General Qualifications Bulletin - UK - Issue 9 | Pearson qualifications

General Qualifications Bulletin - UK - Issue 9

12 May 2021

I hope you are keeping safe and have had another good week in your centres.

I know that deriving grades this year is only one aspect of school life at the moment, but I would like to thank you all for the work that you have undertaken so far. We have passed the first deadline and thank you for developing your centre policies and for submitting these to us. We are in receipt of over 7000 policies, and our Centre Quality Assurers are working through these at the moment.

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It is also fantastic to see that so many of you have downloaded the important documents we have created and have attended the live training sessions or are accessing the on-demand sessions we have put on. We have created a Support for determining grades in summer 2021 document (PDF, 0.17 MB) to support you in navigating the key documents. We have had over 50,000 downloads of these key subject-specific documents and this number continues to grow, we hope they continue to be helpful. All videos and subject sessions are now available on the Pearson Professional Development Academy for you to access at your convenience. If you have any other questions then please don’t hesitate to contact us or our team of subject advisors who are also here to support you at every step this year.

Ofqual have confirmed a few key pieces of information since our last bulletin. All centres will be required to submit samples of student work to exam boards. More information can be found on the Ofqual website. Whilst there will be more detail to follow on this, including how to send this through to us, we will request at least the following evidence:

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

Ofqual have also released the outcomes of their consultation on the autumn series. More detail can be found on the Ofqual website. What they have confirmed is that all GCSE and A level (and some AS) qualifications will be available in an exam series run in October and November 2021. We are also pleased to announce arrangements for our International qualifications and the availability of these subjects in October, November and January. Please take a look at the Individual subject arrangements document (PDF, 0.1 MB).

Don’t forget to give us your feedback via our feedback form - it really makes a difference to our thinking, so please feel free to let us know your thoughts.

To ensure you have the latest information, please continue to visit our dedicated Summer 2021 support page, and follow us on Twitter (@ PearsonEdexcel) 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

My thanks again to you and your colleagues for the amazing work you are doing every day.

Hayley White 
Assessment Director

Ofqual have confirmed arrangements for UK qualifications in an exceptional autumn series.
Students who receive a teacher assessed grade this summer will be eligible to take GCSE, AS or A level exams in the same subject in autumn 2021.
Ofqual has also decided 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; exam boards will be able to offer AS exams in other subjects if they wish.
  • Exams will be in their normal format, with no adaptations made.
  • Grades will be determined by a student’s performance in an exam for all subjects, except for art and design qualifications.
  • AS and A level exams will be held in October, while GCSE exams will take place in November and December.

More detail can be found on the Ofqual website.

We have also confirmed arrangements for International GCSE which can be found in the Individual subject arrangements document (PDF, 0.1 MB).

International GCSE

  • We'll be offering an additional series 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.

Ofqual have confirmed that exam boards will review all grades as part of their quality assurance processes. The grades will also be an important factor that exam boards use to target their review of centre judgements.

Once the grades are received, every centre will be asked to provide samples of student work.

Exam boards will request at least the following evidence:

  • One A level subject (at least five students)
  • Two 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 or only GCSEs will be asked to submit only work for those qualifications.

All centres will be asked to provide the evidence used to determine the grades for the students selected. Exam boards will decide on the subjects and the students (selected from across the grade range, and potentially including private candidates where centres have accepted them) and they will let centres know which subjects/students have been selected, in the week beginning 21 June.

JCQ have released an addendum about the stage 3 checks, which can be found in the JCQ Quality Assurance Stage 3 Addendum document (PDF, 0.1 MB). We want to make sure the process is as efficient as possible and we will be asking that evidence is provided in a digital format. We will be providing further guidance about how this will need to be submitted to us within the next 2 weeks.

Ofqual have released information for students regarding grading this summer in their Student guide to awarding: summer 2021 document (PDF, 2.0 MB). We’ve also included a link to the guide on our dedicated Students, parents and carers web page where you can find other helpful information, including links to student assessment materials and a feedback form.

