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National shift to more flexible and relevant exams welcomed by ABRSM

6 months ago


ABRSM has today welcomed a new national report which signals a post pandemic shift in the way students are assessed, with a rise in more flexible, adaptable and relevant approaches to examination. The Rethinking Assessment report has been produced by the higher education support agency Jisc and Emerge Education, with support from ABRSM, and describes ‘a widespread explosion of experimentation' in assessment methods since the pandemic began.

It shows how universities have shifted from the traditional model of sitting in a sports hall for three hours and calls on them to move permanently to more flexible, adaptable, and relevant models which provide enhanced assessment for disabled students, those with mental health challenges, and students suffering from digital poverty.

ABRSM Chief Executive Chris Cobb, who chaired the working group for the report, said: “The rapid drive to digitise assessment has raised opportunities and challenges in equal measure, in parts making assessment more relevant, adaptable and trustworthy. We hope this report serves as a timely reminder of the manner of lessons to be learned for the future of assessment, and indeed, education as a whole”.

The report also describes ABRSM’s own experience in experimenting with an ‘on demand’ assessment model, which makes it easier for candidates to borrow devices from friends or family in order to take their exam.

Helen Coleman, chief operating officer at ABRSM, said: “The frequency of test availability in our on demand model also helps address some digital poverty issues as candidates can make use of shared or borrowed technology facilities in schools, libraries, or with friends and family and no longer have to travel significant distances to take their exam at a specified time.

“From an operational perspective the on demand model helps with demand management so we can ensure we have enough people to support our candidates throughout their test journey.” Read the full report here.

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