Exams in Summer 2020

 

On 18 March 2020, the government decided to cancel all of the exams and assessments that were scheduled to take place in Summer due to the ongoing impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The following exams were cancelled:

  • A-levels
  • AS-levels
  • GCSEs
  • iGCSEs
  • SATs
  • The International Baccalaureate
  • Extended Project Qualifications (EPQ)
  • Advanced Extension Awards (AEA) in maths
  • Assessment for vocational and technical qualifications

 

Pupils who were entered for Summer 2020 exams were to be awarded their grades through a calculated grading process, created by Ofqual to suit the specific circumstances of the 2020 partial school closures and cancellations.

All pupils who were entered for exams in Summer 2020 were given a centre assessment grade and were put into a rank order by their subject teachers. The submitted data was then put through Ofqual’s model for external standardisation.

AS- and A-level students received their calculated grades on 13 August; however, on 17 August, the DfE stated that the standardisation system had resulted in too many inconsistent and unfair outcomes for students. The DfE announced that GCSE pupils and AS- and A-level students would, therefore, receive centre assessment grades for their results. This was deemed to be the fairest approach by Ofqual and the DfE.

GCSE pupils received their centre assessment grades on 20 August from their school or college, and students who received their AS- or A-level results on 13 August were reissued their centre assessment grade. If an individual’s calculated grade was higher than the centre assessment grade, their calculated grade stands.

Please note: the government has released official guidance on the decision for pupils to receive centre assessment grades. You can access the guidance here.

 

Accountability

 

The DfE has confirmed that schools will not be assessed based on Summer 2020 results. The data should not be used by Ofsted, LAs, MATs, etc. to hold schools to account or assess their performance – schools will instead be assessed using data from previous years. The DfE will not be publishing or sharing institution-level school accountability measures, e.g. Progress 8 and Level 3 Value Added, using Summer 2020 data. The DfE also confirmed that 2020 GCSE and A-level results will not be used to assess free school, teaching school, and English and maths hub applications.

Individual schools should not use the 2020 results as part of their teacher performance management processes.

After the results day for the relevant qualification level, parents and pupils will be able to request information on centre assessment grades and rank orders – read our article for more details.

 

Appeals for 2020 results

 

The deadline to submit appeals was 17 September 2020.

Appeals will only be accepted from schools or colleges where they think the exam board did not apply its procedures properly and fairly to calculated grades, or where the head of centre has evidence that the school or college made a mistake when submitting the centre assessment grades to the exam board. Appeals will also be accepted if schools or colleges believe there is an error in the data used to calculate results. Ofqual has released more guidance on appeals here.

A pupil cannot appeal if they disagree with their school’s or college’s professional judgement of the grade the pupil would have received if exams took place as usual. Pupils also cannot appeal on the basis of their mock exam results being higher than their calculated grade, as these results will have been taken into account as part of their centre assessment grade.

If, however, a pupil believes that, in their case, the correct process has not been followed by their school or college, they will be able to appeal for their calculated grade to be reassessed where appropriate. Pupils who have evidence of bias or discrimination should raise this with their school. The evidence could also be passed onto the exam board, who could then investigate for potential malpractice. Specific guidance regarding objectivity in grading, including the potential for bias and discrimination, is available here.

Ofqual’s complaint reporting mechanism is available here. Please note that due to the impact of coronavirus, complaints made to Ofqual may take longer to process. The government announced here that stated-funded schools and colleges will be able to claim back costs for unsuccessful appeals this year – as usual, successful appeals will be free.

 

Autumn 2020 exam series

 

If a pupil believes that their awarded grade does not accurately reflect their performance, they will be given the option to sit an exam in the Autumn term of the 2020/2021 academic year. All GCSE, AS- and A-level exams that boards intended to offer in Summer will be offered in this series. Pupils’ grades will be based solely on their performance in these exams and not on any non-exam assessment (NEA), except for in art and design qualifications (for which there are no exams). Pupils will still be able to enter for GCSE, AS- and A-level art and design in the Autumn term – their grades will be based on their performance in a new task set and marked by the exam board, taken under the normal supervised conditions. Information on centres’ responsibility for running this exam series is available here.

Additionally, pupils will be able to carry forward their endorsements from A-level biology, chemistry and physics, A-level geology, and GCSE English language (spoken language) into the Autumn series.

