Could learner profiles fix our broken assessment system?
It is a travesty that young people are typically judged solely by a set of numbers and letters. Rethinking Assessment’s Peter Hyman, Bill Lucas and Rachel Macfarlane explore how the new RA “learner profile” can help build an approach to assessment that recognises the talents of each young person.
Holly Branson discusses the recent Times Education Commission which showed the desire amongst businesses to reform assessment. She highlights the work of Bill Lucas, reflecting that the firm arguments from his report The Case for Change are exactly what we need to change assessment for the better.
Schools Week examines the growing mass of education reports and commentaries that reveal dissatisfaction with the current system. Rethinking Assessment is mentioned alongside Pearson and the IAC as organisations embarking on research, reviews and an exploration of alternatives to the current system.
Swap ‘cliff-edge’ GCSEs for ‘test when ready’ says exams review
The Independent Assessment Commission’s final report recommended that we should move to test our students when they’re ready. Geoff Barton of ASCL and Tim Oates of Cambridge Assessment discuss the strengths and limitations of this recommendation.
Camden Council have explicitly mentioned Rethinking Assessment in their 2030 Education Strategy, stating that they want to “Test new approaches to assessment using teacher research to support the Rethinking Assessment movement” over the next two years.
What should matter most for getting into college? In the UK, more than a score.
The case is made for making the legacy of the covid-19 pandemic a better, more equitable and valuable assessment system that is not encompassed by ‘one-size-fits-all’ exams. The authors explain how a group of educators are brainstorming better ways to assess teenagers why this must be done.
3 reasons GCSEs need to change – and 3 alternatives
Bill Lucas, Peter Hyman and Alistair McConville discuss the failings of the GCSE system: they are unfair, unreliable and a waste of public money. Look at the future of assessment, they explore alternatives such as a character scorecard, the extended project qualification and comparative methods.
Sian Griffiths reflects on the open letter and highlights the link between our current assessment system and declining mental health among young people in the UK. Griffiths reports that currently 1 in 10 aged 5-16 have a clinically diagnosable mental health problem.
If GCSEs fall out of fashion, finding a school could get much more exciting
Leah Hardy reflects on the effects that potential changes to assessments would have on choosing schools. If Rethinking Assessment’s aims came to fruition, choosing a school for one’s children becomes an exciting prospect, with far more focus on mental health, individualism and a broad curriculum.
Why we should scrap all school exams for the year ahead
Victoria Lambert reflects on the upcoming 2021 wave of exams announced by the government and calls for the whole exam system to be scrapped for 2021, urging that this offers the education system a chance to reflect as to whether they want to stay in this system or move into into the 21st century.
GCSEs need to be scrapped – old-school grades have had their day
Victoria Lambert reports on the sorry state of 2021 GCSE exams outlining the debate between those who support the new system or the old. She highlights that as an alternative to exams, a collation of the entire school experience could be far more beneficial to students, universities and employers.
Schools seize on ‘perfect time’ to explore a future free of GCSEs
Sian Griffiths reports on two schools which will open and will not be offering GCSEs, backing a national movement to scrap GCSEs. They argue that the pandemic disrupting the exam system has provided the perfect opportunity to implement this necessary change to assessments in the UK.
Tory MPs back ditching GCSE exams in English school system overhaul
Richard Adams reports on a paper backed by Conservative MPs which calls for replacing GCSEs with a baccalaureate which would be better for the health of students, provide more opportunities for students from less privileged backgrounds and make the UK school system equal to the rest of the world.
Dear Gavin Williamson, here's how to avoid more exam catastrophes
Michael Rosen writes to Gavin Williamson on the failings of 2020 GCSEs, urging for an alternative to be considered and mentioning those who are making the case for an alternative to zoom-invigilated exams.
It's time to scrap GCSEs – they serve no good purpose in the 21st century
Hyman, Lucas and McConville introduce their coalition Rethinking Assessment and argue why this is so necessary. Focussing specifically on pressures put upon students increasing anxieties at a young age, the lacking relevance of exams for later life and unreliable grading systems.
Our school systems are broken. Let's grab this chance to remake them
Peter Hyman presents four key strands for school reform: rethinking the balance between ‘head, heart and hand’; smarter assessment and intelligence accountability; skillful use of technology; and a different kind of school leadership.
We must follow Scotland's example and ditch next summer's GCSEs now
Victoria Lambert urges Gavin Williamson to follow the lead of Scotland in scrapping exams for 2021. Lambert highlights the way that online learning, perpetuates inequalities amongst students and that we will see the exam system fail again in 2021 due to covid.
James Tapper explores Rethinking Assessment as a coalition between state and private schools attempting to rid British schools of GCSEs. He reports from both sides of the argument to see what else is on offer as a potential alternative to the GCSE system.
Educators around world seek to take axe to exam-based learning
The Financial Times
Bethan Staton discusses the chance for a “deep learning” approach to education to be put into practice amongst all the cancelled exams due to the ongoing pandemic. Once again, GCSEs are highlighted as the proven cause of stress and anxiety on students.
University admissions overhaul predicted to be the ‘nail in the coffin’ of GCSEs
Hazell discusses how the potential change in university admissions would condemn GCSEs by removing one of their supposed key reasons for being. Hazell reports that the supposed necessity of GCSEs would go out of the window if universities used A level results to give their offers to students.
This article asks whether GCSEs should come back after the pandemic, with new schools opened by Hyman and the Thomas brothers offering potential alternatives to GCSE exams, along with Rethinking Assessment asking broader questions about what the purpose of education is and how we should assess.
Train teachers to spot and support dyslexic children
Griggs argues that the current education system discriminates against students with dyslexia and actively dismisses their talents and strengths. She says that Rethinking Assessment will help to change the perception of dyslexia in schools but thinks it could take too long to produce the change.
Rethinking Assessment: mutant exam system is failing our children
In this open letter to the times, signatories provide an introduction to Rethinking Assessment and its mission. In particular, highlighting the inequalities of the current exam process and arguing that education’s purpose is to develop the full and diverse range of strengths of every child.
Enough of the 'lost generation'. Instead, let's reimagine school for our children
Peter Hyman writes in the Guardian about the effect of the pandemic on schools giving us a chance to rethink and reimagine curriculum and assessments. Hyman writes that Rethinking Assessment looks at assessment solutions that would recognise the strengths of every child across all domains.
Bill Lucas introduces the launch of Rethinking Assessment in Education: The Case for Change, arguing that high-stakes assessments are damaging for students. Instead we need to encourage deeper thinking through collaborative problem-solving and creative thinking across all subjects.
Lord Baker the founder of GCSEs advocates for them being scrapped in favour of a new assessment method
Baker writes that instead of GCSEs assessments this year should focus around four elements: teacher assessments, coursework, moderation and knowledge of the individual student.
John Hattie: We need to get better at learning transfer
What do we mean by transferable skills? In the workplace, it’s the ability to apply knowledge from previous experience to a new context. And it is often touted as an invaluable quality in an employee. But do we give it enough attention in education?
Enough of the ‘lost generation’. Instead, let’s reimagine school for our children
Humans are wired for storytelling. A compelling story can be a comfort or an inspiration; raising our sights, stirring our emotions. So, as children return to school tomorrow, they deserve a better story than the one being told with the big, fat, gloomy title of “lost generation”.
We were told this summer that it was a “mutant algorithm” that had caused the anguish of the exam fiasco. Covid may have exposed the failings, but in truth, something more profound is going on, and it has been brewing for years: we have a mutant exam system.
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