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Summer 2023 support
On this page we’ll provide updates and information from Ofqual and the Department for Education (DfE) relating to the summer 2023 exam arrangements for GCSE, AS and A level.
Ofqual and DfE arrangements for summer 2023
In September 2022 Ofqual and the DfE confirmed that, in England, GCSE, AS and A level exams and grading will largely return to pre-pandemic arrangements in summer 2023. On 30 November they also published the outcomes of a number of consultations for summer 2023.
Please take a look at the sections below to ensure you have all the information and support you need for 2023.
Understanding 2023 results and grade boundaries
We've put together some useful guides for 2023 to help you understand results and grade boundaries.
Understanding your students' results
This guide will to help teachers understand and analyse their students' results, as well as guide you through the your next steps should you wish to query an individual grade, using our post-results services.
Understanding grade boundaries 2023
These guides explain how grade boundaries are set each year by all exam boards, in particluar the appoach being taken for 2023 as we return to pre-pandemic grading, while giving students some protection against any impact of disruption.
Below you'll find one document that explains our approach for UK qualifications and one that explains our approach for our International qualifications.
Dr Jo Saxton, the Chief Regulator at Ofqual and Clare Marchant, the Chief Executive at UCAS have written a letter to students receiving results on 17 August this year outlining important information about results.
Please do pass this information on to your students.
On 10 July Ofqual published their latest blog - Exam results 2023: 10 things to know about GCSE, AS and A level grades - which covers information that you and your students need to know about grading and results for GCSEs, AS and A levels this summer. Please do read this and pass this information on to your students.
Dr Jo Saxton, Chief Regulator at Ofqual, has written a letter to parents outlining the additional support that has been put in place this year for students taking exams to recognise the disruption they’ve faced.
This includes support materials, grading protection for GCSE and A level student cohorts, a spaced-out timetable and help with languages - where modern foreign language GCSE papers no longer have to test unfamiliar vocabulary.
Results for 2023 are expected to be similar to those in pre-pandemic years. There will be grading protection for GCSE and A level students which means that a student who would have achieved an A at A level before the pandemic should be just as likely to do so in 2023, even if the quality of their work is a little weaker.
Please see our information guide below for International Advanced level examinations regarding entry, aggregation and certification rules and procedures.
DfE has confirmed that, in 2023, students are not required to memorise formulae for GCSE mathematics and equations for GCSE physics and combined science.
To support this, we have released updated formulae and equation sheets for summer 2023. You can download these from the qualification 2023 support pages listed below.
We have also released an updated equation sheet for International GCSE Physics which can be downloaded from the qualification 2023 support pages listed below.
Ofqual and DfE have published the outcome of their joint consultation on guidance to schools and colleges about gathering assessment evidence to support resilience in the general qualifications system in 2023 for GCSE, AS, A level, Project and AEA.
- It has been agreed that in the unlikely event that exams do not go ahead in 2023 a TAG approach would be implemented nationally.
- TAGs would not be used to award a grade when exams take place.
- Proposals set out in the consultation about the provision of guidance for teachers on how they should collect evidence of student performance will be implemented.
DfE and Ofqual have confirmed that changes made to assessments in 2022 on the use of vocabulary will be carried forward to future assessments from 2023 and beyond. These changes allow exam boards greater flexibility by:
- removing the specific requirement that existed in previous years for the assessments to use vocabulary that is not on the vocabulary lists
- permitting exam boards to give the meaning of (gloss) unfamiliar vocabulary, if they consider this necessary.
Whilst the government does not expect to ever be in a position where exams are cancelled nationally and alternative assessment arrangements are required, good public policy means having contingency, even for extremely unlikely scenarios.
Ofqual has therefore provided guidance for all schools and colleges on the steps they should take to collect and retain evidence in the academic year 2022 to 2023 in the unlikely event that exams cannot go ahead as planned.
This guidance covers GCSEs, AS and A levels, Project qualifications, and the Advanced Extension Award (AEA) in mathematics.
Ofqual has produced a guide for students that provides information about the arrangements for GCSEs, AS and A levels and vocational qualifications in England this summer. It also explains what support is in place when taking exams and assessments.
You can read the full information on their website, but they’ve also produced a condensed version of the information in a handy PDF. take a look at the guidance and download the PDF.
Exam tips for students
To support students with their revision, we’ve put together a Getting ready for exams guide that includes some top tips and advice including:
- preparing for exams
- what happens on exam day
- where to find further support
- what happens once exams are over.
Take a look at the guide and please pass it on to your students.
Exams are undertaken with strict supervision and it’s important that students know what to expect on the day of their exams. Ofqual have created a student checklist which includes information on what can be done the day before each exam, what can and can’t be taken into the exam hall.
Let’s talk about social media
Social media is big part of everyday life and whilst many of us enjoy sharing experiences online, when it comes to exams, we all have to be very careful.
The Joint Council for Qualifications has produced a guide for students on using social media during the exam season. There are some do’s and don’ts that should be followed and a list of the consequences that may happen if these are not followed.
JCQ included and important reminder about the use of grade boundaries for predicting grades in their December 2022 Newsletter.
Awarding bodies recognise the important role that teachers play in predicting grades for their students’ UCAS applications and appreciate how challenging this can be.
Ofqual's announcement on 29 September, recommends teachers to use pre-pandemic grading standards as the basis of predicting students’ grades in 2023.
Where you are using evidence from past papers from Autumn 2020, 2021 and Summer 2022 to create UCAS predicted grades, please be aware that the published grade boundaries for these exams reflect the grading arrangements in place during the pandemic. As such, these boundaries may be lower than those using the pre-pandemic standards.
For further information on the latest Ofqual guidance, please read Dr Jo Saxton, Ofqual Chief Regulator’s blog.
On 28 March 2023 the Joint Council for Qualifications published guidance about the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in assessments.
The JCQ Artifical Intelligence (AI) Use in Assessments: Protecting the Integrity of Qualifications guidance is intended to provide teachers and assessors involved in delivering JCQ qualifications with the information they need to manage use of AI in assessments.
This guidance applies to all our general qualifications including GCSEs, International GCSEs, AS and A levels, International A levels, Entry Level, Project and vocational qualifications.
Important points to note:
- centres should explain the importance of students submitting their own independent work
- centres should ensure that teachers and assessors are familiar with AI tools and their risks
- centres should consider communications with parents/carers to make them aware of AI
- students must acknowledge use of AI when used.
Within the document, there is a list of potential indicators of AI use that may help identify work where students have misused AI.
Please do take a look at this guidance and share widely with all teachers in your centre.
Year round support
We'll keep this web page up to date with any further information from Ofqual, DfE and JCQ about summer 2023 and provide news and information in the regular Pearson qualifications bulletin. For subject-specific support, please do stay in touch with your subject advisors and you can also contact us directly if you have any other queries.