WHILE the cancellation of all GCSE and ‘A’ level examinations has been a “relief” for many, anxiety remains rife with pupils “none the wiser” as to how they will be graded.
With tight lockdown restrictions still in place, and the majority of pupils facing an extended period of remote learning, students at St Kevin’s College, Lisnaskea, have called on the Executive to “not delay” any guidance as to how grades will be handled.
Aoife Wray (Year 14)
“Hearing that the exams have been cancelled has given me mixed feelings.
“Overall, I’m very happy as some of the pressure has been lifted from me especially in these hard times.
“However, online learning is tough and not knowing what is ahead is very stressful as this is an important year for all of those like myself who are trying to get into university and we need answers.”
Mikolaj Jagusiak (Year 12)
“The exams being cancelled, being honest, is a relief. Those who want to learn at home would do so anyway and likely get the grade they deserve, but there is no denying that for me at least, online learning isn’t the same as going to school every day and sticking to a normal routine.
“I think face-to-face learning can’t be replaced with online, it definitely helps, but it’s still better to interact with the teacher in a normal classroom environment.
“Our school has been brilliant with using Google Classroom and Google Meet, and I actually find it easier to keep track of my work now that it’s all in one place, but I still think I wouldn’t be as confident walking into an exam having missed those months of normal school.
“The main problem to me is being in an environment where it’s easier to get distracted or, at the very least, lose focus on the set task.
“In that respect, I think it’s easier for me to learn in an actual classroom, rather than going over a given topic multiple times at home.
“In the end, I think it’s a good thing that exams have been cancelled.
We’ll be graded anyway based on the work we put in throughout the year but we don’t have the extra pressure of studying for exams. I believe this was a good decision.”
Ciara Wilson (Year 14)
“Although I am glad that a decision has been made around the cancellation of exams, I am none the wiser as I do not know how I will be graded, how much of the specification I will have to learn etc.
“This lack of clarification is putting an unnecessary amount of stress upon us young people and our teachers.’
Niall McCaffrey (Year 14)
“I believe that the Executive has made the right decision on cancelling exams with all the stress caused by Covid, as well as its impact on education.
“It would be unfair to give us the added pressure of exams. However, I believe it is crucial that the Executive get the guidelines out to how our grades will be handled as soon as possible as the cancellation of exams was always on the table and the longer us students are left in uncertainty the greater the effect will be to our mental health.”
Charlie McNally (Year 14)
“Although I think that the mass amount of exams for this year would have been too much, I feel that there should be some sort exams carried out this year, perhaps reducing to one exam for each subject.
I certainly don’t think predicted grades are the way to go if it comes to that, overall I could be happier.”
Kerri Creighan (Year 12)
“I am quite happy and relieved that the exams are cancelled because I wasn’t sure that we would get all of the work covered in time because of time off due to all of the restrictions.
“It has been such an unsettling year and I have had hardly any time in school, online learning is ok but nothing compares to face to face learning because I find it harder to concentrate at home than I would in school.
“The stress and worry over whether the exams would go ahead has been eradicated by Mr Weir’s decision.
“I’m so thankful for all the hard work and support my school and teachers have put in to help me pass my GCSE’s throughout these scary and uncertain times.”
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