Ofqual proposes changes to 2021 GCSEs and A-Levels

On Monday, August 3rd, exam regulators Ofqual announced proposed changes to the assessment of GCSE, AS and A-Levels for 2021.

Schools will have to change how they assess content in GCSE history, geography and ancient history (this does not affect students of Bucks UTC). They will also need to allow for choice in the content that should be covered in English Literature, giving students and teachers some flexibility over the material read.

Exam boards will not be required to change the length, number and layouts of the exam papers  for any subjects that haven’t been affected by new proposals.

The proposals, which may change if the health situation progressively gets worse, will affect students moving into Year 11 and 13 in September 2020. These students will take their exams in the summer of 2021.

A full summary from Ofqual:

  • should change how they assess content in GCSE geography, history and ancient history, as we proposed in our consultation
  • should change how they assess GCSE English literature, to allow for some choice in the content to be covered. The government, which is responsible for the content of GCSEs, AS and A levels, has decided to allow for this change in light of the responses to the consultation
  • should not, unless to accommodate subject specific decisions, make greater use of optional questions in exams
  • should remove the requirement for centres to make a declaration to them confirming they provided all students with the opportunity to undertake a mandated number of days of fieldwork in GCSE, AS and A level geography. The non-exam assessment should be retained at A level but the exam boards should consider how they can be flexible in their requirements for the non-exam assessment to use primary data. We proposed this change for GCSE geography only in the consultation. We have extended this to AS and A level in light of responses to the consultation
  • should remove the requirement for centres to make a declaration to them confirming they provided all students with the opportunity to undertake a mandated number of days of fieldwork in GCSE, AS and A level geology and AS and A level environmental science. We have made this decision in light of responses to the consultation
  • should adjust the observational activity requirements for GCSE astronomy which would allow students to observe rather than carry out the activities themselves. We have made this decision in light of responses to the consultation
  • will not be required to change the length, number or format of the exam papers, except as necessary to accommodate specific changes to the exam and assessment arrangements
  • should, for GCSEs in modern foreign languages, report the assessment of spoken language as an endorsement alongside the 9 to 1 grade
  • should allow for a range of adjustments to the assessment arrangements in a number of subjects to accommodate potential public health requirements, for example, GCSE food preparation and nutrition, GCSE, AS and A level music and GCSE physical education

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