General Qualifications Bulletin - International - Issue 9
I hope you are keeping safe and have had a good week.
I know that deriving grades this year is just 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 deadline for centre policy submission and thank you for submitting these to us. We are now in receipt of 7000+ policies, and our Centre Quality Assurers are working through these at the moment.
We have put together this handy guide on the key support, links and documentS (PDF, 0.2 MB) in one, easy-to navigate place for UK and International qualifications. In addition, the key dates and deadlines can be viewed on this timeline for both UK and international qualifications.
It was fantastic to see so many of you join our recent training events. All summer 2021 training videos and guidance are available on the Pearson Professional Development Academy for you to access at your convenience.
Since our last bulletin, Ofqual have confirmed that centres will be required to submit samples of student work to exam boards for GCSE and A level and we will follow a similar approach for International GCSE and International AS/A level. We will be sending further details on this process shortly. Information can be found on the Ofqual website.
Last week we announced an additional exam series for International GCSE in November and December 2021, with a focused January 2022 series. This is an additional arrangement for 2021 only. For 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. Please take a look at the subject availability for both series (PDF, 0.1 MB).
Ofqual have also released the outcomes of their consultation on the autumn series. 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.
To ensure you have the latest information, please continue to visit our dedicated support page, and follow us on Twitter (@ PearsonEdexcel) 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.
My thanks again to you and your colleagues for the amazing work you are doing every day.
We understand that the opportunity to sit examinations remain important to you and your students, and we’ve always intended to run an additional exam series this year. We recently consulted with you on this - thank you to those that participated - this helped us understand your priorities which included the need for contingency measures and flexibility, so that your students can get the grade they need to progress.
We are pleased to confirm the following exam arrangements.
- International GCSE: We will 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. Please take a look at the subject availability for both series (PDF, 0.1 MB).
- 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 (PDF, 0.1 MB).
- 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; exam boards will be able to offer AS exams in other subjects if they wish. 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.
We know you will be keen to know more about the timetables and key dates for this series and we will be in touch as soon as we have these.
As we’ve previously communicated, one of the forms of evidence that Pearson are making available is the optional use of unseen test materials. The unseen assessment window has started and is open until 14 May.
We have recently (6th May 2021) updated the Unseen Assessment FAQs document on our deadicated web page.
All materials must be kept securely until the specified date on the unseen assessment schedule. Any use or distribution of these unseen assessment materials before 8am BST on the scheduled date will be considered malpractice.
Any centre found to be misusing the materials could face sanctions. To report suspected malpractice, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please do take time to read the guidance and contact us if you need any clarification.
Ofqual have confirmed that exam boards will review all grades as part of their quality assurance processes for UK qualifications. We will follow a similar approach for our international general qualifications, including International GCSE and International AS/A Level. Once the grades are received, every centre will be asked to provide samples of student work. We will send further details of what this process will be and how and when this needs to be submitted to us.
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.
The latest timeline for international qualifications can be found in our 2021 Key dates and deadlines document (PDF, 0.1 MB) - we do continue to add dates so please do use it for your reference.
Forthcoming key dates:
- 14 May: Unseen assessment schedule final day
- 17 May: Unseen Assessment mark schemes released under padlock.
- 26 May – 18 June: Grade submission window opens.
- 1 June: Deadline for Pearson to receive unseen assessment scripts from centres for the marking service.
This is a purpose-built portal which will allow you to easily upload and submit candidate work directly to us. We hope that this will be beneficial to you as you will be able to review and track everything that has been submitted to us within an individual exam series.
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What files does the portal accept?
The portal accepts most of the popular file types including mp3, mp4 and Jpeg. A full list of accepted filetypes can be found on our Support website. You may need to convert the file to a .zip folder in some instances.
Where can I access the portal?
The portal can be accessed via your Edexcel Online account under ‘Learner Work Transfer’ and then via ‘Examination/Moderation’.
Please view the following YouTube video for a step by step guide.
If you don’t have access to Edexcel Online please contact your national distributor or Pearson regional office.
When will the portal be available?
You can access the portal now through Edexcel Online.
How does the portal work?
We have created a step by step YouTube video guide on how you can use the portal.
If you would like to speak to us directly, you can get in touch with any questions via our Support Portal.
Our Pearson 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.
In addition to this, teaching support can now be found on the individual subject pages where relevant. Full details and links can be found on our Summer 2021 support page under the ‘Summer 2021 Grading Support’ section.