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World News

Wales scraps next year's school exams because of COVID

A social distancing sign is seen in an empty street during the first evening of the welsh lockdown, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Tenby, Wales, Britain October 23, 2020. REUTERS/Rebecca Naden/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Wales has cancelled all school exams next summer with grades to be based on classroom assessments instead to ensure fairness during the pandemic, the Welsh education minister announced on Tuesday.

The move comes after an exams fiasco in England last summer, when a mathematical model used to calculate grades for exams cancelled because of COVID-19 was ditched after a public outcry.

A review into last year’s exams process convinced the Welsh government to cancel next year’s exams, it said, and classroom assessments with external marking will replace formal exams due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19.

“In this situation, it is impossible to guarantee a level playing field for exams to take place,” Welsh education minister Kirsty Williams said in a statement.

Students in England will take school exams in summer 2021 but they will be delayed by three weeks to help address disruption caused by the pandemic, the UK government has said.

The UK education minister Gavin Williamson has said exams are the fairest way of judging performance.

He was lampooned for his handling of last summer’s exams grading and accused of ignoring warnings that the mathematical model would lead to unfair results.

Reporting by Michael Holden and Sarah Young; editing by Stephen Addison

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