AS- and A-level exams will take place from 5-23 October and GCSEs will take place from 2-23 November. Where there is sufficient demand, Ofqual will also allow for GCSE exams in English language and maths to run in early 2021 for pupils who would normally be eligible to take these exams in November. Ofqual will not impose any new requirements in respect of an Autumn series on the exam boards that offer the Extended Project Qualification or the Advanced Extension Award.

The entry deadlines for the Autumn exams were 4 September 2020 for AS- and A-levels and 18 September 2020 for GCSEs. The deadline for GCSE English language and maths is 4 October 2020.

Results dates for the Autumn exam series are as follows:

  • 17 December 2020 – release of AS- and A-level results to candidates
  • 14 January 2021 – release of GCSE English language and maths results to candidates
  • 11 February 2021 – release of all other GCSE results to candidates

The normal review of marking and appeal arrangements will apply to the Autumn series. Exam boards must issue replacement certificates if requested by pupils, but Ofqual will not prevent exam boards from charging an additional fee for this.

Pupils will also be given the option to sit their exams in Summer 2021, in line with usual practice.

If a pupil decides to sit an exam, they will be able to use the higher of their two grades to progress.

Details regarding fees will be provided by the exam boards.

Public health arrangements

It is the government’s expectation that schools and colleges will run the Autumn series exams, including where the setting is only open for smaller pupil groups. Settings in areas under local restrictions are also expected to run the exams.

To prepare for the Autumn exams, schools and colleges need to:

  • Ensure they understand the NHS Test and Trace process and collect and keep information for candidates and invigilators so this can be shared with Test and Trace if needed.
  • Identify a location where candidates will wait before the exam that can support social distancing between ‘bubbles’, as well as between on-roll and off-roll candidates.
  • Make arrangements for exam rooms to be cleaned after every exam.
  • Set up exam rooms so candidates’ chairs are at least 1.25 metres apart, where they are in a bubble – chairs should be 2 metres apart for all other candidates.
  • Decide what their approach to wearing face coverings during exams will be – candidates and invigilators are not required to wear face coverings during exams, but they may wear them if they wish to.
  • Ensure procedures are in place to maintain distance between invigilators, pupils and other supervising staff.

Schools and colleges must act if they become aware that a candidate that has taken an exam has tested positive for coronavirus. Our flowcharts break down the action that needs to be taken.

Any candidate with symptoms of coronavirus must self-isolate for 10 days from the onset of symptoms. Where a member of a candidate’s household is symptomatic, the candidate must self-isolate for 14 days. It is possible that some candidates will be unable to attend any of their exams, e.g. because they are self-isolating. These candidates will have the option to enter exams in Summer 2021.

Our Coronavirus (COVID-19): Autumn Exam Risk Assessment can be used to ensure all the necessary protective measures are in place.

Read the government’s guidance on the public health arrangements that need to be in place for the Autumn exams here.

 

Private candidates

 

Private candidates include those who have been home-schooled, followed distance learning programmes, or studied independently.

Ofqual and the exam boards decided, following Ofqual’s consultation, that individuals who were not able to be awarded a centre assessment grade this Summer can resit their exams in Autumn 2020 or Summer 2021.

 

[Updated] Vocational and technical qualifications

 

Calculated results have been given for vocational and technical qualifications used for progression to FE or HE, such as Applied General qualifications and Technical Awards, where possible. Other vocational qualifications, such as those that are used for entry into employment where demonstration of practical competence is necessary, have not been awarded a calculated grade. In this instance, adapted assessments were delivered over the Summer – any delayed assessments will be delivered promptly within the 2020/2021 academic year.

The results of these assessments were reviewed in response to concerns in the grading structure coming to light in August 2020 – as a result some results have been reissued.

Students who do not feel their VTQ result reflects their ability will be able to sit an assessment at the next available opportunity.

[New] Ofqual recently ran two consultations regarding the provision of technical and vocational assessments, and on 12 October released their arrangements for the assessment and awarding of these qualifications that apply to all Ofqual regulated qualifications apart from GCSEs, AS and A levels, and apprenticeship end-point assessments.

[New] These arrangements are included within the Extended Extraordinary Regulatory Framework (Extended ERF), which allows Ofqual regulated awarding bodies to adapt their arrangements beyond what would normally be permitted under the usual Ofqual rules.

