General Qualification Bulletin - International - Issue 11 | Pearson qualifications

General Qualification Bulletin - International - Issue 11

Dear Colleague,

I hope that those of you who have recently had a half-term break were able to take a well-earned rest and that you’re all looking forward to the remainder of this term. Although there is still a lot more work to do before you finish for the holidays, we hope that once you have submitted your grades by 18 June, you can look forward to finishing end-of-term arrangements.

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Now that the centre policy submission deadline has passed, the key task for you and your colleagues will be preparing and submitting the teacher assessed grades by 18 June. The teacher assessed grades submission portal is now live and we have provided links below to a range of resources to support you with this process. We advise that you log in sooner rather than later to familiarise yourself with the portal and make sure that your access is correct.  

Most of you will have already had feedback on your centre policy, as part of the quality assurance process, but please don’t worry if you haven’t heard from us yet - there are a small number of cases where we are still reviewing policies.This should not stop you from preparing and submitting teacher assessed grades. The final stage of the quality assurance process this summer is submitting evidence, which will need to be submitted between 21 and 23 June and there is some guidance below on the next steps.   

There are some important deadline dates approaching which we have summarised below but please continue to check the timeline (PDF, 0.1 MB) on our summer 2021 support web page. This week also saw the publication of the Ofqual and JCQ guidance on Appeals, details of which can be found below. We have also provided some additional appeals guidance for our international general qualifications.

We know there is a lot of work for you and your colleagues to complete and as always we are here to support you every step of the way. Please continue to visit our dedicated support page, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook  to keep up to date. If you would like to speak to us directly, you can get in touch with any questions via our contact form, or by calling the relevant team for your role.  

As always, thank you for all your hard work.

Hayley White 
Assessment Director

The teacher assessed grades (TAG) portal is now available for you to make your submission. 
Templates are available for you to download and use to capture your teacher assessed grades or data can be keyed directly into the system. 
With that in mind, we have rounded up some resources that we hope you will find useful. 

More information and support can be found on our dedicated website pages: 

We recommend that if you haven’t already, you log in at your earliest convenience and check that the login and user profiles are correct for those staff that require access. Please also check that the candidate details and entries are correct and if there are any omissions or changes needed then please action them yourself via EOL or EDI. Should you discover any required changes after 18 June please contact us as soon as possible via email to 
For any GCSE/International GCSE subjects with tiered entry, please ensure that candidates have the correct tier of entry for the grade you wish to submit as the system will not allow "off tier" grades to be submitted. As mentioned in a previous bulletin, we are waiving the fees for tier entry amendments up until 18 June to support this.  

Once you have submitted your final teacher assessed grades, the Head of Centre will need to submit a declaration to us. This is completed in Edexcel Online and should only be done when all of the grades for your general qualifications have been submitted and checked.   
For centres that also offer Pearson vocational qualifications, there is a separate Head of Centre declaration covering these. This is a change to the process from Summer 2020.

Pearson has been sharing confirmation with centres where they have met the necessary requirements for their centre policy.  

In a small number of cases we are still reviewing policies so please do not worry if you haven’t heard from us yet. The non-receipt of this confirmation should not delay preparations for submitting teacher assessed grades.  

Where further information has been requested by us, please ensure that you provide this as quickly as possible.

As previously advised by Ofqual, exam boards will review all grades as part of their quality assurance processes. Once grades are received, every centre will be asked to provide samples of the evidence used to determine the grades for their students. Awarding Organisations will request at least the following evidence for the following qualifications:  

  • one A level/International A level subject (at least five students) 
  • two GCSE/International GCSE subjects, one of which is likely to be either English language or maths (at least five students for each). 

Centres that offer only A levels/International A levels or only GCSEs/International GCSEs will be asked to submit only work for those qualifications. We will request the selected sample for your centre via email from 21 June and this needs to be submitted within two working days. We understand the pressure this places on centres and want to make sure that the process is as quick and efficient as possible, so we will be asking that evidence is provided in a digital format.   

We will be releasing additional functionality for the submission of evidence to Pearson. All users within your centre that have the ‘Capture’ profile on Edexcel Online will be able to upload evidence via the same portal that you submitted your TAGs.  

When accessing the TAG Portal, you will be presented with a new ‘Sample Upload’ menu item. On this page you will be presented with a list of the selected subjects and students against which you will be able to upload your sample files.  

Further detailed guidance on the process for this, together with step-by-step instructions and the range of file types allowed will be published early next week so that you can familiarise yourself with these a head of the window for submission of evidence. 

On 8 June Ofqual and the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) published  their guidance for appeals in 2021. These are important documents that outline the processes that will be in place for this summer’s appeals process.

