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Welsh government announces exam results review

4 weeks ago 23
Students holding placard calling for grades to be unlocked Image caption Students had called on the government to use teacher-predicted grades

Details of an independent review into the handling of academic results in Wales have been announced by the education minister.

Kirsty Williams said it was "essential that lessons are learned" from this year's experience.

With no exams because of coronavirus, thousands of A-level grades were initially downgraded but teachers' estimates were given after a backlash.

Ms Williams apologised "directly and unreservedly" to thousands affected.

The issue meant 42% of grades were initially downgraded from the teachers' original predictions.

But after a protest outside the Senedd and a petition that was signed by 22,000 people, predicted grades were eventually given.

This also meant that GCSE results, announced the following week, used the same format.

Ms Williams has now confirmed an independent review "will consider key issues that have emerged from the arrangements which were put in place for this summer's exams".

"It is essential that lessons are learned from this year's experience so that the review can provide recommendations and considerations for approaches for 2021," she said.

"These recommendations will be centred on the needs of our learners and their progression, and on the continued need to maintain standards and the integrity of the education system and qualifications here in Wales."

Image copyright Matthew Horwood Image caption Happy students in Swansea - but not all A-level pupils got the grades they expected

The review will be chaired by the director of the Open University in Wales, Louise Casella.

Ms Williams added that "given the pressing need to put measures in place for the 2021 exam series", she had asked for an interim report of key findings to be ready by the end of October.

A final report would follow by mid-December, she said.

But ColegauCymru said it was concerned there was not enough time for proper scrutiny by the Senedd in its final autumn term.

The education charity added it wanted the review to examine why "the needs of vocational learners were often side-lined and overlooked" and to "pay specific attention to the lack of a substantive and accepted examination and moderation process".

Chief executive Iestyn Davies said: "We welcome the announcement that Louise Casella will lead the review.

"We pledge, as a sector, to support her work so as to reach a resolution that will avoid a repetition of what we have seen this summer."

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