This years crop of GCSE and A Level exams taken by children in Wales has shown an alarming decline in performance. This has stranded many students wanting to take degree courses at university. But the real concern is the change in the educational policy introduced in Wales that abandoned annual exams and tests which monitored learning progress which seems to have created the downfall.
The ideal seemed well founded. Scrap the tests which previously involved extensive periods of grooming and practice in how to pass the exams. Instead allocate this time – estimated at nine weeks per year, towards further learning. The concept seemed ideal, it made logical sense and in theory should have improved the range of education for Welsh children. But something has gone wrong in the equation. By not honing children in exam technique and assessing their performance annually seems to interrupted the ability to pass exams. Results are poorer than in England which maintained the status quo.
The experiment is an eye opener but maybe should not be abandoned wholeheartedly. This pedagogical conundrum need further investigation. The bench mark of exam performance in England is far from ideal. Exam results have been manipulated by children taking the easier subjects. The need for Maths and the sciences, which could help students in future careers in this changing world, have swapped for and abundance of courses in media studies etc.
Wales had a problem which needs significant soul searching to modify the measured outcome in final exams. The Educational authourities must accept that the educational benefit of allocating those precious nine weeks into learning rather than exam techniques. But for the sake of good order they also have to come up with a better measure of ability and academic progress. Now is not the time to throw the baby out with the bathwater. more..the implications for Wales’ school system