Summer 2021 exam support

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15 January 2021

Today, Ofqual have released their consultation about the Summer 2021 General Qualifications exam series. We encourage you to read the consultation carefully and respond with your views, as by sharing your insight and experience Ofqual have the best chance of ensuring that the approach developed meets the needs of a range of stakeholders. The consultation closes on 29 January 2021.

6 January 2021

In a statement to Parliament today, the Education Secretary has confirmed that GCSE, AS and A level exams will not go ahead this summer and will be replaced by a form of teacher-assessed grades, with training and support provided to ensure these are awarded fairly and consistently.

Statement regarding Pearson general qualifications following today’s announcement on UK national restrictions (4 January 2021)

You will have seen this evening’s announcement by the UK government on further national restrictions being implemented in the UK, including UK school closures. We know that you will be thinking through and dealing with the implications of this across all areas of life and work - for yourselves, your families and your local and educational communities.

We would like to reassure you that we are working with the UK Department for Education and Ofqual to understand the implications of today’s announcements for our general qualifications. We will share further details as soon as we are able, via email, social media and on this webpage. You can also contact us directly with any queries.

Some of you may have queries about the January examination series for International GCSE and International A Level, which are due to start later this week. International GCSEs and International A Levels are used by students around the world and, as such, these exams are still intended to be available as planned. We are conscious that some schools will have students who are due to sit International GCSEs in January, but are now required to close due to national restrictions. We will be in touch very shortly with confirmation on arrangements here.

As always, we remain committed to helping schools manage the ongoing impact of COVID-19, and will be in touch again with further details as soon as they become available.

In August 2020, Ofqual confirmed there would be changes to the 2021 examination series due to the impact coronavirus has had on students’ education. Since then we have been working closely with Ofqual to finalise what this will look like for our Pearson Edexcel GCSE, AS and A level qualifications for 2021.

On 12 October, the Department for Education confirmed that GCSE, AS and A level examinations will take place in summer 2021, and that the summer exam series in 2021 will be moved back by three weeks and will start on 7 June and end on 2 July for almost all GCSE, AS and A levels. 

On 3 December, the Department for Education confirmed further information on measures to boost fairness and support students ahead of next summer’s exams and assessments, including that grades will be more generous than usual and in line with national outcomes from 2020.

We will be sharing further details on all elements in due course, and please visit our Regulatory update page for information on additional exams in 2021 and advance notice.

Read more on our Regulatory update page

Changes to our qualifications for summer 2021

Find out more about any changes that have been made for our qualifications for summer 2021.  

Update and consultation on Summer 2021 exam support - 17 December 2020

For some subjects there are changes to the qualifications and/or the way in which they are assessed, and there may be a change in the duration of the assessments. For other subjects there is little or no change.

Read full details of the changes to GCSE, AS and A levels in 2021 on the government website

We’ll be providing you with a range of information across subjects that will help to:

  • support teachers in understanding any changes* to qualifications by providing guidance and updates to specifications, exams and assessments
  • support teachers in understanding the current level of student knowledge, identify any gaps and offer solutions for how to address these
  • support students in understanding their current level of knowledge and provide material to help them plug the gaps.

In addition, we’ve been providing training and network events where our Pearson subject experts have been providing information about the summer 2021 changes and all the support available to help you and you students prepare.

We have consulted with our customers globally to understand your priorities and needs for International GCSE and International AS/A level qualifications. This consultation has been critical in informing the exam windows and timetables for the May/June 2021 series and we thank those of you who provided feedback.

We would like to confirm details of the iPrimary, iLower Secondary, International GCSE and International AS/A level exam windows as below.

  Exam window Results date
iPrimary & iLower Secondary 24 May – 27 May  19 August 2021
International GCSE 17 May – 18 June 27 August 2021
International AS/A level 5 May – 17 June 19 August 2021

Following consultations on the summer 2021 exam series, we have made a number of modifications to the International qualifications to support you in preparing your students for exams in May/June 2021. To help you and your colleagues understand changes to qualifications and assessments across subjects, we’ve provided guidance and updates to specifications, exams and assessments.

Following discussions with schools and colleges and to ensure fairness for all learners who will be preparing for external assessments in summer 2021, we are proposing to align our BTEC exam timetable to the revised exam timetable for general qualifications. This means our BTEC assessment window would start on 24 May and end on 2 July.

We know many of you, who support the alignment of vocational and general qualifications assessment timetables, also have concerns about the challenges this may present in terms of exam-timetable clashes and we are working closely with JCQ to ensure these are mitigated.

* The changes outlined in the documents provided for our summer 2021 exams are correct as of the date of publication. Please note that these changes apply to the 2021 exam series only. For students due to be examined in 2022 these changes do not apply.

Summer 2021 exam series - scaling

We have made changes to a range of our GCSE, AS, A level and International GCSE qualifications for assessment in 2021. Depending on the nature of the changes, for some of these qualifications we have had to introduce scaling, or adapt the scaling that is currently published in the specification.

Please see the information below for the qualifications impacted. 

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Subject-specific support

Please use the drop-down menu below to explore subject-specific support.  

We'll be supporting you and your students every step of the way with the 2021 assessment series. The only subject with changes is AS Geography.

Find out more information on the International A Level Geography page

We can confirm that there will be no changes to any other subject for International AS/A level for the May/June 2021 exam series.

We can confirm that there will be no changes to the qualification, specification or assessments for iPrimary and iLowerSecondary for the May/June 2021 exam series.

We will be supporting you and your students every step of the way with the 2021 assessment series. You can find out more about all the support we have available by following the above links to the qualification pages.