[New] The government’s position is that awarding bodies should use the Extended ERF to make decisions about qualifications on a case-by-case basis, as the diversity within vocational and technical qualifications inhibits a single adaptation approach. The Extended ERF offers four guiding principles with which awarding organisations must comply when making adaptations, alongside statutory guidance setting out the factors that awarding bodies should consider. These can be found within Ofqual’s guidance here.

[New] Ofqual’s advice is that awarding bodies should only reduce the volume of content covered for these qualifications in exceptional circumstances – where it is the only way of minimising disadvantage to learners as a result of the pandemic. Awarding bodies are cautioned that reducing the content being taught could damage the confidence that users have in that qualification, particularly for qualifications designed to signal occupational competency, and could further disadvantage learners.

[New] Awarding bodies are not required to make adaptations to their arrangements; however, they are required to review their qualifications thoroughly in light of the introduction of the Extended ERF to ensure that the impact of the pandemic on learners is mitigated as far as possible. The Extended ERF is a temporary measure; however, there is no strict timeframe for its enforcement, and Ofqual states that it will only be withdrawn when circumstances permit and after a suitable notice period for the awarding organisations.

[New] Awarding bodies are expected to confirm their approach and the adaptations they will be making by 23 October 2020.

 

HE providers

 

The grades and qualifications issued through the calculated grading process and centre assessment grades have the same status as those achieved through exams and assessments, as do grades awarded from exams sat in the 2020 Autumn term. Sixth forms, colleges and universities should treat these grades the same as regularly issued grades.

Universities UK has stated that universities will be flexible and pragmatic to ensure that pupils are able to progress to HE. They have also assured that universities will accept pupils who decide to sit exams in Autumn, allowing these pupils to begin their courses at a delayed start date. Pupils wishing to take this option should speak to their chosen universities after receiving their calculated grades.

The usual university admissions cycle should continue as normal. Universities should not make new unconditional offers because of the new circumstances, and pupils should not feel pressured to accept such offers should they arise. Any offers already made by universities, unconditional or otherwise, still stand.

Ofqual is working with schools, sixth forms, colleges and universities to ensure that pupils are prepared for the next stage of their education.

 

Employers

 

As with HE providers, employers should treat the calculated grades and Autumn exam grades as formal grades. If pupils have any concerns about going into confirmed jobs or apprenticeships, they should contact their prospective employers.

 

[Updated] Exams and assessments in 2020/2021

 

The government stated that despite the disruption to education caused by coronavirus and partial school closures, pupils taking exams and assessments in 2020/2021 should be able to progress to the next stage of their education or employment, and the overall standard and rigour of these exams and assessments should be maintained where possible. In response, Ofqual held a consultation on proposed changes to the Summer 2021 exam series and 2020/2021 non-exam assessments. The consultation addressed areas including:

  • Adapting exams and assessments to free up teaching time
  • Adapting exams and assessments to address obstacles that could be created by coronavirus infection control measures
  • Sampling subject content
  • Using more optional questions in exams
  • Changing the length of exams
  • Changing the exam timetable

Ofqual has decided to implement the majority of the proposed changes, which are detailed by subject below.

Exam boards should not make greater use of optional questions in exams, unless this is done to accommodate subject-specific decisions, nor will they be required to change the length, number or format of exam papers, except as necessary to accommodate specific changes to exam and assessment arrangements. Some assessment arrangements, however, will be adjusted to accommodate public health requirements.

Ofqual is still considering how exams and assessments can be made as fair as possible for all pupils, e.g. considering some pupils’ limited access to technology at home or lack of parental support. More detail is available in the ‘Equalities impact assessment’ section of Ofqual’s consultation response.

The government, which is responsible for the content of GCSEs, AS- and A-levels, is not minded to specify changes in subject content that forms the foundation of these qualifications. While official DfE content is not being reduced, the use of sampling across exams and centre-guided optionality in high-content subjects will free up teaching time and support teachers and pupils.

[New] Exams will take place in Summer 2021 between the dates of 7 June and 2 July inclusive for almost all AS and A levels and GCSEs. Results days will be on Tuesday 24 August and Friday 27 August for A and AS levels and GCSEs respectively.

