According to TES, government reforms to make GCSEs and A levels linear qualifications have reduced stress for pupils because scrapping modules means “fewer stressful periods, not more”, Damian Hinds has claimed.
The education secretary also said “inherently stressful” exams build character and help prepare young people for adult life.
He argues that prior to government’s reforms which “stripped away endless modular exams”, pupils were “sitting qualifications before they were ready, leading to excessive numbers of resits that meant too many pupils were sitting exam after exam between the ages of 14 and 18”.
However, claims that the reforms have alleviated stress clashes with feedback from many teachers and school leaders, who have argued that scrapping modules and the majority of coursework has made the summer exam season more high stakes and stressful.
Earlier this month, Tes reported claims by teachers that more children are experiencing “severe exam anxiety”, which in some cases is spilling over into “dark thoughts” about self-harm and suicidal thinking.
In today’s piece, the education secretary admits that the exam season is “a stressful period, the culmination of two years of learning: the revision is draining, the exams are never nice and you know the results will stay with you, often affecting what you can go on to do next”.
However, he rejects the argument that exams are “unreasonable burden” to put on students.
Mr Hinds made a similar point about exam pressure preparing students for “later life” in an interview with Tes last year.
Do you agree with Damian Hinds? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Emma
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