Ofqual Statutory guidance: appeals under the GQAA regulatory framework (PDF, 0.2 MB

JCQ A guide to appeals processes Summer 2021 series (PDF, 0.7 MB) 

We will follow the same principles for Pearson’s International GCSEs and International AS/A Levels. The document below provides a summary of the appeals process for these international qualifications and also provides information on where the appeals process will differ from the arrangements detailed in the JCQ document.  

International qualification appeals should be submitted using the Pearson Appeals Portal. This will be accessed by centres via Edexcel Online (EOL). Applications to appeal should be submitted with the relevant supporting evidence for the appeal. 

Appeals approach for International qualifications, summer 2021 (PDF, 0.1 MB)

To help international centres navigate the JCQ guidance and understand what you need prepare for before grade submission, after grade submission and for results day, as well as what you need to share with students, we have put together a visual guide that you can download. 

Preparing for appeals for International qualifications, summer 2021 (PDF, 0.1 MB) 

Further information can be found on our Appeals summer 2021 web page, including information on the appeals process and guidance for our international qualifications.

The timeline for UK and international qualifications is updated regularly on our Summer 2021 web page, the most up to date timeline can be found in our 2021 Key dates and deadline document (PDF, 0.1 MB). Upcoming dates of note are as follows: 

18 June 2021 | Deadline for submission of teacher assessed grades 

18 June 2021 | Deadline for submission of endorsement grades 

21 June 2021 | Confirmation of stage 3 sample communicated to centres 

21-23 June 2021 | Submission of sample evidence to Awarding Organisations 

Following the end of the unseen assessment window for our International GCSEs and International A level, all mark schemes and other relevant assessment related materials are now available.  

Mark schemes can be found on the qualification subject pages but selecting ‘course materials’ from the top menu and ‘exam materials’ under categories, like the following example.

Additional summer 2021 assessment support can also be found by selecting the teaching and learning category and scrolling down to ‘Summer 2021 assessment materials for centres. Where centres have opted to use the marking service for these assessments, we are in the process of returning marks. We aim to return all marks by 11 June as long as we received the scripts by the deadline of 1 June. 

As mentioned previously, we will not be issuing grade boundaries for these. Where you are using the unseen assessments or other mock materials to support grading decisions, please ensure that the standard that is being applied is that of the 2017-2019 series as stated within the international guidance. Grade boundaries from 2020 and 2021 should be used with caution given the a-typical nature of these series.

As we have previously confirmed, we will be offering an additional exam series as follows: 

  • International GCSE: We will be offering an additional series for a wide range of subjects towards the end of 2021. This is an additional arrangement for 2021 only and exams are expected to take place in the months of November and December. We’ll be running a focused January 2022 series. Please take a look at the subject availability for both series (0.1 MB). Please note the addition of single sciences to the November series. 

  • International AS/A Level (IAL): We currently offer an October series for International AS/A level (IAL) and this will go ahead as planned in October 2021. In addition, selected units will be made available to provide an opportunity for students to achieve what they need for progression. We also offer a January series and this will also go ahead as planned in January 2022. Across these two series, at least one exam opportunity for each modular IAL unit will be available before the May/June 2022 series. Please take a look at the subject availability for both series. This has been corrected to show Further Pure Maths 2 & 3, and Statistics 3 will be available in the January 2022 series. 

  • iPrimary and iLowerSecondary: An October series will be available as already planned for all subjects in iPrimary and iLowerSecondary.   

  • GCSE and A level: Ofqual have also released the outcomes of their consultation on the autumn series. They have confirmed that exam boards will have to offer exams in all GCSE and A level subjects and AS exams in biology, chemistry, further maths, maths, and physics. The series will run in October and November 2021 and will be open for candidates who received a teacher assessed grade in August and also to those students who exam boards believe would have sat exams in summer 2021 had they not been cancelled i.e. where the effects of COVID-19 meant that exams could not take place. 

The provisional timetables for the October/November 2021 series have already been published on our website. The window to provide feedback on these is open until Friday 11 June so please share any feedback you’d like to be considered before these timetables are finalised. 

Just a reminder that our Professional Development Academy is regularly updated with guidance and support in the form of checklists, video presentations, infographics, live event recordings and step-by-step guides to support you in determining fair grades for your students so they can progress on to their next stage.  

In addition to this, subject support guides, can be found on the individual qualification pages. Please make sure that all teachers have seen these guides. Full details and links to each qualification can be found on our Summer 2021 support page under the ‘Summer 2021 Grading Support’ section.

For the latest information and support for our vocational qualifications, please take a look at our BTEC International Bulletin Archive.


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