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Students will not sit IGCSE exams in person

Public school students will not take part in the Cambridge checkpoint assessment this year, the Department of Education announced last night.

In addition, IGCSE exams will not be sat in-person at either the Berkeley Institute or CedarBridge Academy this year because of Covid-19 concerns.

A statement from the Department said there had been a “mixed reaction” to the question of going ahead with the Checkpoint assessments, which would usually have been carried out this month.

A spokeswoman said: “We can confirm that due to the current position of our island in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have decided not to administer the Cambridge Checkpoint assessments.

“As these are international assessments, the option of postponing the assessments is not available.

“This decision was not taken lightly, and we recognise that there needs to be a way forward to assess our students to ensure their success.”

IGCSE exams will not be sat in-person and, “instead, we will submit assessed grades to Cambridge for our Senior School students”,the spokeswoman said.

“We held a meeting with Cambridge to discuss possible ways to move forward. While we were given the option to sit in-person exams, it was made clear that any student unable to sit in-person exams due to Covid-19 would not receive a grade.

“Therefore, having assessed grades submitted to Cambridge as we did last year, is the only option to ensure our students receive their grades.

“Our students and educators have worked too hard in the face of incredible challenges from the Covid-19 pandemic to risk not being rewarded for that hard work.”

The Government had said in January that it had intended to go ahead with the tests despite cancellations in the UK caused by the ongoing pandemic.

But parents launched a petition on change.org calling for the exams to be pushed back, with just over 430 people signing the online petition as of Sunday night.

The petition said: “While we as parents and guardians are understanding of the Ministry’s need for sufficient data, we strongly believe that given the current, ever-changing developments, moving forward ’as planned’ would be detrimental to all parties.”

The spokeswoman for the Department of Education said the Checkpoint assessments were separate from final examinations, and served to gauge how the students were progressing.

“The reports provided to teachers and principals enable them to know how each student scored for every question of the assessment, including whether or not a question was answered,” the spokeswoman said.

“This type of information is extremely valuable under normal circumstances, but it becomes even more valuable given the impact that Covid-19 has had on student learning time.

“The Checkpoint results inform the current schools and the receiving Middle and Senior Schools about what students know and do not know.

“Current schools use the information to make adjustments to the delivery of the curriculum, and receiving schools can use the data to plan interventions for incoming students at the start of the school year.

“Additionally, with the results provided in late June / early July of each year, there is also an opportunity for summer intervention activities to help strengthen areas identified as deficits.”

Students usually sit the Cambridge checkpoint assessments during P6 and M3, covering the subjects of English, maths and science.

“While some assume that these assessments reflect only what is taught at the P6 and M3 levels, they are actually based on what students have learnt in Primary School between P2 and P6 and in Middle School, between M1 and M3,” the spokeswoman said.

“We have received correspondence from persons who feel these assessments should be cancelled and also from those who think the assessments should be administered.

“The Department of Education has to consider many factors before a final decision on whether to administer the assessments or not, especially the safety and health, and psychological wellbeing of our students and educators.”

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Published April 19, 2021 at 8:36 am (Updated April 19, 2021 at 9:41 am)

Students will not sit IGCSE exams in person

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