Managing high-stakes assessments and exams during crisis
UNESCO COVID-19 Education Response. Education Sector issue notes. Issue note 4.3

Education systems globally are working to react to the COVID-19 pandemic. To contain the virus, schools, universities, and education and training institutions have closed around the world on a massive scale. This is an unprecedented situation in the history of mass education. School closure has affected teaching, learning and assessment processes, requiring shifts in thinking and more flexible approaches to continue education during the crisis. Many countries have shifted to online and distance learning modalities, and now policymakers are determining how to manage assessments, particularly high-stakes exams. Summative assessments, such as end-of-cycle exams and university entrance tests, are a concern in many countries given the substantial weight they have in grading policy, for example, in countries where national exams count for 75% of the grade in addition to continuous assessment, which make up 25% or less. These exams are critical to the future of many students around the world, especially those from disadvantaged groups (World Bank 2020).

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