Belfast Telegraph

My view: Our youngsters must not be placed at disadvantage

By Avril Hall Callaghan

Parity of esteem must be at the heart of any changes to exams or assessment in Northern Ireland.

Whilst we appreciate that the minister has listened to the views of stakeholders, our concern must be for the best interests of our young people and our members.

It is vital that any changes to GCSE and A-Level exams do not place our students at a disadvantage.

What we need is a 'currency' of exam qualifications which is universally recognised and has parity of esteem with college and universities, as well as employers, throughout the UK and further afield.

In regard to assessment, the last few years have presented teachers with an unprecedented catalogue of errors in regard to the systems used.

Teachers, parents and pupils have lost faith.

While we appreciate the value of assessment we believe that teachers themselves are best placed to assess their pupils without the added workload – for both them and the children – of yet another layer of tests.

Measuring the wider 'value' of a school, as the minister appreciates, is a challenge which has long exercised educationalists.

Again, we firmly believe that teachers are best placed to advise on this and hope the minister continues to listen to our expert submissions.

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