International Approaches to Exams Given the Pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a major impact on school leaving, university entrance and other high stakes exams around the world. Many northern hemisphere countries have exams around this time of year and have had to decide what action they will take. Major decisions have been taken to continue as planned, postpone, replace or cancel exams. Those who plan to keep to their original exam timetable or have introduced a short postponement may yet have to come up with an alternative action. Where exams have been cancelled, there will still be important technical and operational judgements to be made.

International co-operation amongst exam agencies – one of IAEA’s purposes – seems very important at this challenging point in time. Some educational assessment organisations might find it helpful to see if there is something they can learn from people elsewhere in the world in similar situations. The information below is intended to permit IAEA members and others to identify organisations that are facing similar problems to their own. It includes a contact who will be willing to provide further information if requested.

If you would like to add your exams to this information, please use the format below send your text to: Dennis Opposs, Standards Chair at Ofqual, dennis.opposs@ofqual.gov.uk

 

 

 

Country, exams Category* Contact name, role, e mail  Arrangements for 2020 exams
Azerbaijan

School-Leaving Exams, University Entry-Exams

Civil Service Selection Exams and Interviews

D Vali Huseyn, Head of Strategic Development Department, The State Examination Center (SEC), the Republic of Azerbaijan

V.Huseyn@dim.gov.az

The decision was made to close down all schools in March and starting from mid-March, school-leaving and university entrance exams have been postponed to the June-August period, while secondary schools and universities continued online lessons. The content which was taught online since institutions were closed was excluded from the test specifications of the exams in order to avoid any disadvantage for the students who have no or limited internet access. The exams are to be administered with strict regulations.

The SEC has also started developing its own e-proctoring technology to provide it for some in need, in addition to paper-based exams to be organized in summer. Currently, this proctoring platform will be introduced for some sensitive groups only.

SEC also developed an online interview platform for the civil service selection, which is being piloted and will be introduced in June.

For more updates: http://dim.gov.az/en/

(updated 19 May 2020)

England

GCSE and A level

Primary school assessments

B Dennis Oppos
Standards Chair, Ofqual
dennis.opposs@ofqual.gov.uk
Exams and school-based assessments have been cancelled. Instead, schools and colleges are being asked to provide judgements of the final grades that they believe their students would have been most likely to achieve if the courses and assessments had proceeded as normal. They will also provide the rank order of students within each grade for each subject. To make sure that the results issued are as fair as possible across different schools and colleges, Ofqual and the exam boards are developing a statistical model to standardise these grades.  It will look at evidence such as the expected national outcomes for this year’s students, the prior attainment of students at each school and college (at cohort level), and the results of the school or college in recent years. It will not change the rank order of students within each school or college. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/how-gcses-as-a-levels-will-be-awarded-in-summer-2020   https://www.gov.uk/government/news/ofqual-seeks-views-on-gcse-and-a-level-grading-proposals-for-2020

(updated 1 May 2020)

Primary school assessments, including the Early Years Foundation Stage profile and Key Stage 2 tests, will not go ahead this year.

(updated 10 May 2020)

The Gambia

WASSCE,

GABECE,

NAT

D Mr. Pa Samba Baldeh
Head of Country Office.
waechqrs@africaonline.com.gh
  • The international WASSCE, which was scheduled to start in April and the two national exams that were to follow have been postponed since March 20 till the health situation improves.
  • The Council is contemplating that the country office should conduct GABECE and NAT, which are national or country-specific exams, as soon as the situation within the country permits while waiting for the situation to improve across the sub-region for WASSCE to be conducted simultaneously in all the member countries.

(updated 10 May 2020)

Ghana

WASSCE,

BECE,

G/ABCE

 

D Mr. Pateh Bah,
Registrar/CEO (HQ)
info@waecgh.orgMrs. W. E. Addy-Lamptey,
Head of Country Office.
info@waecgh.org
  • The international WASSCE, which was scheduled to start in April and the two national exams that were to follow have been postponed indefinitely since March 20. However, in response to government’s request and assurance of a clement atmosphere, the Council is planning to conduct the international WASSCE in June in Ghana only by printing alternative sets of test papers for the country in the subjects that are common to all the member countries.
  • If the situation remains favourable after WASSCE, the BECE & G/ABCE will also be conducted.

(updated 10 May 2020)

Hong Kong

Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE)

D Ricardo King Sang MAK
Director of Public Examinations,
Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority (HKEAA)
rmak@hkeaa.edu.hk
HKDSE subjects are divided into three categories, including 24 senior secondary subjects (Category A; 4 core subjects, namely Chinese language, English language, Mathematics and Liberal Studies, and 20 elective subjects), Applied learning subjects (Category B) and other language subjects (Category C). Category B and Category C subjects, whose examination cycles had largely been completed, were unaffected by the Covid-19 pandemic.  With close coordination with the Education Bureau, the school sector, and the Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health and medical experts, written examinations for Category A subjects had been postponed to commence from 27 March to 24 April, with implementation of enhanced precautionary measures at the examination centres.  Major changes resulted from the four-week postponement include:

  1. The deadline for the submission of school-based assessment results had been extended from mid-March to 31 March
  2.  Speaking examinations of both Chinese and English language subjects were cancelled
  3. Several parts of the Physical Education practical tests, which will tentatively take place between the end of May and mid-June, were cancelled.
  4. The tentative results release day will be delayed from 8 July to 22 July

A backup plan prepared by the HKEAA was in place to produce predicted levels for school candidates based on their schools assessment results and the schools’ prior performances in HKDSE in case the written examinations were to be cancelled.

