General Qualifications Bulletin - International - Issue 43

13 July 2023

Dear Colleague 

Incredible as it may seem, here we are at the end of another exam season.

I’d like to thank everyone that has made this year happen – from the senior leaders, heads of department, teachers and exams officers, to the teaching assistants, technicians, administrative staff, operations teams and everyone in between. You’ve all played a huge part this year and we’re always inspired by your determination and dedication to your students. 

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As I write to you, we’ve already marked over 90 million items and are now finishing marking the final exams that took place this summer. I’d like to thank you if you’ve worked with us as an examiner this year. It’s a monumental joint effort across the education sector every year to undertake a full exam series and issue results in time for results day and examiners play an incredibly important role in this. Your commitment to ensuring learners get their results on time is second to none.

This edition of the qualifications bulletin provides information to support you in your results day planning, plus a link to the latest Ofqual blog Exam results 2023: 10 things to know about GCSE, AS and A level grades.

We’ll have a results day special bulletin in the week beginning 13 August 2023 where we will be sharing more detail about post-results support, appeals and what to expect in the build-up to results day, as well as other important and helpful information.

I know some of you will have finished for this term and others will be finishing very soon. I hope you all have the chance to have a fantastic and well-earned break. In the meantime, if you need any more information or want to share any feedback with us, you can always get in touch as we will continue to be here over the summer break. We will always do our best to get you the answers as quickly as possible.

With best wishes

Hayley White
Assessment Director

Now exams are over we’ve got information to help you plan for results days. As always, we’ll be here to support you with post-results services and answering any queries you may have.

Ofqual blog

Ofqual have 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.

ResultsPlus

On results day, once you’ve received your students grades 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.

Please note – we have introduced Multi-Factor Authentication for all Edexcel Online users. Please ensure you have set this up ahead of results day, and do login to ResultsPlus to ensure you have easy access to our post-results services from results day. Please see the full information about MFA a little further down in this email.

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 enable us to improve the experience of teachers using our qualifications and students sitting our exams, we gather feedback after each exam series. If you're a teacher, and your students have taken any of our exams in the May/June 2023 series we want to know what you liked or didn't like in this year's exam papers. We'll share your feedback with our senior examiners and across teams to ensure we continue to make improvements to our papers where appropriate so we can make sure your students have the best exam experience.

Please complete our surveys and have your say. Thank you.

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

The brand-new Pearson School Report explores education in England and how educators are pioneering change in 2023.

Featuring the views of 6,000+ teachers and 1,000 students, the report shares experiences from both sides of the school desks and invaluable insights on:

  • challenges and opportunities facing schools
  • sustainability and climate education
  • digital innovation – the positives, possibilities and problems to solve
  • diversity, equity and inclusion.

Read the report online and have your say on social media via #PearsonSchoolReport.

GCSE History specification language amendments

We have recently reviewed our GCSE History specification for sensitivity of language and identified a number of terms which are now considered outdated and problematic. We have therefore decided to update some of the language in our specification. The changes will come into effect for first teaching September 2023, first assessment summer 2025. We intend to release Issue 4 of the Specification and Sample Assessment Materials to reflect these changes in late summer 2023.

You can find a summary of the changes in language and FAQs in History Subject Advisor, Mark Battye’s latest History Subject Update.

New Subject Advisor for Art & Design

We have a new Subject Advisor for Art & Design, Jaclyn Wiid. Jaclyn is working with you on GCSE and A level Art & Design and A level History of Art and will be sending out new and existing support, guidance and resources in her regular Subject Updates which started this month. She’s available for any queries on TeachingArtandDesign@Pearson.com.

National Fieldwork Fortnight

Last week was National Fieldwork Fortnight and as it's a busy time for planning fieldwork for next year, Jon Wolton thought it would be timely to celebrate it by highlighting all our free support for geography fieldwork in his latest Geography Subject Update.

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

21/07/2023

International AS & A level, iPrimary and iLowerSecondary

Oct 23

Entry window opens

14/08/2023

International GCSE

Nov 23

Entry window opens

16/08/2023

AS & A level, International AS & A level, Project level 3, Edexcel Award level 3, Core Maths level 3 and Advanced Extension Award

Jun 23

Restricted release of results to centres

17/08/2023

AS & A level, International AS & A level, Project level 3, Edexcel Award level 3, Core Maths level 3 and Advanced Extension Award

Jun 23

Release of results to candidates

23/08/2023

GCSE, International GCSE, Project levels 1 & 2, Edexcel Award levels 1 & 2, Entry Level Certificate, iPrimary and iLowerSecondary

Jun 23

Restricted release of results to centres

24/08/2023

GCSE, International GCSE, Project levels 1 & 2, Edexcel Award levels 1 & 2, Entry Level Certificate, iPrimary and iLowerSecondary

Jun 23

Release of results to candidates

28/08/2023

International AS & A level, iPrimary and iLowerSecondary

Jun 23

Entry deadline

31/08/2023

GCSE, International GCSE, AS & A level, International AS & A level, Project, Edexcel Award, Core Maths level 3, Advanced Extension Award, Entry Level Certificate, iPrimary and iLowerSecondary

Jun 23

Deadline to request early certification

01/09/2023

GCSE English Language and Maths

Nov 23

Entry window opens

15/09/2023

International GCSE

Nov 23

Entry deadline

20/09/2023

GCSE English Language and Maths

Nov 23

Final date for ordering modified papers using Access Arrangements Online (AAO)

20/09/2023

International GCSE

Nov 23

Deadline to request modified papers

04/10/2023

GCSE English Language and Maths

Nov 23

Entry deadline

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

We’ve added International A levels and more International GCSE subjects that can be sat online from summer 2024. In addition to International GCSE English Language A and International GCSE English Literature, we've added:

Available for first onscreen assessment from 2023

Available for first onscreen assessment from 2024

Available for first onscreen assessment from 2025

  • International GCSE English Language A
  • International GCSE English Literature
  • International GCSE Business
  • International GCSE Economic
  • International GCSE History
  • International GCSE English Literature
  • International GCSE English Language
  • International GCSE Geography
  • International GCSE Pakistan Studies
  • International GCSE Islamic Studies

Onscreen exams are easier than you think to onboard

We provide support every step of the way when a centre decides to move to onscreen exams from giving guidance on how the exam hall should be set up to technology support, we’re just an email away.

“The Pearson team, the regional team, they were just an email away to kind of calm all our concerns.”
Ann John, Exams Officer - British School of Bahrain

How do students become familiar with the platform?

Your students can practice before taking their high stakes exams. The Pearson onscreen sandbox (test environment) gives students all the practice they need to explore the platform’s functionality and build their confidence before they sit their exams onscreen.

It’s easy to register for an account, just go to “Don’t have an account” and enter your email address as your UserID.

The materials are digitised in the same platform as the mock and high stakes onscreen exams and are a good opportunity for teachers and students to get to know the platform and functionality available.

Whilst the user experience mirrors what can be expected from the mocks and high stakes assessments, please note that any solutions submitted through the Sandbox environment by candidates will not be saved.

Start your onscreen journey with us today

Sign-up for the latest onscreen assessment news and register your interest.

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.

You can read more information about this on our website.

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 previous BTEC International newsletters if you’ve missed any, or sign up to receive future updates.

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