[New] Ofqual expects that schools will give consideration to the range of scenarios which might impact pupils’ ability to sit exams, and develop contingency plans accordingly. The government has stated that they will engage with the sector to identify risks to exams at a national, local and individual pupil level, and consider appropriate measures to address potential disruption. The government will publish more details later in the Autumn.

Exams for Year 11 and 13 pupils will take place in Summer 2021; however, there will likely be adaptations to help pupils recover vital time lost due to the pandemic. Ofqual has consulted on proposed adaptations to exams and published its decisions at ‘Proposed changes to the assessment of GCSEs, AS and A levels in 2021’​.

[Updated] Summary of changes to exams and assessments in 2020/2021 by subject

 

Please note: This summary of changes uses the term ‘alternative evidence’ in a number of subjects. Ofqual states that ‘alternative evidence’ may include the following:

  • An audio-visual recording of the complete performance
  • A physical demonstration of key motifs with an explanation of how they inform the final piece
  • Original and non-original photographs, images, drawings or sketches with annotations to illustrate intentions
  • A written account
  • A video diary

[New] One maths and one English GCSE exam will be held just before the May half-term to allow for any year 11 pupils affected by the pandemic to have an optimum chance of sitting a paper in these core subjects.

The government has confirmed that no further subject-level changes will be made for GCSEs, AS and A levels to release time for teaching. Exam boards will provide clarification of their requirements and the accepted forms of alternative evidence in each subject.

GCSE, AS- and A-level art and design: Assessment will be portfolio only – exam boards can moderate photographic or digital portfolios.

GCSE astronomy: Pupils can observe rather than carry out activities themselves.

GCSE and AS-level biology; GCSE and AS-level chemistry; GCSE and AS-level physics; and GCSE combined science: Pupils can observe demonstrations and/or simulations to cover the required apparatus and techniques.

A-level biology, A-level chemistry, and A-level physics: Changes to Practical Endorsement requirements to allow The Common Practical Assessment Criteria (CPAC) to be assessed across the minimum number of practical activities required to demonstrate competence – exam boards can monitor schools’ application of CPAC remotely.

GCSE citizenship studies: Exam boards will be required to provide guidance on citizenship action in the context of public health restrictions.

GCSE computer science: The programming project can be undertaken in unsupervised time.

GCSE dance: The modifications to GCSE dance NEA are as follows:

  • Performative Assessment: Each pupil will be required to perform one or more dances with a combined duration of at least 1.5 minutes (if all solo) or 2 minutes (if including group performance). Solo-only performances should be designed to assess the full range of content expectations, except for ‘sensitivity/physical relationship to other dancers’. Schools must submit a complete, unedited audio-visual recording of the performed dances from the perspective of the audience.
  • Choreography Assessment: Each pupil will be required to choreograph either a complete solo dance of at least 1.5 minutes or a complete group dance of at least 2 minutes, in response to a brief set by the exam board. Exam boards can accept alternative evidence to illustrate the intended final piece, the choreographic intent and how that was developed. Pupils are not required to perform the choreographed dance or any physical demonstration of key motifs.

Both NEA components can either be marked by the teacher and moderated by the exam board, or be marked directly by the exam board.

AS- and A-level dance: The modifications to AS-level dance NEA are as follows:

  • Performative Assessment: Each pupil will be required to perform a solo dance of between 1.5 to 3 minutes (at AS-level, they will choreograph this dance themselves). Each pupil will be required to perform a second dance, either solo or in a group, in response to a task set by the exam board.
    • [AS-level] This should be between 1.5 to 3 minutes (if all solo) or between 2 to 3 minutes (if a group performance of up to three dancers).
    • [A-level] This should be between 1.5 to 4 minutes (if all solo) or between 2 to 4 minutes (if a group performance of up to four dancers).

Schools must submit a complete, unedited audio-visual recording of the performed dances from the perspective of the audience.

  • Choreography Assessment: Each pupil will be required to choreograph a dance in response to a task set by the exam board.
    • [AS-level] This should be a solo dance of between 1.5 to 3 minutes.
    • [A-level] This should be a dance of between 2 and 4 minutes for one to five dancers.

Exam boards can accept a programme note or alternative evidence to illustrate the choreographic intent and how that was developed.

Both NEA components can either be marked by the teacher and moderated by the exam board, or be marked directly by the exam board.

