Students in their final year of high school (Form 7) in schools in the Pacific are feeling the impact of COVID-19 through the closure of schools and disruptions to classroom learning. For those students enrolled in the South Pacific Form Seven Certificate (SPFSC) programme, the Educational Quality and Assessment Programme (EQAP) is working to provide flexibility, modification and adaptations in the teaching and learning programme while maintaining its quality. Our goal is to ensure students are able to learn and achieve the learning outcomes regardless of the time taken or mode of learning used.
This month, EQAP will launch its SPFSC Moodle online learning platform for SPFSC students. Students will be able to use devices such as laptops, smart phones and tablets to access study guides prepared by EQAP. The study guides include lesson notes and lesson activities to allow students to continue with learning, even while schools are closed. Notification will go to principals and SPFSC coordinators in the third week of April about how their teachers and students can access the SPFSC Moodle.
The SPFSC Internal Assessment (IA) tasks are an integral component of the SPFSC programme that allow students to apply their learning in authentic situations. Where possible, these tasks should continue as usual. However, IA tasks that require group work, specific site visits or workplace components are being revised to meet the current situational needs. These changes related to IA tasks will be communicated directly to schools through the principals and SPFSC coordinators by the third week of May. As well, IA task due dates will be revised to accommodate the time constraints caused by the current situation.
Examinations are the final component of the SPFSC programme and do not occur until late in the school year. Even so, it is important to begin thinking about possible impacts to student preparedness for exams now. EQAP will work with individual schools and ministries to finalise the timetable as the year progresses, recognising that the situation may differ between and across countries. EQAP will continue to take the COVID-19 situation and disruptions to the school year into account when setting the final timetables.
A question raised with EQAP in the past weeks concerns whether or not students who have missed several weeks of school will be able to write SPFSC exams. Attendance quotas have never been a part of the SPFSC programme as we recognise that learning does not always have to take place within the walls of a specific classroom. As such, any student who is properly registered is entitled to sit the SPFSC exam. The SPFSC Qualification does not have any policy in place regarding attendance that would disqualify a student from sitting the exam.
These are challenging times and we need to be resilient to ensure sustainability in all aspects of our lives. We are committed to providing our best support to students, teachers, parents and education systems. Please stay safe and healthy!