General Qualifications Bulletin - UK - Issue 52

Thu Dec 14 17:00:00 UTC 2023

Dear Colleague, 

Welcome to the December qualifications bulletin, the final one for 2023. This term always seems to be a long one, but we’re nearly at the end and I do hope it has gone well for you and you can soon start to look forward to the holiday season.

Before the year closes, there is time to provide you with some information and updates so you’re ready for the new term in January.

I’d like to draw your attention to some important news regarding our appeals process that takes effect from 1 January 2024. We have a new webform for centres and private candidates to use should they wish to submit an appeal after results have been issued. This new form will help us to ensure we can process all applications promptly. Please do read the information below for further details on this.

We also have details of our post-results services for those who will be receiving results in January for GCSE English Language and Maths and our first November International GCSE exam series.

For those of you who will be sitting exams with us in the January 2024 window, I wish you and your students all the best.

As ever, if you need any more information or want to share any feedback with us, you can always get in touch via our support portal. We will always do our best to get you the answers as quickly as possible.

I wish you all a restful break with family and friends during the festive season.

With best wishes,

Hayley White
Vice President, Assessment 

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How to submit an appeal from 01 January 2024

From 1 January 2024, we are pleased to confirm that there will be a new web form for centres and private candidates to use when they wish to submit an application to appeal or request a review of an administrative decision. Using this web form will help to guide centres and private candidates in the information that needs to be provided in an application to appeal. This will help us to ensure we can process all applications promptly.

The web form will be available on our main Post-results web page and will be operational by 1 January 2024. From that date onwards we will no longer accept appeal applications that are made directly to our appeals email inbox. Appeals submitted to the inbox prior to 01 January 2024 will be processed. We will return any applications to appeal that are sent to our appeals inbox from 01 January 2024 to you with a request to submit them using the web form.

Centres and private candidates must use the webform to submit appeals related to:

  • the outcome of reviews of marking/moderation (within 30 calendar days of the date of the decision)
  • the decisions made in relation to student or centre malpractice (within 14 calendar days of the date of the decision)
  • the decisions made in relation to access arrangements, special consideration, reasonable adjustments (within 14 calendar days of the date of the decision)
  • the outcome of a preliminary appeal in any of the areas above. An application for an appeal hearing must only be made once a preliminary appeal has been conducted and must be made within 14 calendar days of the date of the preliminary appeal decision.

Centres and private candidates must also use the web form to request the review of an administrative decision in areas such as decisions made in relation to very late arrivals and where we have issued an aegrotat (estimated grade). 

Further information on the appeals process can be found in the JCQ Appeals Booklet 2023.

Further information on appeals, including fees, can also be found on our post-results services page.

Our website will be fully updated by 1 January 2024 to refer centres and private candidates to our web form.

General queries about issues that are not appeals should not be submitted on the appeals web form as we will not be able to process them. If you need help with a matter that is not an appeal, please contact our customer services team for assistance. This will ensure your query can be routed to the appropriate team without delay.

Results day for the November GCSE Maths and GCSE English Language series will be Thursday 11 January, and for International GCSE it’s 25 January. Our regular post-results support services will be available from these dates.

ResultsPlus 

You can get a detailed breakdown of your students’ results through ResultsPlus, our online results analysis service.

Take a look at our ResultsPlus video that provides you with an overview of how ResultsPlus can help you learn more about how your students’ performance compares with class and Pearson Edexcel national averages. 

Access to Scripts

You can view your candidates’ marked scripts online or download as a PDF, using our Access to Scripts service.

Find out more and take a look at our user guide and FAQs.

Ofqual guides for schools and colleges and for students for 2024

On 20 November, Ofqual published its updated guidance for schools, colleges and other exam or assessment centres on qualifications arrangements for 2024. 

On the same day they also published their updated student guide for 2024.The guides cover both GCSEs, AS, A levels, other general qualifications, and vocational and technical qualifications.

Download the updated Ofqual guide for schools and colleges 2024

Download the updated Ofqual Student Guide 2024

Ofqual resilience guidance September 2023

On 21 September 2023, Ofqual published the resilience guidance for centres delivering: GCSE, AS and A levels, Project Qualifications and Advanced Extension Award in maths (AEA). We’ve put together a summary of this guidance on our support page with links through to the full information from Ofqual.

Please do encourage your team members to read through this guidance in full.