(updated 3 May 2020)

Israel

Psychometric Entrance Test

D Anat Ben-Simon
CEO, NITE
anat@nite.org.il
The April 2020 administrations of the Psychometric Entrance Test to higher education and the accompanying Language Proficiency Tests were scheduled to the first week of June 2020 All test will be administered under restricted conditions published by the Ministry of Health.
https://www.nite.org.il/?lang=en(updated 4 May 2020)
Kenya

Kenya Certificate of Secondary
Education
(KCSE)
Examination

Diploma in
Teacher
Education (DTE)
Examination

March/April Technica! &
Business Examinations

Early Childhood Development & Education (ECDE) Examinations

Dploma ne Special Needs Education (SNE) Examinations

D

 

Dr. Mercy G Karogo, MBS Ag. Chief Executive Officer Kenya National Examinations Council ceo@knec.ac.ke
  • A  decision  was·  made  by  the  Government  of  Kenya  to  close down all learning institution by 20th of March 2020 leading to postponement of all national examinations scheduled for March and April 2020.
  • The project component for the KCSE examination was in progress and was scheduled to end in July 2020. The project is school-based assessment (SBA) where scores are uploaded onto the KNEC portal at the end of two milestones; end of March & July
  • The DTE examination was in progress and was to end on 25th March 2020. The examination was postponed with 10 papers remaining out of the 73 papers offered during the 2020 DTE
  • The Business & Technica! Examinations, which was scheduled to start in the last week of March were postponed till the COVID-19 pandemie is contained and learning institutions
  • The ECDE & SNE Examinations, which were scheduled to start in April were postponed till COVID-19 pandemie is contained and learning institutions reopen.
Liberia

WASSCE,

LJHSCE,

LPSCE

 

D Mr. D. G. Gbotoe,
Head of Country Office.
dennis.opposs@ofqual.gov.uk
The international WASSCE, which was scheduled to start in April and the two national exams that were to follow have been postponed indefinitely since March 20.

-The Council is contemplating that the country office should conduct the LJHSCE and LPSCE, which are national or country-specific exams, as soon as the situation within the country permits while waiting for the situation to improve across the sub-region for WASSCE to be conducted simultaneously in all the member countries.

(updated 10 May 2020)

Netherlands

 

E

 

 

 

 

A

 

 

 

A

 

 

A

 

 

 

 

D

Maaike Beuving
CvTE (The Board of Tests and Examinations)
m.beuving@cvte.nl
  • The Central Exams in the intermediate vocational education in the Netherlands (middelbaar beroepsonderwijs) proceed this year as usual. These exams are all digital and flexible in time and counting 50% of the final grade next to schoolbased exams. The flexibility in time has been increased with several weeks extra, so schools have more opportunities for planning sessions suitable for their own situation.
  • All Central Exams 2020 for all streams in upper secondary education (voortgezet onderwijs) have been cancelled in 2020. Results based on school based exams, School Exam results, normally counting for 50% of the final grade in each subject, will now be the only source for defining pass and fail of the final year students.
  • The Central Exams of the state exams (Staatsexamens voortgezet onderwijs) have also been cancelled. The final results will be based only on the results of the “college-exams” (written and oral school based exams) starting in June.
  • In primary education the final test primary education (Eindtoets primair onderwijs) is obligatory by law for each pupil in 8th grade in the Netherlands. This test usually provides an independent score besides the compulsory school advice allocation for secondary education. This year this test has been cancelled. The school judgement is therefore the final judgement,
  • The State Exams Dutch as a Second Language (Staatsexamens Nt2) are the national language proficiency exams for non-native adult speakers, who want to study or work in the Netherlands. These exams are usually scheduled all year round, but have been cancelled this year since 24 March

See also:
https://www.cvte.nl/actueel/nieuws/2020/03/10/coronavirus(Dutch)
https://www.examenblad.nl/nieuws/20200408/update-coronacrisis-d-d-8-april/2020 (Dutch)
https://www.government.nl/topics/coronavirus-covid-19/news/2020/03/24/no-national-exams-this-year (English)
https://duo.nl/particulier/measures-coronavirus/index.jsp (English)

(updated 6 May 2020)

Nigeria

WASSCE

 

 

D Mr. P. A. Areghan
Head of Country Office
dennis.opposs@ofqual.gov.uk
  • The international WASSCE, which was scheduled to start in April, has been postponed indefinitely since March 20.
  • All unscheduled aptitude/selection tests and other tests conducted on request on behalf of local and international institutions or corporate bodies have been suspended.
National Business Certificate (NBC)

