Coronavirus Pandemic

Covid-19: More UAE schools bring back on-site exams

Nandini Sircar/Dubai
Filed on May 29, 2021 | Last updated on May 29, 2021 at 12.23 am

(Wam file)

Schools are now gearing up for on-site examinations for their Grade 12 in June.

Many schools in the UAE are now starting to offer on-site exams after a year of online student assessments.

Principals said that with the vaccines available to kids aged 12 and above, schools have put in place plans to gradually provide students the campus experience they had missed.

Schools following the Ministry of Education (MoE) curriculum are now gearing up for on-site examinations for their Grade 12 in June. Earlier this week, the authorities have laid down the safety protocols, which include presenting a negative PCR test result.

At Dubai British School, Jumeirah Park, all internal exams are being conducted in classrooms. “We are fortunate that we have no children who are being kept in isolation at the moment. For the one child who has been doing distance learning, we have offered a private room for him to do his exams in, with no interaction with other students. This was well received by parents,” said Rebecca Coulter, the school’s vice-principal.

Some Indian-curriculum schools in the country intend to hold their first-term exams on the campus, after the summer break. The decision, however, will be subject to prevailing circumstances and a permission from the authorities will also have to be obtained.

Sanjeev K Jolly, executive principal at GEMS Our Own High School—Al Warqa’a, said: “Our students will appear for their first periodic assessment starting the second week of June. The students who are attending school daily for face-to-face lessons, or ‘on-campus learners’, will take their assessments on the campus.”

Jolly clarified, however, that online exams will still be conducted for other students. “All remote learners will switch their cameras on for the full duration of the time that they appear for the assessment. Teachers will be able to monitor this from school, from their laptops throughout the assessment time. Second, time-bound assessments will be introduced. The links will be opened for students and closed as per the time allotted for the assessment, so that there is equity of time for the assessment answering for the entire grade.”

At Gulf Model School, internal exams for all non-board classes were conducted online and while on-site options were given for board classes, according to its principal, Annie Mathew. “The exams were conducted synchronously across classes using Google forms. The students are expected to keep their cameras switched on during online exams and are monitored online by an invigilator.”

From 100 per cent e-learning last year to onset of hybrid instruction this year, teachers have overcome unprecedented challenges in meeting the individual needs of students.

At UAE schools, assessment and intervention have been frequently revisited to ensure that the schools remain responsive to student needs.

Lisa Johnson, principal of American Academy for Girls, said: “Internal assessment, from a diagnostic and marking perspective, has been examined extensively and has been conducted in person and online in small groups, one on one, and of course in group settings using assistive technology. We are currently conducting NWEA MAP testing which is our annual indicator for student attainment and school development planning. Our online students completed the assessment using dual devices to ensure fidelity of the results which is critical as the school plans for the reduction of gaps in learning that may exist due to the pandemic.”

Institutions are also using examination and wellbeing data in setting their priorities. Pali Nahal, acting principal of Uptown International School, said: “Students accessing internal assessments online will do so during a live lesson, so students are supervised and can access teacher support for administration.”

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