GCSEs 2022: DfE and Ofqual set out exam 'adaptations'

Giving students advance notice of topics is among options under consideration for GCSE exams next summer

Catherine Lough

GCSEs and A levels 2022: Ofqual and the DfE have published a new consultation on their exam plans

The Department for Education and Ofqual have launched a consultation on measures that could be taken to mitigate disruption to students sitting GCSE and A-level exams in 2022.

The DfE and Ofqual say that the measures will "include choices about the topics students will be assessed on for some subjects, and giving schools and colleges advance information about the focus of content of the exams for other subjects".

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Other measures under consultation include giving schools some choice about topics assessed for GCSE English literature, history, ancient history and geography.

GCSEs and A levels 2022: Schools could get advance information on exam content

And the regulator will also be consulting on whether students should be given formulae sheets for GCSE mathematics and expanded equation sheets for GCSE physics and combined science.

Other measures under consideration are changing requirements for practical science work or art and design assessments.  

Education secretary Gavin Williamson said:  “This year we have rightly asked those who know students best – their teachers – to determine young people’s grades.

"While I know the wait for results can be an anxious one, students and their families can look forward to receiving results next month in the knowledge that they will reflect young people’s hard work and enable them to progress to their next stage.

“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.”

In a statement, the regulator also said it was "considering how best to grade qualifications in 2022 in a way that is as fair as possible to students in that year, those who took qualifications in previous years, and those who will take them in future”, and that it would make this decision following the 2021 results release.

The government added that these adaptations would only apply to 2022 exams and that "it is our firm intention that exams will return to normal in 2023".

Simon Lebus, Ofqual's 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.

“And we want employers, colleges and universities to have the confidence in those qualifications to allow students to move to the next stage of their lives.

“We look forward to feedback on our plans from students, parents and teachers to ensure we understand their needs, particularly those whose education has been more harshly affected by the pandemic.”

The consultation for GCSE and A levels will close on 1 August.

In Part A of the consultation, the department sets out its policy position and the scope of "adaptations to assessments and qualifications that may be necessary to address the ongoing impact of the pandemic in the academic year 2021 to 2022".

In Part B of the consultation, Ofqual sets out the changes to its regulatory arrangements to implement the department’s policy position.

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author bio

Catherine Lough

Catherine Lough is a reporter at Tes.

Find me on Twitter @CathImogenLough

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