Ofqual has recently published an article concerning contingency arrangements for students entering GCSEs, AS and A-Levels in the 2021/22 academic year.
In line with this communication, we’d like to reaffirm our commitment to having exams go ahead in both January and May. We, however, do acknowledge the possibility of exams being cancelled again due to the pandemic and, as such, would like to present some guidance on how Centres can prepare in this unlikely scenario.
Firstly, if exams are cancelled in Summer 2022, teachers will likely determine grades instead by using Teacher Assessed Grades (TAGs). This guidance aims to support our Centres delivering a qualification in the Design, Engineer, Construct suite to ensure appropriate evidence is available should the formation of a TAG be needed to award this qualification in the 2021/22 academic year.
All Design, Engineer, Construct suite qualifications are assessed fully or partially by a non-exam assessment (NEA). Teachers should support students, wherever possible, to collect evidence in line with the previously published permitted adaptations to produce a portfolio of evidence. If exams are cancelled, we anticipate the portfolio of evidence will be the primary source of evidence when they generate a TAG.
Additionally, the suite’s Level 2 and Level 3 qualifications are partially assessed using an externally set and marked exam. While several Centres are sitting learners in the January Exam, many of our Centres will not be submitting learners for the exam until the May 2022 window. In the scenario exams are cancelled, learners only sitting in May will not have had the opportunity to complete an externally set and marked assessment. To combat this, we encourage all Centres delivering a Level 2 or Level 3 qualification to take the opportunity to complete mock exams throughout the remainder of the academic year. Examination evidence will be a crucial source of evidence available in the formation of TAGs. Mock exams should be conducted under exam-like conditions. As such, we would expect learners:
- should not know the questions in the assessment beforehand,
- should work independently and without assistance (other than as required for a reasonable adjustment),
- should not have access to books or revision notes, and the assessment should be timed and supervised.
This will help ensure that the work is authentic and prepare students for exams in the summer.
We would also encourage all Centres to assess all of its students who are taking a particular qualification using the same material at the same time and ensure the assessment approach is consistent for all learners taking the qualification.
We would encourage all Centres with learners completing in 2021/22 with learners completing a Level 2 or Level 3 qualification to complete a mock exam in the spring term of 2022, especially those not completing the formal exam on January 18th 2022. Additionally, we would encourage all Centres to complete a mock in the first half of the summer term in 2022.
The early assessment(s) will mean that if the pandemic disrupts education later in the academic year, such that it is not possible for teachers to assess their students further, there will be some evidence on which TAGs can be based if exams are cancelled.
Mock exams should be completed using assessment materials provided by Training Qualification UK. Students should not be allowed to repeat an assessment, for example, to improve their marks in response to feedback. They can, however, use a previously sat exam to practice for future mock exams. Their performance in later assessments might, of course, reflect feedback on their performance in earlier assessments. Teachers should mark the assessments in line with published exam board mark schemes and guidance where appropriate. Centres should support teachers to mark work for the same qualification to the same standard. Students should be provided with feedback, which could include marks or comments.
If exams are cancelled, further communication will be provided to Centres to ensure the necessary support is available.
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