National Technical Certificate (NTC)

National Common Entrance Examination (NCEE)

D

 

 

 

D

Professor Ifeoma M. Isiugo-Abanihe, Registrar/Chief Executive Officer, National Business and Technical Examinations Board (NABTEB), Nigeria
  • The skill-based, school leaving certificate examinations for students in Science, Technical, Vocational and Business Schools in Nigeria which were earlier scheduled to commence from 4th May to 5th June, 2020, have been postponed indefinitely due to COVID-19 pandemic. Arrangements are being made to reschedule and conduct the examinations as soon as government’s directive on closure of schools is lifted and registered candidates are allowed to go back to their respective colleges to sit for the certificate examinations.
  • NCEE is for students seeking admission into Federal Science and Technical Colleges and State Government Technical Colleges in Nigeria. The examination for the 2020/2021 academic session scheduled on 2nd May, 2020 was, also, adversely affected by the pandemic. It will be rescheduled and the examination conducted once students are allowed back to school.
Sierra Leone

WASSCE,

BECE,

NPSE

D Mr. F. Akuffo-Badoo
Ag. Head of Country Office.
waechqrs@africaonline.com.gh
  • The international WASSCE, which was scheduled to start in April and the two national exams that were to follow have been postponed indefinitely since March 20.
  • The Council is contemplating that the country office should conduct BECE and NPSE, which are national or country-specific exams, as soon as the situation within the country permits while waiting for the situation to improve across the sub-region for WASSCE to be conducted simultaneously in all the member countries.

(updated 10 May 2020)

South Africa

National Senior Certificate (NSC) –  state system and Independent Examinations Board (IEB)

Dr Rufus Poliah, Chief Director, National Assessment and Public Examinations;
Poliah.R@DBE.gov.zaAnne Oberholzer
CEO IEB
oberholzera@ieb.co.za
Our NSC – main school-leaving and university entrance examination at the end of Grade 12 – is conducted in October/November. It consists of school-based assessment (SBA) as well as external examinations. The current strategy that our Minister of Basic Education has been discussing with education stakeholders is to recover the teaching time that has been lost as a result of the lockdown – at this stage this is five weeks of face-to-face schooling. The IEB’s view is that for the Grade 12 learners in particular, this is the correct strategy as at the Grade 12 level, the full curriculum will have to be covered as it culminates in a qualification that needs to retain its integrity. Measures to make up teaching time include shortening the remaining school holidays and lengthening the last school term by one week.  The strategy to increase teaching time is to use time that would have been spent on tests and internal examinations that contribute towards the SBA component, for teaching.  In that case, the SBA mark will be calculated with an adjustment for the “missing” sections. At this stage, oral and practical assessments remain, as they contribute to the integrity of the subject, within the qualification.  However our lockdown for schools is likely to extend to the end of May and hence there may be some further measures.  However the situation is still very fluid.

(updated 4 May 2020)

Vietnam

Graduation from upper secondary level

Entrance grade 10

Final exams of school years (primary, lower and upper secondary level)

-D Tran Thi Huong Giang, Vice Director, Research Division on Educational Assessment, Vietnam National Institute of Educational Sciences (VNIES) Postponed to August 2020 (normally in June))

https://tintucvietnam.vn/cu-the-nhung-thay-doi-cua-ky-thi-thpt-quoc-gia-2020–ky-thi-tot-nghiep-thpt-2020-d236602.html

Postponed to July 2020 (normally in June)

https://tuoitre.vn/nhieu-tinh-thanh-thay-doi-ke-hoach-thi-vao-lop-10-20200418085812311.htm

Postponed to July 2020 (normally in June)

https://vietnamnet.vn/vn/giao-duc/goc-phu-huynh/lui-thoi-gian-ket-thuc-nam-hoc-doi-lich-thi-thpt-quoc-gia-sang-thang-8-623943.html

 

(updated 19 May 2020)

Zambia

Junior Secondary School Leaving

Primary School  Leaving school

General Certificate of Education , GCE (Private Candidates)

Junior Secondary (Private Candidates)

Teacher Education Diploma Examinations

D Dr. Michael M. Chilala,

Director and Chief Executive Officer, Examinations Council of Zambia
mchilala@exams-council.org.zm

The Government will reopen schools for examination classes starting 1st June, 2020.

The Main Examinations which were scheduled for November, 2020 will be held in December, 2020.

The Examinations for private candidates which were scheduled for August, 2020 will be held in September, 2020.

The teacher education examinations have been postponed until further notice.

* Most exams will be easy to classify using one category but, if necessary, systems can use more than one.

A. Cancel exams. Use completed exams and/or school based assessments to produce results.
B. Cancel exams and produce results using school and college generated estimates.
C. Replace planned exams with new on-line exams taken at home.
D. Postpone exams.
E. Press ahead with exams on schedule.

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