We are pleased to confirm that Entry Level Certificates will follow the same approach as UK qualifications this summer. You will need to submit the level, either 1, 2 or 3 that the learner achieves via the teacher assessed grades portal when this opens. This will need to be submitted by 18 June 2021. We will not be asking for samples of the marking to be submitted to us for moderation but they could be called upon as part of the quality assurance process.

The ELC is based on externally-set assessments and tasks that are administered and marked by the centre and usually moderated by Pearson. There is no set date for when each assessment or task is completed or how long the student takes to complete each test. More information can be found on our Entry Level Certificate web page.

In previous bulletins we have outlined that the joint Ofqual and DfE consultation confirms that for GCSE English Language, GCSE modern foreign languages and A level sciences (biology, chemistry, physics), centres should determine and submit a separate grade or result for the endorsement. This result or grade should be based on work that has been completed towards the endorsement.

In addition to the submission of endorsement grades, a centre declaration for the endorsements is also required. This year we have simplified the process and will be asking centres to retain the signed centre declaration, should it be required for any subsequent quality assurance or appeals process, and to use our new online functionality to confirm this has been done when submitting grades. You can find the various centre declaration forms below.

Science Centre Declaration Form (PDF, 0.1 MB).

English Language Centre Declaration Form, which can be found on our Course Materials web page.

MFL Centre Declaration Form, which can be found on our Course Materials web page.

In Edexcel Online (EOL) you will notice a tick box when submitting grades, this will need to be completed before grades can be fully submitted. This new functionality will be released on 17 May. No endorsement grades can be submitted until after this date.

The deadline for submitting the endorsement grade or result will be extended until 18 June 2021 in line with the submission deadline for teacher assessment grades.

GCSE English Spoken Language Endorsement Transfers 

As with other exam series, centres can carry forward a candidate’s GCSE English Language Spoken Language Endorsement (SLE) result from a previous attempt at Edexcel 1EN0 or the 9-1 GCSE English Language of another awarding organisation, providing the candidate achieved a pass, merit or distinction.

Staff making entries will use a ‘transfer’ option code '1EN0 T' when making entries for students who are using their previous SLE grade. Students who are resitting 1EN0 may also resit the SLE if they wish. If students resit the SLE, their latest rather than their best result will be recorded on their certificate.

examWizard is our online exam preparation tool that contains a bank of past Pearson Edexcel exam questions, mark schemes and examiners' reports for a range of GCSE, AS and A level subjects.
This service has now been updated to include exam papers for GCSE, AS and A level for the 2019 summer and autumn series and the 2020 autumn series.
You can create your own mock exams, topic tests, homework or revision activities in minutes, and it links directly to associated examiner reports and mark schemes. Available all year round, it can be accessed instantly using your Edexcel Online account. If you don’t have an Edexcel Online account, please speak to your exams officer.

The timeline for UK qualifications can be found in our 2021 key dates and deadlines document (PDF, 01. MB). The next key milestone for centres to be aware of is the opening of the submission window for teacher assessment grades on 26 May.

Our Professional Development Academy has detailed guidance and support in the form of checklists, video presentations, infographics and step- by-step guides to support you in determining fair grades for your students so they can progress on to their next stage.

If you were unable to attend a subject-specific live online event recordings are now available to view on the Professional Development Academy. Please do pass this link on to all your colleagues.

In addition to this, subject support guides, like the example in the screenshot below, can now 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.

The updated guidance on awarding results in 2021 can be found on our Assessment Hub web page.

You will find videos of briefings and Q&A sessions with additional detail, alongside the guidance.

If you’d like to find out the latest information and support for our vocational qualifications, please take a look at our Supporting FE during Coronavirus web page where you can find news and updates, with links to our regular VQ Bulletin which contains all the key updates you need for our vocational qualifications.


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