General Qualifications Bulletin - International - Issue 42

22 June 2023

Dear Colleague 

With one week to go before we wrap up this May/June exam series, I’d like to say thank you for all the hard work you’ve been doing to enable exams to run smoothly. 

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We have had lots of standardisation meetings taking place with thousands of examiners attending over the last few weeks. Our scanners in Yorkshire, UK, are working around the clock to get the millions of exam scripts into our online marking system and available for examiners to mark.

After this edition, we'll send just one more bulletin before most schools close for a break. This will contain some more detail about post-results support, appeals and what to expect in the build-up to results days. Plus, there will be a special qualifications bulletin in August to support you ahead of results days, providing you with all the support you need.  

For those of you that are Exams Officers, we are running a live event in August to help you prepare for issuing results and navigating the post-results period successfully. 

As always, we’re here to support you through the next few months and in this issue of the bulletin we’ve got some important information and reminders to help you during this busy time of year. These include:

  • Opening of exam papers – JCQ guidance
  • May/June 2023 – preparing for results day  
  • Exams officer support
  • Multi-factor authentication for Edexcel Online 
  • Subject updates
  • Key dates.

Please do get in touch if you have any questions and we will always do our best to get you the answers as quickly as possible.     

With best wishes,

Hayley White
Assessment Director

In order to avoid potential breaches of security, care must be taken to ensure that the correct question paper packets are opened. A member of centre staff, additional to the person removing the papers from secure storage, e.g. an invigilator, must check the day, date, time, subject, unit/component and tier of entry, if appropriate, immediately before a question paper packet is opened. This check must be recorded.  

Please take a look at the JCQ guidance in their instructions for conducting examinations

The JCQ has produced a template for centres to use.

Preparing for results day
With exams almost over you’ll shortly be looking ahead to results. As always, we’ll be here to support you with post-results services and answering any queries you may have. 

ResultsPlus
Once you’ve received your students' results, you can get a detailed breakdown of their performance on each question at individual student, class or cohort level using ResultsPlus, our online results analysis tool for teachers.

Included as part of your qualification fees, ResultsPlus gives you a detailed breakdown of your students’ performance in Pearson Edexcel exams and BTEC external assessments. Take a look at our short video that explains how this service can help you gain a better understanding of their results. 

Find out more and set up your ResultsPlus account ahead of results day.

ResultsPlus Group Analysis
We’ve also got our ResultsPlus Group Analysis service. Developed to support multi-academy trusts and groups of schools, this service can provide senior leaders with a clear overall picture of student performance across all their schools in Pearson Edexcel exams and BTEC external assessments, and can also be used to analyse your mock exam results, making this service a valuable tool for use throughout the academic year.

Take a look at our short video that explains how ResultsPlus Group Analysis will work for you.

We’ll need to set up a separate account for your multi-academy trust or groups of schools, even if your own school is already set up with a ResultsPlus account.

Please ensure you have created a ResultsPlus Group Analysis account before the end of term and be ready for results day. 

Access to Scripts
Available from results day, our Access to Scripts* service allows you to view your candidates’ marked scripts online or download as PDFs, providing transparency of marking and to help you make decisions around requests for reviews of marking and inform future teaching and learning.

The Access to Scripts service provides a rich source of information, enabling detailed analysis to inform teaching and learning and support students and giving insights and visibility that performance data alone cannot provide.

Find out more about Access to Scripts, along with FAQs and a step-by-step user guide.

The Access to Scripts portal can only be accessed by Edexcel Online users who have the Exam Viewer permission ticked in their Edexcel Online profiles. Exams officers are able to give teachers access to Exam Viewer. Don’t forget to ask your exams officer for access before you break for the summer, to be ready for the post-results period.

*This service is available for any exam paper that has been marked online. Written permission must be gained from candidates before scripts can be accessed.

Support for students ahead of results day
Waiting for exam results can be nerve-wracking for many students, so we’ve put together a guide to Understanding results and grades containing helpful information about what to expect on results day and where to find further support. The guide includes information on:

  • dates for results days
  • receiving and understanding results
  • grades and grade boundaries
  • what steps to take if they are not happy with their results
  • university applications
  • certificates
  • where to find further support.

Please pass this on to students, parents and carers.

Stay up to date with all our support for 2023 on our Summer 2023 support page.

This week we have published the fees for all of our post-results services and our post-results key dates for May/June 2023.

To help you have as smooth an exam series as possible, we've created a dedicated Exams Officer Support Summer 2023: Exam Administration Essential Information article on our support portal. This collects everything you need to know about popular support topics in one place so that you can find the guidance you need quickly and easily. 

International Exams Officer Update live session | 11 August

Our next live event will be on Friday 11 August, 07:00 to 08:00 London BST. This live event will go through news, updates and various areas to support you and help you prepare for results. Register here if you'd like to attend.

On 19 June 2023 we wrote to all registered Edexcel Online account holders, advising that we had introduced Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) as an additional layer of security to help protect your centre and learner data. While a lot of users have now accessed Edexcel Online (EOL) and successfully gone through the MFA process, we are aware that other roles may not use EOL and other related systems on a regular basis, and the next time to try and log in is on a learner results day.

