With the cancellation of GCSE 2021 exams, it was announced that students will be graded differently, but what do the students think about the changes made to this years GCSE course?

Year 11 pupils have been left unsure of what will happen regarding GCSEs since the outbreak of the pandemic. However in January it was finally stated that public exams would not go ahead. 

Manon Zahri, year 11, student at Coombe Girls School said that, “throughout the pandemic, I had been told repeatedly that GCSEs would not be cancelled. However in January we got told that they were being cancelled, but we didn't know how we were going to be assessed until very recently in March.” 

She continued, “in March we were told that our GCSEs were to be teacher assessed grades, which will be based on multiple small tests taken over the course of three weeks.” Manon went on to explain how “every school is different in terms of how the tests will be taken.” 

Manon also described how COVID-19 hasn't just affected the way GCSEs are being assessed, but also how her work has been affected. “I definitely think that during the pandemic productivity through virtual learning has decreased greatly due to the fact that there are a lot of distractions at home and there are no teachers to help us physically with our work,” she said. 

However without public exams taking place this summer, exam boards are limited to how GCSEs can be graded. “I believe it is fair as this way of assessing us will ensure that we have time to revise previous topics before and after exams, without being stressed knowing we won't be sitting a two hour exam but instead, a 45 minute one,” she concluded.

On one hand it is finalised how 2021’s GCSE will be structured, however uncertainty lies on what will happen next year. Faizan Faraz, 15, student at Hampton School thinks, “the 2022 exam should go ahead although we had to learn material in lockdown.” He continued by saying, “the grade boundaries may also be reduced. Many students may get lower marks, however schools that have managed to work the most productively during these home learning periods will produce better results.”

Navik Mendis, 15, student at Hampton School, has an alternative opinion on whether exams should go ahead next year. “I don't think it is fair because although many schools did online lessons, many of those lessons were disrupted and students weren't able to concentrate as much as they would have at school,” he said.

While the future remains unknown, year 11 pupils are now aware of how they will be assessed and can focus on doing whatever is necessary.