Pupils undertaking GCSE, AS and A Level qualifications in 2023 will know in advance the topics they will be questioned on. It’s an approach similar to what has already been brought in for pupils in Scotland and Wales and was brought in for exams in summer 2022 to account for disruption due to Covid-19.
Education Minister Michelle McIlveen said pupils would study and be tested on all parts of GCSE, AS or A-level courses in 2023.
It comes as she outlined arrangements for awarding CCEA qualifications in 2023, which includes a £2million Qualifications Support Programme to further support pupils preparing for exams next year.
“I have put in place a comprehensive package of measures to give reassurance to our young people, their families, teachers and school leaders in advance of the new academic year,” the Minister said.
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“Fairness to pupils is my priority. Arrangements for next year’s qualifications acknowledge the unprecedented disruption our education system has faced and aim to support recovery.
“Advance information about the broad areas to be assessed in each examination will provide important support to learners, increasing their confidence and aiding their revision.
“Unit omissions proved helpful in supporting a return to public exams this year, but I do not consider it in the best interests of our learners to continue with this approach for a further year,” Ms McIlveen added.
“In 2023, learners will therefore be assessed across the full specification for each qualification.
“I am allocating £2million to a Qualifications Support Programme, which will provide funding to all post-primary schools. Schools will have the freedom to deploy this funding flexibly, in a way that best supports their pupils preparing for exams in 2023.”
SDLP Education Spokesperson Daniel McCrossan said clarity around exams for the next school year will be a welcome relief for students, parents and teachers.
“Given the previous turmoil that our schools and students have been thrown into by a lack of clarity and planning from the then Education Minister and the department it is extremely welcome that they will not have to go through a similar ordeal next year,” the West Tyrone MLA said.
“This clarity will allow schools and teachers and students and their parents to return to school at the start of term knowing exactly what will await them in the year ahead and I’m glad it echoes the approach adopted in Scotland and Wales who were ahead of us on these issues for much of the pandemic.
“I also welcome the extra financial support that will be provided to schools to help prepare pupils for the upcoming examinations. It’s important that no student is disadvantaged as a result of the unique circumstances caused by the coronavirus pandemic and this funding will go some way to addressing that imbalance.
“I will be speaking to teachers, students, parents and unions in the coming weeks to make sure this advice is fit for purpose, but I appreciate that Minister McIlveen has progressed the approach from that of her predecessor, who left the SDLP with no choice but to twice recall the Assembly due to the refusal to deal with the issues impacting schools and students during the pandemic, including the way in which exam grades were determined.” Belfasttelegraph