To make your results days as easy as possible, if you are a user that will need to access any of the following systems during the summer results period, please log into these now to check you can access them successfully. We are here to help you between now and the results period should you need us:

  • Edexcel Online (EOL)
  • ResultsPlus
  • MyBTEC
  • Exam Viewer 

You can find additional support for multi-factor authentication in our dedicated customer support article: Accessing Pearson Services Using Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). We also have these troubleshooting steps

New podcast on history of apartheid in South Africa 

We are delighted to share with you a new seven-part podcast series on the history of apartheid in South Africa which will be useful for teachers and students who do this topic in our A level History specification. The podcast was produced for the Anti-Apartheid Legacy: Centre of Memory and Learning by Dr Natasha Robinson and Professor William Beinart, and is hosted by history teacher Ciara McCombe.

Access our full news item about these podcasts.

Pearson Edexcel International GCSE/IAL Maths Examination Papers Feedback | May/June 2023 

As part of our commitment to continuously improving our assessments, it’s important we gather feedback from teachers and learners about our examination papers. We would like to invite you to participate in a couple of short surveys, which will take approximately five minutes to complete, and share your thoughts on what you and your students think of our recent exam papers.

The link to these surveys will be live until midnight (BST) Friday 21 July 2023.

Your feedback will help us understand the needs of your school and your students and will be hugely valuable to us. We greatly appreciate any comments that you may have on the subject. 

Subject Advisor updates

The best way to keep up to date with all the qualification news and support for subjects is to sign up to receive regular email updates. You can check out the latest subject updates from our Subject Advisor page

Our Key Dates Finder enables you to find all of the key dates for Pearson general qualifications and subjects in one place. Here are those taking place in the next few weeks. 

Date

Qualification

Exam Series

Description

28/06/2023

GCSE, GCSE AS & A Level

Jun 23

Contingency day for examinations should sustained national or local disruption arise during the June 2023 series

29/06/2023

GCSE Art and Design 1AD0/01 (and all linked endorsements)

Jun 23

End of moderator visits. Marks must be submitted 48hrs prior to the moderation visits.

29/06/2023

GCE Art and Design 9AD0/01 (and all linked endorsements)

Jun 23

End of moderator visits. Marks must be submitted 48hrs prior to the moderation visits.

05/07/2023

GCSE, International GCSE, AS & A level, International AS & A level, AEA, Level 3 Core Maths, iPrimary and iLowerSecondary

Jun 23

Deadline to submit special consideration requests

For more information on key dates for post results services please visit our Post-results services key dates page

The final May/June 2024 exam timetables will be available to download from our timetables page on Wednesday 28 June.

For May/June 2024, more subjects are going to be available to sit online in addition to International GCSE English Language A and International GCSE English Literature, which are already available. These are:

  • International GCSE Business 
  • International GCSE Economics 
  • International GCSE History 
  • International A Level English Literature 
  • International A Level English Language

There will be further subjects added for 2025 exam series, so watch this space for more news.

Thousands of students have already sat International GCSEs onscreen 

As we draw to the end of the May/June assessment window, we have seen the number of schools adopting onscreen assessment double for this exam season, meaning thousands of students have now sat their International GCSE exams onscreen. It’s easy to understand why schools are transitioning across, with easy onboarding and great benefits for students.

"If I had the choice to rake an exam onscreen or a paper, I would definitely choose to take it onscreen because I personally feel like I have much more time to plan and get my thoughts straight. And that makes my outcome of a much better quality.” 
Maya Almoataz, Year 11 Student, British School of Bahrain

“It’s been a fantastic experience for us as a school and also for our students, who were absolutely delighted to work in a way that felt most comfortable to them.” 
Wayne Ridgway, Head of Senior School, British School of Bahrain

Start your onscreen journey with us today; sign up for the latest onscreen assessment news and register your interest

Attention all experienced professionals delivering our International A levels and GCSEs! We are currently searching for suitably qualified teachers to join our international examining team. 

As an examiner, you’ll have the opportunity to use your expertise to evaluate and assess the knowledge and skills of students in your specialist field. You’ll play a crucial role in ensuring that our exams provide a fair and accurate measure of our learners’ knowledge and skills. 

If you have a degree in your subject area or a related field, along with a strong understanding of the qualification subject matter, we would love to hear from you. 

As an examiner, you’ll have the flexibility to work remotely, on a schedule that works for you with all the training you need in our mark schemes and marking processes.  You’ll also have the satisfaction of knowing that your expertise is helping to shape the next generation of professionals in your subject. 

If you’re interested in joining our team of international examiners, please take a look at the information on our website and get in touch

As previously communicated, we're introducing a regular International GCSE November series starting in November 2023. The November series is being introduced to best meet the needs of students requiring International GCSE exam opportunities outside of the full May/June series and it will replace the existing January series from 2024. This will result in just a May/June and November series going forward for International GCSE.  

Why are we moving to a November exam series? 

Due to the pandemic, circumstances meant that we needed to follow a November International GCSE exam series in 2020, 2021 and 2022. As the November series seemed to be well received, we consulted schools to understand whether there was a preference for a permanent November exam series or reverting to January.

November was the preferred option for most schools; not just for resits, but also for learners studying on a January–December academic year.

Read more information about this now.

Visit our BTEC International page to find out about the support we’re offering for BTEC in 2023. Stay informed with Vocational Qualifications by following @PearsonBTECAppr, where we will update you with the latest information. 

For responses to any suggestions or feedback you have for us, please visit our Contact Us page. You can also review our past BTEC International newsletters if you’ve missed any, or sign up to receive future updates.

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