GCSE, AS- and A-level design and technology: Exam boards can accept mock-ups and/or clear and detailed intentions of prototypes. Pupils can observe a demonstration of machinery, tools or processes rather than using them themselves.

GCSE drama: The live performance statement can be satisfied through streamed or recorded performances. Pupils can analyse or evaluate the work of others based on live theatre and/or streamed or recorded performances. The modifications to GCSE drama NEA are as follows:

  • Devised Performance: Each pupil will be required to participate as either a performer or designer in a devised performance of at least 1.5 minutes (for monologue) and/or 2 minutes (for duologue or group). Exam boards can accept alternative evidence to illustrate the intended final piece, the student’s contribution to the creation and development of ideas, and their analysis and evaluation of their own work.
  • Text Based Performance: Each pupil will be required to participate as either a performer or designer in a devised performance of at least 1.5 minutes (for monologue) and/or 2 minutes (for duologue or group). Each pupil will be required to evidence their application of theatrical skills to realise artistic intentions, contribution to the creation and development of ideas, and analysis and evaluation of their own work. Evidence can include either a complete and unedited audio-visual recording of the text-based performance and/or presentation of each discrete aspect or each pupil’s individual contribution. Performers can submit audio-visual recordings of acting performances alone, without fully-designed sets, lighting, or costumes. Designers can submit alternative evidence, including product prototypes, original photographs, drawings or annotated sketches of designs, annotated scripts, written accounts, video accounts, or physical demonstrations.

Participation in a monologue is permitted for both the Devised and Text-Based Performances. Both NEA components can either be marked by the teacher and moderated by the exam board, or be marked directly by the exam board. Where permitted changes to NEA affect usual coverage, exam boards can assess one complete and substantial performance text and one key extract from a second contrasting performance text. There is no change to coverage in written exams.

AS- and A-level drama and theatre: The live performance statement can be satisfied through streamed or recorded performances. Pupils can analyse or evaluate the work of others based on live theatre and/or streamed or recorded performances. The modifications to AS- and A-level drama and theatre NEA are as follows:

  • Text Based Performance: Each pupil will be required to participate as either a performer, designer or director in a text-based performance of at least 1.5 minutes (for monologue) and/or 3 minutes (for duologue or group). Each pupil will be required to evidence their application of theatrical skills to realise artistic intentions, contribution to the creation and development of ideas, and analysis and evaluation of their own work. Evidence can include either a complete and unedited audio-visual recording of the text-based performance and/or presentation of each discrete aspect or each pupil’s individual contribution. Performers can submit audio-visual recordings of acting performances alone, without fully-designed sets, lighting, or costumes. Designers and directors can submit alternative evidence, including product prototypes, original photographs, drawings or annotated sketches of designs, annotated scripts, written accounts, video accounts, or physical demonstrations.
  • [A-level only] Devised Performance: Each pupil will be required to participate as either a performer, designer or director in a devised performance of at least 1.5 minutes (for monologue) and/or 3 minutes (for duologue or group). Exam boards can accept alternative evidence to illustrate the intended final piece, the pupil’s contribution to the creation and development of ideas, and their analysis and evaluation of their own work.

Participation in a monologue is permitted for both the Devised and Text-Based Performances. All NEA components can either be marked by the teacher and moderated by the exam board, or be marked directly by the exam board. Where permitted changes to NEA affect usual coverage, exam boards can assess one complete and substantial performance text and one or more key extracts from a different text. There is no change to coverage in written exams.

GCSE engineering: The exam board can accept clear and detailed intentions of prototypes. Pupils can observe a demonstration of machinery, tools or processes rather than using them themselves.

GCSE English language: Teachers are not required to submit a sample of audio-visual recordings of spoken language assessment for exam board monitoring. Spoken language assessment can take place before a single teacher, who can represent an ‘audience’, and can be conducted at any time during the course, including virtually. GCSE English literature: Pupils will have a choice of topics to answer questions on, so schools will have choice over the content taught. All pupils will be assessed on a minimum common core (a Shakespeare play), and schools can choose two of three other content areas to cover: poetry, a 19th century novel, or British fiction/drama from 1914 onwards.

AS- and A-level environmental science: Pupils can observe demonstrations and/or simulations to cover the required skills and techniques. Schools are not required to provide a written statement that pupils have been given the opportunity to undertake two (AS-level) or four (A-level) days of fieldwork.

