Updated: Apr 23, 2021
King Edward's has been able to draw on the experience of the large number of examiners and senior examiners on our staff to determine a clear direction for all students this summer.
Central to our decision making has been the concepts of fairness, accessibility and student workload.
Those schools not doing formal assessments are running with a series of 6 or 8 tests, in the classroom, in each subject: that's 60 - 80 tests in a 4 - 6 week period. Most students nationally still don't know the timing of these tests, or in some cases how they are being assessed and what they are being assessed on.
We rejected this approach very early on for three key reasons.
Firstly, it means daily testing in multiple lessons every single day: 60 compulsory tests, with no choice in 20-30 school days compared to 20 papers with choice and optionality.
Secondly, those tests will occur with a lack of coordination that means students are at serious risk of burning out under the daily pressure of multiple testing, in multiple lessons.
Thirdly, it means significant disadvantage for students who have some form of additional need; require extra time; need a scribe or have other needs.
By comparison formal assessments mean fairness. Fairness for those with additional needs; fairness by creating an assessment timetable that spaces assessments out and fairness because this enables students to prepare and plan their revision.
It also provides fairness by providing choice. Early on we quickly realised that splitting one traditional exam paper into 3 or 4 smaller classroom tests also removed choice and optionality, replacing this with compulsory testing on every single aspect of the course.
Given all of the disadvantages of classroom testing the simple security; optionality; accessibility and planned approach afforded by 2 papers per subject, sat over a planned timetable seemed far fairer.