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Exams

Summary of 2022 Exams Announcements

The DfE and Ofqual have published a number of documents setting out plans for AS levels, A levels, and vocational qualifications (BTECs) for Year 13 students this year. These include the following:

  1. A ‘decisions document’ setting out what changes will be put in place for AS and A levels in 2022, following the recent DfE/Ofqual consultation on this.
  2. An article by new Chief Regulator Dr Jo Saxton, explaining Ofqual’s approach to grading next year, and a blog setting this out for students.
  3. consultation on the contingency arrangements for AS and A levels.
  4. Guidance on the contingency arrangements for vocational and technical qualifications (VTQs)

The key points from these documents are below:

Subject Adaptations

  1. Students taking AS and A level art and design subjects will be assessed on their portfolio only.
  2. Examination boards will provide advanced information about the focus of the content of exams for all AS and A level subjects by 7th February 2022 at the latest. This could be released earlier ‘if circumstances require’.

Grading

  1. 2022 will be a ‘transition year’ to reflect the fact that we are in a pandemic recovery period and students’ education has been disrupted.
  2. Ofqual will therefore aim for grades in 2022 to reflect a midway point between 2021 and 2019. This means that results overall next year will be higher than in 2019 but not as high as in 2020.
  3. Examination boards will use data as a starting point, to align their standards in a subject. But the grade boundaries for each specification will be set by the senior examiners after they have reviewed the work produced by student.
  4. Grades for students sitting examinations in autumn 2021 will be aligned with grading in summer 2021.
  5. When predicting grades for UCAS this year, Ofqual recommends that teachers use the 2019 standard as the basis, but that they give borderline students the benefit of any doubt.
  6. Organisations awarding VTQs are expected to take account of the approach for GCSEs and A levels when setting standards in their own qualifications.
  7. In 2023, Ofqual aims to return to results that are in line with those in pre-pandemic years.

Results Days

Results for UK-based examinations next year will return to their normal format, with AS and A level results being released on 18th August. VTQs used to progress in a similar way will be issued on or before the same days, and other VTQ results will continue to be issued throughout the year.

Contingency Plans

The government has launched a two-week consultation on what contingency arrangements should be put in place if AS and A level exams cannot go ahead as planned in 2022.

The government’s proposal is essentially a tweaked Teacher Assessed Grade (TAG) process, with tighter guidance on the evidence on which TAGs would be based.

Specific suggestions include:

  1. planned assessment points from which to gather evidence (e.g. once in each of the late autumn, spring and early summer terms)
  2. the use, at these assessment points, of approaches which replicate exam board papers and exam conditions

It is likely that the government will produce guidance on this process, once the consultation is complete and the final approach is agreed. With this in mind, I thought it important that you have an overview of the upcoming mock assessment point that the academy will be using if we do have to revert to our contingency plans for the 2022 examinations window, as the data collected from these assessments would all directly contribute to your son/daughter’s Teacher Assessed Grades.

Year 13 Mock Examinations 2021

The Year 13 mock examinations will commence on Monday 29th November 2021.

As you know, the purpose of these examinations is to provide an opportunity for students to begin revising the practical content of their A Level so that this can be committed to long-term memory.

It is also to enable them to experience the pressure of working under examination conditions, managing their time in that situation and navigating their way through examination papers and activities. I am sure you will join me in urging your son/daughter to make the very most of this opportunity to enhance his/her chances of success in the final examinations next summer.

Students will be expected to be in all of their lessons when not in examinations between Monday 29th November – Friday 3rd December. The overall master timetable will be available on the academy website.

Please can you ensure that your son/daughter is at the academy on time as we will need to ensure morning examinations begin promptly at 9:00am. Please also be aware that there may be occasions when examinations run past our usual 3pm finish time.

In addition to the mock examinations, some of the Year 13 students have BTEC public examinations starting in January 2022. Confirmation of these examination dates will be published shortly. Your son/daughter will be issued with a timetable for these subjects.