GCSE, AS- and A-level film studies: Exam boards can accept:

  • [GCSE] A prototype/mock-up of genre-based film extract or to produce a genre-based screenplay extract with a shooting script.
  • [AS-level] An extract from a film or to produce an extract from a screenplay accompanied by a prototype/mock-up of a digitally photographed storyboard.
  • [A-level] A prototype/mock-up of a short film or to produce a screenplay for a short film accompanied by a prototype/mock-up of a digitally photographed storyboard.

Submissions will be in response to a brief set by the exam board, and should include supporting evidence as necessary and the pupil’s evaluative analysis of their own work. Supporting evidence may include original and non-original photographs, images, drawings or sketches with annotations to illustrate the pupil’s intentions, storyboards, screenplay or shooting script.

GCSE food preparation and nutrition: NEA1 will be removed and NEA2 can be released earlier. The requirements for NEA2 will be reduced to two dishes completed within three hours to allow pupils to use complex processes such as baking, lamination, and making ice-cream and to accommodate public health restrictions.

GCSE, AS- and A-level geography: Schools are not required to provide a written statement that pupils have been given the opportunity to undertake two (GCSE and AS-level) or four (A-level) days of fieldwork. Pupils are not required to answer exam questions on their own fieldwork experience.

  • [AS-level only] Unfamiliar fieldwork exam questions will be retained but will not be required to cover both human and physical geography.
  • [A-level only] Exam boards will review their guidance about expectations for primary data in NEA.

GCSE, AS- and A-level geology: Schools are not required to provide a written statement that pupils have been given the opportunity to undertake two (GCSE and AS-level) or four (A-level) days of fieldwork.

  • [AS-level only] Pupils can observe demonstrations and/or simulations to cover the required apparatus and techniques.
  • [A-level only] Changes to Practical Endorsement requirements to allow The CPAC to be assessed across the minimum number of practical activities required to demonstrate competence – exam boards can monitor schools’ application of CPAC remotely.

GCSE history and GCSE ancient history: Pupils will have a choice of topics to answer questions on, so schools will have choice over the content taught.

GCSE, AS- and A-level media studies: Exam boards can accept:

  • [GCSE and AS-level] A prototype/mock-up of an individual media production (single product).
  • [A-level] A prototype/mock-up of an individual cross-media production.

Submissions will be in response to a brief set by the exam board, and should include supporting evidence as necessary and the pupil’s evaluative analysis of their own work. Supporting evidence may include original and non-original photographs, images, drawings or sketches with annotations to illustrate the pupil’s intentions, storyboards, television screenplay, shooting script, or radio script and directions.

GCSE modern foreign languages: Assessments are no longer required to use words outside of vocabulary lists. Glossing is permitted where necessary, whilst maintaining the level of knowledge and accuracy needed for the highest grades. The spoken language assessment will be an endorsement reported on a three-point scale (pass, merit and distinction) against common assessment criteria and will be assessed by teachers during the course of study. Speaking skills should be assessed in an integrated way that supports classroom practice, without formal assessment settings or arrangements, other than where that is preferred and organised by the school, to reduce the disruption caused by the formal speaking exam. Exam boards can include an additional optional question in the writing assessment to enable students to focus on fewer themes in their writing.

[New] Ofqual has proposed that the assessment of spoken language will be removed from the calculation of the overall qualification result (the 9-1 grade) and will be reported separately alongside the 9-1 grade when results are issued.

GCSE, AS- and A-level music: The modifications to GCSE, AS- and A-level music NEA are as follows:

  • Performance Assessment: Each pupil will be required to perform one or more pieces of music with a combined duration of:
    • [GCSE] At least 1.5 minutes (if all solo) or 2 minutes (if including ensemble performance).
    • [AS-level] At least 2.5 minutes.
    • [A-level] At least 2.5 minutes (25 percent weighting), at least 3 minutes (30 percent weighting), or at least 3.5 minutes (35 percent weighting).

Pupils are not required to perform in an ensemble. Schools must submit a complete, unedited recording of the live performance and, where available, the performance’s score or lead sheet.

  • Composition Assessment: Each pupil will be required to compose one or more pieces of music with a combined duration of:
    • [GCSE] At least 2 minutes.
    • [AS-level] At least 2.5 minutes.
    • [A-level] At least 2 minutes (25 percent weighing) or at least 3 minutes (30 percent weighting), or two or more pieces of music with a combined duration of at least 4 minutes (35 percent weighting).

