Summer 2021 support
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The Department for Education (DfE) and Ofqual have confirmed their approach for issuing grades in summer 2021. Grades will need to be submitted by 18 June 2021. You can find more detailed information on their website.

We're providing support and guidance documents via the Pearson Professional Development Academy as well as running pre-recorded and live training sessions. 

Sign up to stay updated as more training becomes available

Our training will cover general support for: 

  • grading
  • quality assurance processes
  • how you may use the organised and additional assessment materials
  • appeals
  • unconscious bias  

Support materials are now available for you to access via the Professional Development Academy, with further materials following throughout April and May. We have been running live training sessions for both UK and International qualifications and recordings of these events will made available shortly after they have taken place.

Support for determining grades in summer 2021

To help you find all the key information and support quickly for determining grades in summer 2021, we've created two infographics with all the links you need for both our UK and International general qualifications.

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More detail on the Department for Education and Ofqual approach for arriving at grades this year can be found on their website.

On Friday 26 March the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) released comprehensive guidance on the process for deriving grades this summer. Whilst we recommend reading the full detail of the document, we know it’s an incredibly busy time in schools and colleges right now, and work towards determining grades for this summer is only one of the many things taking place. So, to help you work through and understand the detail of this guidance,  we have pulled out the ten key areas to note from the document, which we hope you’ll find useful. Take a look at the document below.

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This document outlines how to use the student performance data from past examinations as well as the different forms of data provided to our centres.

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In order to assist centres we have created a comprehensive guidance on the process for deriving grades this summer. This document provides an overview of the approach together with detail on each of the specific aspects – including quality assurance, grading and appeals. It is important that you take time work through the document and in the coming weeks we will do all that we can to support you in your understanding of it.

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For all entries that were made before 21 March 2021, you can expect to receive hard copies before 26 April. We are tracking these deliveries and working with you should we see any delays in transit. 

For all entries made after 21 March, you will need to print the required number of copies from the electronic files available on Secure Download Service (SDS). Please download our user guide for more information in regard to setting up an SDS account.  

We do recommend that you set up your SDS account before the window opens to ensure there are no delays to accessing the materials.  

Commonly asked questions: 

  • When will unseen written materials be available? 
    Standard and modified question papers will be available from 6am UK BST the day that the materials are released until 23:45 UK time 21/05/2021. After this they will be available on the Pearson website. 
  • When will audio files be available? 
    Audio files will be available 6am UK time the day before the written materials are released (or Friday before if the materials are released on a Monday) until 23:45 UK time 21/05/2021. Transcripts will also be available from 6am UK time the day the materials are released until 23:45 UK time 21/05/2021.  
  • What Modified versions are available? 
    Modified papers are made to order so only the modifications that have been ordered by centres will be available. 
  • What if I can't log into SDS? 
    Speak to your customer services team if you cannot log into SDS. There are other ways we can send you material if you are experiencing issues.  

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If you submitted a modified paper order before 21 March for large print or interactive materials .pdf formats will be available via our secure download service (SDS). We will not be despatching hard copies of these. Tactile and braille assessments will be dispatched from 16 April. If you have requested models these will be despatched from 16 April and papers will be available on the secure download service.  

As with the standard question papers, if you have not made entries, you will not be able to access the modified materials. 

If you have not placed an order via Pearson Access Arrangements Online, please do this immediately. At this late stage there is a chance we may not be able to supply, and we will contact you if this is the case. 

 

Please note that for the following qualifications we will align to the same evidence-based approach that we are using for GCSE and A level qualifications. This means the guidance available for our UK general qualifications should also be used for these qualifications.

  • Edexcel Awards in Mathematics
  • Edexcel Advanced Extension Award in Mathematics
  • Mathematics in Context (Level 3 Core Maths)
  • Entry Level Certificate (English, Mathematics, Physical Education, Science)

The submission date for these grades will be 18 June 2021 as with all other qualifications. They could be called upon as part of the centre level quality assurance checks.

We know that you are keen to start preparing for grading candidates for our UK General Qualifications, and we are fully committed to making sure you’ll have everything you need for each individual qualification at the very earliest opportunity.

Below is the initial timeline of some of the key activities that we are working towards. We will update this as more key dates become available.

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The Department for Education has published guidance for centres on a Private Candidate Support Grant.

JCQ have also produced guidance for private candidates.   

Private candidates will be assessed this year on a range of evidence, in a similar way to other students.  Centres accepting private candidate entries will need to understand how the private candidate has been studying, what evidence they may have already generated, and how much of the specification content they have covered in their studies.  Private candidates’ results should be included in a centre’s internal quality assurance checks as far as possible, but they may need to be excluded from wider quality assurance exercises where, for example, their evidence base is different from the centre’s other students. 

JCQ will produce a list of centres willing to offer GCSEs, AS or A levels to private candidates who wish to enter in Summer 2021. All JCQ centres will be given the opportunity to be added to the list. JCQ will be contacting centres shortly and asking them to provide details of the subjects they can offer and a brief outline of their assessment process including, for example, whether they can offer assessments remotely and whether they are willing to consider pre-existing evidence.We can assure private candidates that they will not need to pay higher entry fees if, as a result of this, they need to make their entry after the extended entry deadline. 

Further information for centres on how best to support private candidates, including guidance on the selection of assessment evidence can be found in the JCQ document above.  

Visit our dedicated Private candidates page for further information and support

Supporting students, parents and carers throughout 2021 is a top priority and it's important to us that all students receive a fair grade. We'll make sure you have clear information and guidance on how we're supporting your teachers to help them make their grading decisions, and will have lots of other support on our webpage dedicated to students, parents and carers.

Visit our dedicated web page for further information and support

We are working with Department for Education, Ofqual and other exam boards to finalise the approach to providing students with grades this summer and don’t yet fully understand the impact on our costs. Once we do, any net savings that we make will be passed back to you as a credit note. 

We are planning to invoice customers for their June 2021 General Qualification entries during March 2021. 

Summer 2021 grading support

We'll be supporting you and your students every step of the way with the 2021 summer arrangements. Take a look at the support for your subject qualifications below: