Manx students will not sit regular exams this year, with GCSE and A-Level grades to be determined by way of school assessed grades.
It had already been confirmed that students across the UK would not be sitting summer exams, but the situation for Manx students was less clear as the majority of their exams are set by Cambridge Assessment International Education.
Cambridge had intended to press on with its exams, before announcing two weeks ago it too had switched to school assessed grades.
In a move that the Education Department says is ‘fully supported by secondary headteachers on the island’. A new grading system will be built around a range of assessments between now and early June – with secondary schools using the evidence from these to arrive at their judgements.
This could include mock exams, coursework, essays and classroom based tests and the department says schools will work together to ensure the system is fair.
Education Minister Dr Allinson said: ‘It is important to put the needs of our young people first and provide clarity to our teachers at this challenging time. That is why we have taken this decision to cancel all exams. The new system will give students the best possible chance to achieve the grades they deserve and progress to the next stage of their education or career. These outcomes are extremely significant and we will be working closely with schools to support our young people and our hard working teachers through the process.’
This year’s changes affect most general courses (IGCSE, GCSE & A-level) and technical courses (BTEC and OCR National Courses at Levels 1, 2 and 3).
However, there are some vocational courses that require skills to be assessed through practical exams that will still go ahead as normal.
The department will continue to work with schools and exam boards in coming weeks and will keep pupils, parents and teachers informed.
DESC has provided a list of FAQs which it says it will continuously update.