GCSEs 2022: Ofqual lifts fieldwork requirement

Changes to non-exam assessment requirements carried over to 2022

Catherine Lough

GCSEs and A levels 2022: Why geography teachers must fight for field trips after the Covid disruption in schools

The exams regulator has confirmed that it will lift mandatory requirements for fieldwork in subjects such as GCSE and A-level geography for the 2022 summer exams.

The proposal was last week described by the Field Studies Council, an outdoor education charity, as “out of kilter” with national educational recovery efforts.

GCSEs 2022: No fieldwork will 'bake in' lost learning

Related: Scrapping of geography GCSE fieldwork 'ham-fisted'

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The charity said the proposals risked students being “baked in to a cycle of lost learning”.

But today, Ofqual announced that the lifting of the fieldwork requirement would be carried forward for the 2022 series.

The regulator said that there was strong support for the proposals in its analysis of consultation responses on the issue, with 70 to 92 per cent of respondents supporting this for GCSE, while between 60 and 89 per cent supported the plans for A levels.

And nine in 10 respondents said they could not identify any impact that would affect students because of their protected characteristics.

Simon Lebus, Ofqual's interim chief regulator, said: “I am pleased there was such broad support for the proposed approach to non-exam assessment next year.

“These decisions provide certainty for school and college leaders, teachers and students if they cannot undertake assessments as normal, and now students can forge ahead.”

Ofqual said that the changes meant that adjustments to assessment, and evidence requirements for non-exam assessment for a range of subjects, could be made, including dance, music and physical education.

“In the main, we are giving exam boards the opportunity to allow teachers to decide how to support and assess their students, in light of any public health restrictions,” a statement from the regulator added.

It said that the decision to remove a requirement for fieldwork did not mean that schools could not organise fieldwork for their students.

“But we know from consultation responses that the pandemic will make it difficult, or impossible, for some centres to organise off-site fieldwork,” it said.

“In GCSE and AS geography, students will still be required to answer questions on fieldwork more generally, rather than fieldwork they have done themselves.

“At A level, geography students will continue to undertake an independent investigation but exam boards will be flexible in their requirements for use of primary data.”

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author bio

Catherine Lough

Catherine Lough is a reporter at Tes.

Find me on Twitter @CathImogenLough

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