first-choice courses, but warned the process will not be “pain-free” for all, as some students are left disappointed.
Ucas chief executive Clare Marchant this week said Government departments and regulators are “working to make sure that, through all of our social media messaging, that support is around” for students on Thursday.
The school leaders’ union NAHT also paid tribute to pupils for their “resilient and tenacious” approach to meeting the challenges they have faced.
Paul Whiteman, union general secretary, said: “They have experienced large amounts of disruption due to Covid throughout their courses and have worked hard with their school’s support to achieve today’s results.
“For many students receiving results today, these will have been the first formal national exams they have ever taken.”
Russell Hobby, chief executive of Teach First, said the “sad truth” is that those who do not achieve grades that reflect their true potential “will be disproportionately from poorer backgrounds”, describing the attainment gap in this country as one that remains “stark”.
Childline said its counselling sessions about exam results worries were higher every month since January compared to the same period in 2020/21, with the greatest number taking place in June.
Shaun Friel, the charity’s director, said: “Children have had to contend with a huge amount because of the pandemic and it’s no surprise that with exams returning to normal for the first time this year, we’re seeing a rise in anxiety levels.
“We hear from lots of children who are concerned about their results and it’s really important they know that there is someone they can talk to who will listen to their worries. This could be a teacher, careers adviser, parent, carer or Childline.”
Those in need can speak to a Childline counsellor by calling 0800 1111, or using the message boards.
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I have always thought that exams were a poor way of awarding qualifications, continual assessment is far superior in my view.
Despite being a member, I find Plaid’s education policies highly disappointing. Here we go again on this debate which is as old as the sun. Coursework vs exams. Trouble is that folk express an opinion one way or the other and it becomes an act of raising the flag before hostilities commence. None of which is of any use whatsoever. The trouble with coursework is that it has to be moderated to ensure everyone is marking the same within a degree of tolerance. Nearly always we come back to some kind of external assessment that is easier to moderate before… Read more »