General Qualifications Bulletin - UK - Issue 38 | Pearson qualifications

General Qualifications Bulletin - UK - Issue 38

19 October 2022

Dear Colleague, 

Welcome to our first qualifications bulletin for the new academic year. I hope the first half term has been successful and that you’ve had the chance to review your students’ summer results and used our post-results services, ResultsPlus and Access to Scripts, to gain a more in-depth understanding of the data.

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As always, this is an incredibly busy term. Our latest news update includes confirmation from Ofqual and the Department for Education on the summer 2023 exam arrangements, so you can be sure about all aspects of your qualification delivery this year. There is also information on a number of consultations that I would encourage you to participate in.

Our provisional timetables for summer 2023 are available on our website, and you can also see all the upcoming key dates for this term.

I’m also delighted to share that we’ll be hosting a new event in November: Spotlight on Assessment, Services and Support – 2022 and beyond. Aimed at UK centres, we’ll be covering the highlights, key trends and outcomes from the summer series across GCSE, International GCSE and A level, with Mary Curnock Cook CBE as a guest speaker. Further details can be found below along with a link to register and book your place.  

Going forward we will continue to send out a Qualifications Bulletin on a monthly basis. Your next bulletin will be on 17 November.

For those of you taking a half term break, I hope you enjoy a well-earned rest.

Hayley White
Assessment Director

Ofqual and DfE arrangements for summer 2023

On 29 September 2022 Ofqual and the DfE confirmed the arrangements for exams and grading in summer 2023. You can read the Ofqual article setting out their approach to grading for 2023. Ofqual’s aim for those sitting exams and assessments in 2023 is to return to results in line with those in pre-pandemic years, as the next step in getting back to normal.

The DfE published a statement setting out their decisions on adaptations for exams in 2023. They have decided students will continue to be provided with support in GCSE mathematics, physics and combined science with formulae and equation sheets. In light of this, Ofqual has launched a consultation on these plans. The consultation will close on 20 October.

The DfE has also confirmed that students taking GCSEs, AS and A levels will not be provided with advance information on the focus of exams next summer. In line with this we will not be providing advance information for our International GCSEs in 2023. 

A joint consultation has been launched by the DfE and Ofqual on guidance to schools and colleges about gathering assessment evidence to support resilience in the general qualifications system. The guidance proposes schools and colleges gather evidence in a way that aligns with their normal arrangements for preparing students for exams. The consultation will close on 20 October.

Both the DfE and Ofqual are consulting separately on plans to remove the expectation that students engage with unfamiliar and abstract material, such as unfamiliar vocabulary, within modern foreign language GCSE assessments from 2023 onwards. The DfE’s consultation covers the curriculum, while Ofqual’s consultation covers exam content and how it is assessed. Both consultations will close on 20 October.

Further information and support for Summer 2023 can be found our Summer 2023 support page.

The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) has provided information on their website about the provisional June 2023 GCSE, AS and A level exam timetables and special consideration arrangements for 2023.   

The exam timetables for summer 2023 seek to maintain some of the space built into the exam timetable in 2022 between the first and last exams in the same subject. This spacing was well received by schools and colleges in 2022 and reduces the chance of students missing all exams in a subject due to circumstances such as illness.

Take a look at our provisional timetables.

AS and A level Politics specification changes

The AS and A level Politics specifications and sample assessment materials have been updated with some minor amendments. You can download the updated versions of the specification and read guidance on the changes on our Politics subject page

New mock paper for A level Politics

We recently met with a group of Politics teachers to discuss issues relating to our A level Politics assessment arising from the Summer 2022 exam series. Following feedback received this summer we undertook a review of our recent question papers, comparing them to the original sample assessment materials accredited by Ofqual. As a result of this review and the helpful feedback we received, we have decided to put in place the following measures:

  • questions in future live series will more accurately reflect the level of demand of questions in the accredited sample assessment materials
  • we will use more current teachers in our question paper production process.

A new set of mock papers for A level Politics will be released in mid-November to exemplify further this recalibration of the level of demand.

