The Department of Education Services is advising students to continue their usual examination preparations until regional and international boards provide clarity on this year’s scheduled tests.

DES, in a short statement to the Cayman Compass on 14 Jan., said, while “the situation remains fluid as UK and US governments respond to the global pandemic, the DES gives the assurance that it will provide appropriate notifications and guidance through the official communication channels once it is advised of the assessment procedures for the 2021 examination cycle by the Examination Boards”.

Earlier this month, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the summer GCSE and A-Level exams would be cancelled, following the UK’s lockdown due to rampant spread of COVID-19.

Educators are also looking into use of ‘externally set tasks’ to help teachers in the UK assess final grades. The UK’s Guardian newspaper reported on Wednesday that UK Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said GCSE and A-level grades in the UK were likely to be partly assessed by cut-down versions of the exams.

The Caribbean Examinations Council said in a statement on its website that it was in dialogue with the ministries of education across the region to finalise details for the administration of the Caribbean examinations in 2021. “These details will be shared with our stakeholders and made public within the coming weeks,” the organisation said.

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Cambridge Assessment International Education, which provide international examinations to schools in several countries, including Cayman, in a statement late last week, said it was continuing to prepare for planned exams, meaning local students who sit these tests will not be impacted.

“A majority of our schools have told us they want Cambridge International to give students the opportunity to sit exams on the full syllabus if they can. They also want us to help them manage the impact of the pandemic in a way that is fair to everyone. We continue to prepare for the March and June series to go ahead as planned,” Cambridge said in its statement.

The UK-based examinations body said, “We are monitoring the situation carefully in different countries and listening to our schools. We will continue providing measures to help our schools manage the impact of the pandemic.”

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