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PA David Jones
PA David Jones
UK News

Christian teaching group says changes in exams won't make students less worthy candidates for future jobs

by Kelly Valencia

Students in England will be given more generous GCSE and A-Level grades next year to compensate for the impact coronavirus has had on their learning.

The Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has announced a new set of measures to "ensure fairness and support students". 

Pupils will receive advance notice of some of the topics of their tests, formula sheets to reduce the amount of content to remember and additional "back-up" exams so they can have a second try. 
However, some people are concerned the changes have made exams "too easy". 

Speaking to Premier, Alastair Reid, general secretary of The Independent Schools Christian Alliance, said people should acknowledge the extraordinary circumstances. 

"Like with any declarations and decisions there are going to be concerns and criticisms," he said. "I'm not sure the term 'easier' is the right term. I think it's just different," he added. 

"In years to come, employers perhaps will look at the cohorts of 2020-2021 and say 'well, your exams have been marked or have been graded in a different way' but it doesn't mean that the young people are any less worthy. It's just going to be different," he continued. 

Christian teacher Josh Hill says calling the exams easier is not a fair reflection of the changes and believes the measures are helping achieve balance in the number of students that pass exams. 

"Since the change in grading systems, it has been fairly standard practice that grade boundaries have been adjusted to give proportionate grades to previous years.

"Aligning this with summer 2020 distributions (which were higher than 2019) will help to diminish fears that students taking their exams this summer will be at a disadvantage when applying for university places compared to those who have deferred from summer 2020."

The announcement has caused some relief. Mr Reid believes the measures have removed uncertainty and are "a big help where stress and anxiety are concerned."

Mr Hill feels that many students still feel unprecedented pressure when taking mock exams in case there is another change and summer exams do not happen. 

However, AlastaIr Reid thinks that "by and large" changes will stay with some expected "tweaks along the way".

Mr Reid wants to encourage Christians to pray for students as well as teachers. 

"I think one prayer should be: let's have no more coming and going or U-turns," he said. "secondly, praying - and it's not only for the students, but it's also for the teachers - how to manage these changes and still do some assessments. That they will be able to do so with a sense of peace and of calm, in spite of the turmoil that's going on," he added. 

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