Exams are expected to take place next year as the government and Ofqual launch consultations on arrangements to mitigate disruption
Confirmation is set to come this autumn but the government has set out proposals for next year’s exams. The Department of Education and Ofqual have been seeking views from students, parents and teachers on proposed arrangements for GCSEs, AS and A-levels for summer 2022, and vocational and technical qualifications across the academic year 2021 to 2022.
Suggested arrangements include giving students choices about the topics they will be assessed on for some subjects.
Schools and colleges may also be given information about the focus of exam content in advance.
Education secretary Gavin Williamson, said: “Exams will always be the fairest way to assess students, which is why they will take place next year, but it’s right that next summer’s arrangements take into account the disruption young people have faced over the past 18 months.”
The consultation proposes a range of measures to help mitigate the impact of disruption to students’ education, focussing on the following areas:
- Giving schools and colleges some choice about the topics or content their students will be assessed in GCSE English literature, history, ancient history and geography
- Providing advance information of the focus of exam content, to help students focus their revision
- Giving students a formulae sheet in GCSE mathematics and an expanded equations sheet in GCSE physics and combined science
- Changing requirements for practical science work and practical art and design assessments.
Ofqual and the department are also running a consultation on arrangements for vocational, technical and other general qualifications (VTQs). This builds on the 2021 arrangements, which enabled awarding organisations to put in place adaptations such as streamlining assessments, providing revision guidance, and making changes to invigilation, including the introduction of remote invigilation and remote assessment.
Plans for VTQs in 2021 to 2022 are intended to be confirmed to enable assessments to commence early in the autumn term.
Since March 2020 awarding organisations offering VTQs have adapted qualifications where appropriate and are now well placed to take these adaptations into the next academic year.
Ofqual is proposing minimal changes to the VTQ arrangements, and is consulting on the impact of the move away from teacher assessed grades and on minor updates to regulations to take account of current circumstances.
Simon Lebus, Ofqual interim chief regulator, said: “With things slowly returning to normal we are launching a consultation so that the flexibility we are building into qualifications will future-proof them against any public health crisis.
“We want employers, collegesand universities to have the confidence in those qualifications
to allow students to move to the next stage of their lives.”
Plans for summer 2022 GCSE, mAS and A-level exams are expected to be confirmed early in the coming autumn term.
While the government intends for exams to go ahead in 2022, it will continue to work with
Ofqual on contingency plans in the event that it is not possible for exams to go ahead fairly and safely in 2022. It is believed these arrangements will not be necessary for exams in 2023.