Over the last few months, however, as coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic forced the closure of over 90 percent of the world’s schools and required the imposition of strict social distancing measures, ministries of education everywhere had to rethink how to make these kinds of high stakes decisions about their students’ futures, including the extent to which examinations could be retained as part of the decision-making process.

Where did countries come out? A recent survey of 118 countries, carried out by UNESCO, UNICEF, and the World Bank to understand how countries’ education systems were responding to the crisis, found that the most common responses by countries included: (i) shifting to online administration of their high-stakes examinations; (ii) postponing the examinations to a later date; (iii) continuing the examinations as planned, albeit with various social distancing/safety measures; or (iv) canceling the examinations entirely and using alternative sources of information to make decisions about students.

In this World Bank blog, the author explores the last approach: cancellation of examinations.

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About the author

Marguerite Clarke, Senior Education Specialist