Gary Neville and Ben Fogle join the assessment debate

This year Gary Neville added his voice to those questioning the current assessment system, arguing that it is prehistoric and needs updating. 

Appearing on BBC Breakfast on GCSE results day, Gary said ‘I don’t believe you should work for 16 years at school and at college and then it all depends upon a two-hour assessment,’ arguing this approach is out of date in 2023.

He talked about a more holistic approach to assessment, suggesting that ‘you should be judged over your body of work’. 

Gary acknowledged that exam results are necessary to get into employment, but stressed thatwhat you should have is a career passport, a body of work that you should be able to be proud of, that you should be able to refer to your employers and they should be able to look at.’ 

This kind of approach is exactly what many countries are currently pursuing, with Australia launching learner profiles as national policy, and the USA, Canada, Scotland and Wales also making progress towards providing a broader and more strengths based view of student achievement. 

At Rethinking Assessment we launched our vision for a digital learner profile in 2022, and have been working on developing prototypes through a series of pilots across the UK over the last year. 

This autumn we will be launching our learner profile Starter Kit, sharing research, resources and templates so that school and college leaders and teachers can start to develop learner profiles in their own settings. Visit Rethinking Assessment’s Learner Profile page to scroll down and sign up for free access. 

Gary joins fellow celebrity Ben Fogle who has previously been vocal about the impact of a skewed exam system. 

Fogle states on social media, 

I find it astonishing that in 2023 we are still fixating on exams as the medium of defining people’s intellectual potential and capabilities… Some people have exceptional ability to retain information and regurgitate it under exam conditions. Others fall apart under pressure. Exams are heavily weighted to perpetuate the continued opportunity of the few not the many.

Both Gary and Ben’s comments support wider calls for a more mixed and balanced approach to assessment. 

Gary highlights the importance employers place on experience and application of knowledge. We think that a learner profile would enable learners to demonstrate their knowledge, skills and attributes in a variety of ways, using multimedia and multi-modal methods, fit for the modern world. 

See Gary Neville on BBC Breakfast here and read Ben Fogel’s wider thoughts here

You can read more about our learner profile work on our blogs here – including why we think the learner profile is central to the Levelling Up agenda and enabling greater equity across our system.

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