News

A-level examinations: Guidance from Ofqual
16/11/2021

Dear Parent,

A-level examinations: Guidance from Ofqual

Last week the government regulator with responsibility for public examinations, Ofqual, published important information about arrangements for A-levels in 2022.

We share Ofqual’s overriding aim – to get back to normal with examinations that are set, marked and graded by examiners, with everyone taking the same assessments at the same time, in the same way. This approach, the one adopted over many years, remains the best way of ensuring that young people can show what they know, understand and can do.


Changes by 7th February

Ofqual also acknowledge that Year 13 students have experienced a period of disruption which deserves to be recognised in order to alleviate the impact of any ‘lost learning’. A small number of subject changes have already been announced and more will follow by no later than 7th February 2022. These changes are likely to steer teachers to particular parts of the specification and away from others that will not appear in the final examinations.


Grading

Qfqual have also clarified their aim for the grading of next year’s examinations. The grading standard will reflect a midway point between 2021 (teacher assessed grades) and 2019 (the last year of public examinations). This means that exam boards will set the grade boundaries so that more students get higher grades in 2022 than before the COVID pandemic.
Contingency arrangements

The strong assumption is that 2022 examinations will go ahead as planned but if further COVID related disruption prevents this from happening, an alternative will be needed. Qfqual have informed schools that this contingency will be through the use of centre assessed grades which will be administered in a similar way as in 2020 and 2021. Ofqual are keen to stress that this scenario is highly unlikely but one that ought to be planned for just in case.


Mock (PPE) examinations

The Ofqual guidance around contingency arrangements makes recommendations for schools which we support and will act upon, including the need for a formal assessment in each subject in each of the three school terms. In order to satisfy this strongly worded suggestion we are reverting to the school’s traditional approach of having Year 13 mock examinations before the Christmas break.

Mock exams will take place from Monday 6th December to Monday 13th December in a manner which best replicates the real thing. Students will only be tested on topics taught, the exams will be assessed against published mark schemes and access arrangements for eligible students will be given. Study leave will replace scheduled lessons during this week.

The spring term assessment will take the form of a second round of mocks and these have been provisionally timetabled for the week commencing 14th March.

Arrangements for the summer term will be made nearer to the date and will be dependent on whether or not the contingency plans are likely to be triggered.

The mock examinations will therefore serve to satisfy the requirement for a centre assessed grade should the need arise and provide formative assessment information that will enable students to better prepare for the public examinations proper.


Yours sincerely,

R D Jones
Headmaster