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
18/10/2022 Project qualifications Jan 23 Entry deadline
19/10/2022 Project qualifications Jan 23 Late entry fees will be charged from this date
31/10/2022 GCSE English Language and Mathematics Nov 22 Date of first examination on common timetable
31/10/2022 GCSE English Language and Mathematics Nov 22 First date for submitting special consideration requests
31/10/2022 GCSE English Language and Mathematics Nov 22 First date for submitting special consideration requests to awarding bodies
01/11/2022 GCSE English Language and Mathematics Nov 22 Deadline to submit access arrangements applications
02/11/2022 GCSE English Language and Mathematics Nov 22 Amendment fees will be charged from this date
02/11/2022 GCSE English Language and Mathematics Nov 22 High late entry fees will be charged from this date
16/11/2022 GCSE English Language and Mathematics Nov 22 Date of final examination on common timetable

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

Don’t forget you can still use our post-results services, ResultsPlus and Access to Scripts, to help you take a deeper dive into your students results from summer 2023 and support departmental CPD. 

Take a look at our ResultsPlus video that provides an overview of the detail you can retrieve at student, class and cohort level.

You can also take a look at our video that shows you how our new ResultsPlus Group Analysis service can 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.

Access to Scripts

Our Access to Scripts service is open until 16 December 2022. Not just useful for post-results support, but you can download student exam scripts and gain a rich source of information, enabling detailed analysis to inform teaching and learning and support students - giving insights and visibility that performance data alone cannot provide.

Take a closer look at Access to Scripts and see how other centres have used this valuable service to support departmental CPD via our case studies.

20 October – Onscreen assessment – ask us anything! 9am – 10am BST

In May/June 2023, Pearson international schools have the option to take their International GCSE English Language A and English Literature exams onscreen.

The move to onscreen assessment is a big one. That’s why we want to give you the opportunity to speak to our trailblazing pilot schools to get their honest experience and advice for making the switch.

The session will open with an overview of onscreen assessment, including the background to our technology and the technical requirements of delivering assessment onscreen. We’ll then hand over to representatives of three schools that were part of our onscreen assessment pilot in May/June 2022.

Come and put your questions about onscreen assessment to our panel. 

Find out more and book your spot now.

10 November – Exams Officer Zoom session

We are hosting our next Exams Officer Zoom session on 10 November 2pm-3pm. Join us virtually to hear about the key administrative tasks Exams Officer need to complete over the next few months, see the support available, and ask questions to our panel of experts. 

Book your place on our Exams Officer Zoom session.

25 November - Spotlight on Assessment, Service and Support – 2022 and beyond - 11:30am - 2:30pm

Join us at our head office in the Strand, London, for our post-summer review event where we’ll cover the highlights, key trends and outcomes from the summer series. We’ll also be sharing our insights and plans for future developments in assessment. Aimed at UK centres that deliver both GCSE, International GCSE and A level qualifications, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to ask questions, network with colleagues and the Pearson assessment team.

With guest speaker, Mary Curnock Cook CBE, Chair of the Pearson Education Limited Board, and presentations from assessment experts, we look forward to welcoming you to this event. 

Learn more about this event and register today

Please see the links below for the November 2022 advance information for GCSE English Language and Mathematics:

Do take a look at the exam timetable for the November resit dates. 

You can access the resit rules for English can be accessed here. There is no requirement to submit video recordings for the Spoken Language Endorsement in November 2022.

Ever wondered how the whole assessment process works? 

We’ve created a series of short videos aimed students, parents, carers and teachers to help them understand how the exam process works. Questions include: the creation of exam papers; how we support students with different needs; through to finding out what happens to your exam papers after they have left your school; who marks your papers; grade boundaries and post-results support.

Take a look at all the videos in the series, pass the link on to your students and look out for more coming soon.

Remember to look out for your Subject Advisor newsletters this term. If you’ve not already done so, please do sign up to receive regular communications about your subject area to ensure you have all you need to deliver the qualifications to your students. You can also follow them on Twitter. 

Sign up for your Subject Advisor support

Stay informed with Vocational Qualifications by following @PearsonBTEC, where we will update you with the latest information, or access our FAQ page, which is updated frequently.

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

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