Analysis January 2022: Remote possibilities


Launched last year, the ABRSM’s online Grade 5 theory exam proved controversial among students and teachers alike. How has the board responded, and have matters improved? By Peter Somerford

With ABRSM Grade 5 theory a prerequisite for anyone taking the board’s Grade 6, 7 and 8 practical exams, when the pandemic hit and in-person assessments stopped, teachers and students around the world were left waiting to see if and how the ABRSM would provide an online solution.

The transition from a paper test to a web-based exam was not without issues for both pedagogues and pupils. When the online Grade 5 theory exams were piloted in August 2020, some candidates struggled to get on to the exam platform, and reports of access problems persisted into 2021. But the ABRSM has worked to iron out technical issues, improve exam guidance and video instructions, and allay concerns about candidates being filmed during their assessment. From 2 August 2021 the online theory exams have been available on demand, with teachers and students welcoming the ability to book and take an exam at any time, rather than at a fixed hour on a particular day. But some teachers still have concerns over the nature of the online assessment…

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