We must face up to inequality and unfairness in our exams system

After the u-turn over the awarding of this year’s examination grades, Dr Patrick Roach says there are important longer term questions to ask about entrenched inequality and unfairness in our exams system

It was, perhaps, always going to be the case that the awarding of qualifications in 2020, in the middle of the most serious public health emergency in a century, would result in more than its fair share of commentary and controversy.

However, the scale of the chaos which has unfolded this month has had an enormous impact on young people at what is already a highly anxious time. It has also, arguably, served to undermine public confidence in the examinations system.

If there is anything constructive to emerge from this chaos it is to give greater impetus to the need to consider the qualifications system as a whole and whether it is delivering in providing a robust and fair way of assessing pupils’ knowledge and understanding and setting them on a firm foundation to move to the next phase of their lives, whether that be further study, employment or vocational training.

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