It is the government’s intention that examinations will go ahead this summer as planned but there have been a few adaptations to reflect the challenges that students are facing due to the Covid pandemic. There are also plans in place to make grades fairer as well as procedures if examinations can’t take place.
If the 2022 exams cannot go ahead due to further Covid disruption, grades will instead be determined by your teachers, using a Teacher Assessed Grade (TAG) approach. Ofqual has published decisions about this approach following a public consultation, which included students. This means that your teachers will gather evidence, through assessments, to help them determine Teacher Assessed Grades (TAGs) if exams do not take place.
In recognition of the fact that students’ education has been disrupted by the pandemic, they will be given extra help to prepare for their exams as follows, as confirmed following a joint DfE and Ofqual consultation:
- Students taking GCSEs in English literature, history, ancient history and geography will not need to cover the usual range of content in the exams – the exam boards have published information on their websites on how this will work for each of their specifications in these subjects.
- Students taking GCSEs in all other subjects will be given advance information about the focus of the content of the exams to support their revision and may have some choice of topic or content.
- Students taking AS and A levels will be given advance information about the focus of the content of the exams to support their revision.
- Students taking GCSE mathematics will be given in their exams copies of formulae they would in other years have to memorise.
- Students taking GCSE physics and combined science will be given in their exams a sheet covering all the equations they might need to apply in the exams.
For more information see:
- student guide to exams and assessments in 2022
- postcard on this year’s changes
- subject-by-subject guide to the changes
When grading exams in 2022, Ofqual (the examinations regulator) will aim for a grading standard that reflects a midway point between 2021 and 2019. This means that exam boards will set the grade boundaries so that more students get higher grades in 2022 than before the pandemic. This will provide a safety net for those students who might otherwise just miss out on a higher grade. Ofqual have taken this decision to reflect the disruption that students in this cohort have experienced already in their courses. Grading is monitored by the experts every step of the way, who will review results for each subject before they are published to students.
Children and young people who are unwell and have a high temperature should stay at home and avoid contact with other people. They can go back to school, college or childcare when they no longer have a high temperature, and they are well enough to attend. Where a candidate is unable to attend an exam, the centre should contact the awarding organisation on the candidate’s behalf to determine the next available assessment opportunity or whether special consideration might be available.
Candidates with a weakened immune system should follow guidance for people whose immune system means they are at higher risk from COVID-19.
This is used where a student has temporarily experienced an illness or injury, or other event outside their control, which is likely to have adversely affected their ability to demonstrate their knowledge and skills during assessment.
The JCQ (Joint Qualifications Council) definition of special consideration is:
Special consideration is a post-examination adjustment to a candidate’s mark or grade. This is to reflect temporary illness, temporary injury or some other event outside of the candidate’s control at the time of the assessment. It is applied when the issue or event has had, or is reasonably likely to have had, a material effect on a candidate’s ability to take an assessment or demonstrate his or her normal level of attainment in an assessment. Candidates may be eligible for special consideration due to the impact of Covid-19.
Anxiety and mental health support
This has been a difficult time for students who have shown great resilience in the face of the challenges presented by the pandemic. Students should make sure they speak to somebody if they are feeling anxious or struggling with mental health. This might be a parent, carer or someone else they trust.