Applies to England
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Detail of outcome
We have decided that:
- Any student who receives a teacher-assessed grade (TAG) this summer, or who an exam board reasonably believes would have entered for the exams in summer 2021 had they taken place, can take the corresponding GCSE, AS and A level exams in autumn 2021. In addition, any student who was aged at least 16 on 31 August 2021 can take the GCSE English language and maths exams, as is usually the case.
- We will require the exam boards to offer exams in all GCSE and A level subjects and to offer AS exams in biology, chemistry, further maths, maths and physics. Each exam board can decide whether to offer exams in the other AS subjects if it wishes to do so.
- An exam board will not have to offer exams in any subject for which it has received no entries by the entry deadline.
- The exams will be in their normal format, with no adaptations being made. Reasonable adjustments will be made for disabled students. For clarification, the exams will assess students in the same way as had been planned for exams in summer 2021. For example: in GCSE English literature, history and ancient history, students will answer questions on a reduced number of topics. In GCSE and AS geography, students will not have to answer questions in the exam about their own fieldwork experience. In GCSE MFL students will have a speaking endorsement rather than a speaking test.
- Except for art and design qualifications, grades will be determined by students’ performance in the exams only – there will be no non-exam assessments.
- For art and design qualifications, grades will be determined by students’ performance in a task set and marked by the exam board.
- AS and A level exams will be held in October and GCSE exams in November and December. We will also allow, but not require, the exam boards to offer GCSE English language and GCSE maths exams in January 2022 forstudents who were eligible to enter the autumn exams in those subjects but did not do so.
- The usual arrangements for appeals and reviews of marking will apply to the exam series.
- An exam board must issue a replacement certificate to a student showing the higher of an autumn 2021 or summer 2021 grade in response to a request from that student. We will not require the exam boards to provide replacement certificates for students showing the higher of the summer 2020 and the autumn 2021 grade.
Detail of feedback received
We received 1,053 responses to this consultation from the following categories of respondents.
|Number of respondents
|Education or training provider
|School or college staff
|Exam board or awarding organisation
|Parent or carer
|Private or home-educated student
Proposals at a glance
Exams for GCSEs, AS, A levels and the Advanced Extension Award in summer 2021 have been cancelled because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. When the government set out its policy on how grades for these qualifications should be issued instead, it also confirmed that it wanted students to have the opportunity to take exams in autumn 2021 if they wish to try and improve on their teacher assessed grades with which they will be issued this summer. The Secretary of State, in his direction to Ofqual, said he expects Ofqual to make provision for this.
We are seeking views on how an autumn exam series should run, including on our proposals that:
any student who receives a teacher assessed grade in summer 2021 should be able to enter the autumn exams
any student who an exam board is satisfied would have taken exams in summer 2021 had they not been cancelled, but who did not receive a teacher assessed grade, should be able to enter the autumn exams. We are seeking views on whether other students should be permitted to enter the autumn exams
grades should be determined by a student’s performance in the exams alone; non-exam assessments should not be taken into account (with the exception of art and design qualifications)
art and design qualifications, for which there are not normally any exams, should be assessed through students completing an exam board’s set task only
the exams should be in their usual form and in their usual number for each subject
A level exams (and any AS exams) should be held in October and GCSE exams in November and December
students will be able to use the better of the summer or the autumn grade
exam boards will replace certificates showing only summer 2021 grades with certificates showing autumn grades if a student requests this
normal reviews of marking and appeal arrangements will apply
the exam boards should be required to offer exams in all GCSE and A level subjects, unless there are no entries for that subject by the time of the closing date. We are seeking views on whether we should require or permit the exam boards to offer AS exams, or prohibit them from doing so
no new requirements will be placed on the exam boards that offer Project qualifications or the Advanced Extension Award in respect of making awards in the autumn
This consultation is open to anyone who may wish to respond but may be of most interest to students who were expecting to take GCSE, AS or A level exams in the summer, teachers of those qualifications and exam boards.