Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield questioned the Education Minister Nick Gibb on concerns of Sheffield students about exam-only assessments.

As part of his annual community consultation, the Big Conversation, Blomfield met with year 12 and 13 students from secondary schools across Sheffield Central.

The students raised their concerns about the transition away from coursework assessment to dependence on final closed exams.

Blomfield conveyed their concerns to the education minister Nick Gibb, but said he didn’t receive an adequate response.

Later Blomfield said: “I was disappointed that the Minister didn’t engage with the concerns of students in Sheffield schools. They raised real issues which deserve a proper answer.”

As part of the Big Conversation, which ran from 1 September to 8 October this year, Blomfield visited King Edward VII School, Sheffield High School, Park Academy and the University Technical College in Sheffield City Centre.

Students he met with during his visits raised their concern that final closed exams provide an incomplete assessment of their abilities and discriminate against those who are unwell on the day of an exam. They were also worried about how exams impact on their mental health.

Blomfield raised the question in the House of Commons on Monday 6 November, reminding the Government that there is no single model for rigorous assessment.

The Education Minister said: “We looked carefully at that issue. We found that controlled assessments were consuming vast amounts of teaching time and a culture of resits was taking up more teaching time.

“Ofqual (The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation) said that the controlled assessment system was not the most reliable way of assessing pupils.”

Blomfield later promised to continue pushing the Ministers to take the points of the students seriously.


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