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SQA: Covid exam replacement made some teachers consider quitting

by timesverge

CHANGES to nationwide assessments put in place in 2021 when exams have been cancelled due to the Covid pandemic considerably elevated instructor workload and made some academics take into account leaving the career, analysis revealed right now exhibits.

The Scottish {Qualifications} Authority (SQA) research discovered many academics hoped “the “various certification mannequin” (ACM) would by no means be used once more.

Most employees questioned stated their workload in 2021 was a lot increased than in a traditional 12 months; 81 per cent stated their workload was “a lot increased” than normal; 15 per cent stated it was “increased”; and 4 per cent stated it was “about the identical”.

“A great variety of respondents argued that the considerably elevated workload in 2021 was troublesome and nerve-racking (‘nearly unmanageable’, ‘just about unworkable’) and expressed the hope that the system wouldn’t be used once more.

“Certainly, multiple acknowledged that the expertise had made them query their continued involvement within the instructing career,” stated the report.

The most typical motive cited regarding additional work was elevated marking, although academics additionally pointed to additional time being wanted for high quality assurance procedures like cross-marking and verification, in addition to the time wanted to develop assessments and scheduling them whereas grappling with staffing points brought on by absence.  

“A number of respondents urged that the £400 compensation that they’d acquired was derisory and would quantity to considerably lower than minimal wage when in comparison with the additional work the ACM had incurred for practitioners,” the report stated.

Nonetheless, the report additionally revealed that the majority academics believed the grades their learners acquired have been honest (77 per cent thought the grades have been honest; 13 per cent thought they have been unfair), and over 90 per cent felt assured or very assured making marking judgements (92 per cent).

In distinction, pupils discovered the ACM helped lowered strain and stress with many preferring steady evaluation to sitting exams.

Nonetheless, criticism by pupils of the substitute system included over evaluation and issues over equity.

Learners have been much less more likely to agree the outcomes they acquired in 2021 have been honest: 69 per cent agreed or strongly agreed their outcomes have been honest, and 34 per cent stated they have been happy with the general design of the evaluation course of in 2021.

Causes for emotions of unfairness included lack of instructing time due to Covid, the amount of evaluation that passed off over a brief house of time after the lockdown in early 2021, and the truth that examination papers have been leaked on-line, giving some college students an unfair benefit.

College students additionally took problem with the differing approaches taken to resitting assessments relying on the varsity. The report discovered some faculties and councils banned resits however in others “learners have been granted a number of makes an attempt at assessments through resits”.

Academics urged numerous issues that might have improved the 2021 various certification mannequin, together with “higher communication from SQA, extra rigorous high quality assurance and a extra uniform strategy to marking throughout faculties and native authorities”.

On total judgments by each learners and academics the report stated: “Almost 40 per cent of learners have been happy with the evaluation course of in 2021; nonetheless, the identical proportion have been dissatisfied.

“Over 40 per cent of practitioners have been dissatisfied with the general design of the ACM in 2021, in comparison with simply over a 3rd who have been happy.”

The SQA analysis was primarily based on surveys carried out by the SQA in November 2021.

In whole, survey responses have been acquired from 1,210 learners and 482 practitioners from faculties and schools throughout Scotland; 83 per cent have been from state faculties.

In-depth interviews have been additionally carried out with learners, practitioners, and principal assessors from December 2021 to February 2022.

The report – entitled Experiences of the 2021 Various Certification Mannequin (ACM) – is considered one of numerous items of analysis revealed by the SQA right now.

It’s revealed at a big second with an ongoing unbiased overview of evaluation and {qualifications} led by Professor Louise Hayward and up to date requires there to be much less of a deal with end-of-year exams sooner or later, in addition to extra deal with instructor judgement.

Martyn Ware, head of coverage, analysis and requirements on the SQA, stated: “The Covid pandemic introduced unprecedented challenges for learners, academics, lecturers and the broader schooling neighborhood right here in Scotland, in the remainder of the UK and internationally.

“As Scotland’s nationwide awarding physique, it was important for us to guage the choice certification mannequin that was put in place in 2021, and to listen to the lived expertise of those that used it.

“The stories have helped to construct an image of the experiences of learners, academics and lecturers from throughout Scotland in 2021. They mirror the varied and infrequently differing experiences and views of our schooling neighborhood. For instance, whereas some felt positively towards the ACM, others reported feeling extra stress or having a better workload than in a traditional examination 12 months.

“The findings mirror the significance of the continued nationwide discussions round the way forward for {qualifications} and evaluation in Scotland as we glance to the long run, in addition to highlighting the potential challenges of reaching a consensus on what adjustments could also be acceptable.”

Mr Ware added: “We’re immensely grateful to the learners, academics and lecturers who gave their time to share their experiences to assist inform the content material of the analysis.”

In 2020-21, the schooling system in Scotland, like elsewhere world wide, was required to adapt to an ever-changing scenario due to the disruption brought on by the pandemic. 

SQA developed the Various Certification Mannequin (ACM) along side sector stakeholders following the Scottish Authorities’s bulletins in October, and December 2020 cancelling exams for Nationwide 5 programs, and Highers and Superior Highers programs, respectively.

The ACM was primarily based on demonstrated attainment, whereby academics and lecturers needed to collect proof of a candidates’ studying and expertise earlier than utilizing their skilled judgement to find out provisional grades for his or her learners.

The mannequin – initially revealed in December 2020 to accommodate the cancellation of Nationwide 5 exams – was prolonged to cowl Larger, and Superior Larger programs as soon as these exams have been additionally cancelled.

Additional revisions have been made to the mannequin in February 2021 following the closure of colleges and schools between December 2020 and March 2021 and the transfer to distant studying.

Learners have been supplied with their provisional ends in June 2021, which have been then certificated in August.

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