Compositions can be freely composed and/or in response to a brief set by the exam board – there is no requirement to do both. Schools must submit a complete recording of each composition with a score, lead sheet or written account of the composition, produced by the pupil. The pupil is not required to perform their own composition – the recording may be computer-generated.

Both NEA components can either be marked by the teacher and moderated by the exam board, or be marked directly by the exam board.

  • [AS- and A-level only] The exam board can review the period in which the Performance Assessment can be undertaken, within the year of certification.

AS- and A-level music technology: The modifications to AS-level music technology NEA are as follows:

  • Recording Assessment: Each pupil will be required to produce an audio recording with a duration of:
    • [AS-level] At least 1.5 minutes.
    • [A-level] At least 2 minutes.

Submissions will be in response to a brief set by the exam board. Exam boards will be required to provide sample recordings or approve school-selected sample recordings that are suitable for pupils to demonstrate their ability to edit and produce audio recordings.

  • Composition Assessment: Each pupil will be required to produce a technology-based composition with a duration of:
    • [AS-level] At least 1.5 minutes.
    • [A-level] At least 2 minutes.

Submissions will be in response to a brief set by the exam board. Exam boards will be required to ensure that where composition briefs have scope for live capture, pupils will not be disadvantaged if they complete the task using only synthesised sounds.

Both NEA components can either be marked by the teacher and moderated by the exam board, or be marked directly by the exam board.

GCSE, AS- and A-level PE and GCSE PE (short course): Moderation can be done remotely using video evidence for all activities. Exam boards will explore the relaxation of requirements for example, type, and quality of video evidence and the evidence of competitive sport participation.

  • [GCSE only] Exam boards can reduce the requirement to two activities and allow both to be individual.
  • [GCSE (short course) only] Exam boards can reduce the requirement to one individual activity.

For clarity, the following subjects will not undergo any changes to assessment in 2020/2021:

  • AS- and A-level accounting
  • GCSE, AS- and A-level Biblical Hebrew
  • GCSE, AS- and A-level business
  • GCSE, AS- and A-level Classical civilisation
  • GCSE, AS- and A-level Classical Greek
  • AS- and A-level computer science
  • GCSE, AS- and A-level economics
  • GCSE, AS- and A-level electronics
  • AS- and A-level English language
  • AS- and A-level English literature
  • AS- and A-level English language and literature
  • AS- and A-level history and AS- and A-level ancient history
  • AS- and A-level history of art
  • GCSE, AS- and A-level Latin
  • AS- and A-level law
  • GCSE, AS- and A-level maths and AS- and A-level further maths
  • AS- and A-level modern foreign languages and A-level modern foreign languages (listening, reading, writing)
  • AS- and A-level philosophy
  • AS- and A-level politics
  • GCSE, AS- and A-level psychology
  • GCSE, AS- and A-level RE and GCSE RE (short course)
  • GCSE, AS- and A-level sociology
  • GCSE, AS- and A-level statistics

 

Primary assessments

 

Statutory assessment for primary years will take place in Summer 2021 in line with their usual timetables, these assessments include:

  • The phonics screening check
  • KS1 tests and teacher assessment
  • The Year 4 multiplication tables check
  • KS2 tests and teacher assessment
  • Statutory trialling

A past version of the phonics screening check will need to be administered to Year 2 pupils during the second half of the 2020 Autumn term. Pupils who meet the expected standard in the Autumn check will not be required to complete any further statutory assessments in phonics. If pupils do not meet the expected standard, they will be expected to take the statutory check in June 2021. More information on administering the phonics screening check can be found here.

Reception baseline assessments have been postponed until September 2021.

2020/2021 is seen as a transition year to allow schools to prepare for and start embedding the engagement model – a new attainment framework for pupils working below the standard of national curriculum assessments and not engaged in subject-specific study. Schools who are prepared for the engagement model will be able to report against it, but if schools are not prepared, they can report against P scales 1 to 4.

 

Bibliography

 

DfE (2020) ‘Public health guidance to support autumn exams’ <https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/responsibility-for-autumn-gcse-as-and-a-level-exam-series/public-health-arrangements-for-autumn-exams> [Accessed: 30 September 2020]

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