Ofqual: 2022 grading plans to be revealed next month

Decision announced on grading in October, while adaptations to exams will be published in next two weeks, says exams regulator

Catherine Lough

Ian Bauckham

Final plans for how GCSE and A-level exams will be graded in 2022 will be revealed next month, the chair of exams regulator Ofqual said today.

Ofqual chair Ian Bauckham was speaking at the Commons’ Education Select Committee today.

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Conservative MP David Johnston asked: “When can we expect your decision on what’s going to happen in 2022? I think you said shortly, but...”

Mr Bauckham replied: “October.”

Ofqual later clarified that October was when a decision would be announced on grading, while the adaptations to exams would be decided in the next two weeks.

The regulator previously consulted on how 2022 exams could be adapted to accommodate pupils’ learning loss during the pandemic, with options including the advance notice of topics and a wider choice of questions in some subjects mooted

Asked about how fairness for next year’s cohort would be ensured, Mr Bauckham said: “When we consider the decisions that need to be taken for 2022, it’s a slightly different situation to that we faced in 2021, where we were operating specifically under a direction from the secretary of state to prioritise the awarding of grades based on teacher judgement over maintaining the grade profile in previous years.

“Clearly, going forward for decisions that we have to take in 2022, there is a range of interesting considerations and risks to consider.

“One of those is the risk associated with baking in the significant rise in high grades that we’ve seen in previous years.

“But also, there are issues of fairness – fairness to students who are going through the examination system during the Covid period but also those who went through examinations before and will go through examinations afterwards. So we have to reach a view that balances all of those interests and make sure we do something which is fair to all students but is acutely cognisant of the risks associated with baking in the grade inflation.”

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author bio

Catherine Lough

Catherine Lough is a reporter at Tes.

Find me on Twitter @CathImogenLough

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