Saltus Deputy Head “Optimistic” About Exams

April 23, 2020

Saltus Deputy Head of School Jon Beard is “optimistic that Bermuda’s private schools will work with the exam boards to ensure that local students are able to complete the requirements” as the education system contends with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

A spokesperson said, “International end of academic year examinations have been a casualty of the Covid-19 pandemic. The British IGCSE, GCSE and A-level exams have been cancelled as have the International Baccalaureate [IB] examinations.

“What does this mean to students in Bermuda? Saltus Deputy Head of School, Jon Beard, is optimistic that Bermuda’s private schools will work with the exam boards to ensure that local students are able to complete the requirements.

“In the midst of exam uncertainty, however, Mr. Beard highlighted one particular examination board, the US College Board – Advanced Placement [AP] examinations, that will continue with their exams. This organization has been very proactive in setting up virtual examinations to ensure student opportunities for college application remain strong.

“Advanced Placement examinations are one of the largest pre-College examinations in the world [in 2018 1.24 million AP students took 4.22 million AP exams]. These courses and exams are the signature courses of the SGY Programme at Saltus.”

Mr. Beard said, “Last summer, College Board invested heavily in electronic registration as they completely revamped their electronic profile and resources.

“As the impact of Covid-19 became obvious, they polled students regarding their wishes, and the vast majority wanted to go ahead with the exams.”

The spokesperson said, “As result of the poll and the fact that they already have the students registered in their AP courses, College Board completed the Herculean task of preparing online exams for Advanced Placement students.

“The subject-based exams are all online examinations. Instead of being three hours the exams will be in shortened form focusing on the ‘free response’ sections.”

Mr. Beard said, “This section demands that student apply their knowledge to a problem; it is not testing recall of facts; it is testing how those facts are applied. It is an open book test, but the short time allowed gives little time for students to stop and look up answers.”

The spokesperson said, “College Board has put in place extensive software to detect plagiarism and cheating as they strive to meet the changing landscape of learning and assessment.

“Advanced Placement results are used to gain college credit in North America and university placement in the UK. The exams can be taken at home, or in school, if any school is back in session. The exams last for two weeks and will start on Monday, May 11th.”

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