Ofqual guidance on collecting evidence of student performance to ensure resilience in the qualifications system

JCQ guidance on cyber security

JCQ have produced new guidance for centres on cyber security in order to safeguard sensitive information, including personal student data, and to protect the integrity of secure assessments. 

In today's digital landscape, it is crucial to adhere to industry best practices to mitigate the risk of cyber threats. Please read the information provided by JCQ that includes key guidelines that align with industry standards and will help protect your digital assets. 

New JCQ guidance on cyber security

Updated JCQ guidance on use of calculators in exams

Please take a look at the JCQ updated ‘Instructions for the Conduct of Qualifications’ document for the 2023/24 academic year to provide more clarity to candidates, exam officers and teachers given recent changes in technology. 

In particular, the use of calculators in exams has been updated in Section 10 ‘Using calculators’. The use of calculators applies to a number of different subjects so please do pass this information to all who need to read it. 

Full details can be found in the in the booklet Instructions for conducting examinations 2023-2024 and a set of FAQs about using calculators on the JCQ website.

Further information and support for this academic year can also be found on our General qualifications assessment support page

 

On 5 December we introduced our new app-based multi-factor authentication (MFA) for all users of Edexcel Online, replacing the email-based MFA. The app is now mandatory to access Edexcel Online via the Pearson Portal. If you've not done so already, you'll need to download the Pearson authenticator app to a smart device (such as a smart phone) to continue to access Edexcel online via the Pearson Portal.

This change means that every user will be required to use a smart device to receive a verification code each time they wish to access Edexcel Online or other applications accessed via the Pearson Portal. You can either use a centre provided device, or if you so wish, your own device. We understand some organisations ask for your telephone number as part of MFA, however, we can confirm that the Pearson app does not collect and/or use any personal data, including your mobile phone number.  

MFA adds an extra layer of security, requiring users to provide multiple forms of identification before granting access, significantly reducing the risk of unauthorized access; app-based MFA enhances this even further. It's also a more seamless and convenient user experience. Users can easily access authentication codes or approve login requests directly from their smartphones, eliminating the need for carrying additional hardware tokens or relying on less secure methods such as SMS/email.  

The Pearson Authenticator App is now readily available to download via the Google Play store and the Apple App Store. This app will not require any signal or data coverage beyond the initial installation, and once installed, it will not require any additional device access. You will need to scan a QR code via the in app QR reader, when registering your device. This will require one off access to your camera. We are aware that some applications do require a phone number as part of device registration; the Pearson app does not require this.  

To support you with this new process we've created some guidance and provided answers to questions you might have. You can read these Frequently Asked Questions in our Pearson Portal Authentication customer support article. Here we have also outlined the step-by-step process you need to follow for the initial download of the app, and how to use it moving forward.  

You should read this article in conjunction with our existing articles Logging in and Accessing Pearson services using the Pearson Portal and Edexcel Online access and logging in Troubleshooting.  

If you require any further information have any questions about this, please do get in touch with us through our Pearson Support Portal.   

Thank you for helping us to ensure we continue to protect student and centre data. 

As always, our essential information guide is available for you to access throughout the academic year. This guide is designed to aid you with frequently asked questions and various processes that you might require assistance within your day-to-day activities as an Exams Officer.

Earlier this year, we unveiled the Pearson Development Hub - a designated space specifically tailored for exams officer training. Do take a look at the guide we've produced to help you access the hub.

Don’t forget to sign up for our live Exams Officer events where we’ll walk you through the latest news, updates, and upcoming processes for the weeks ahead, providing you with the opportunity to pose any questions you may have. You can sign up for events and view recordings of previous events on our Pearson Development Hub.

Languages - GCSE French, German and Spanish 2024

We're pleased to be able to share that our French, German and Spanish GCSE specifications for 2024 have all now been accredited by Ofqual.

Accessibility and inclusion have been at the heart of the development of our new qualifications, as we balance a combination of straightforward assessments with relatable content, equipping students for life and careers in a global setting.

Learn more

We know that at this time of year you will be supporting students with their GCSE options. We have created this video and downloadable slides to help explain the new specifications to students and their parents.

Watch on YouTube

Download narrated slides directly

Download slides directly

We have also collated resources on the importance of languages which we hope will be useful.

View the options evening collection

International GCSE Religious Studies - Changes to 2024 entry codes for International GCSE Religious Studies Paper 2

We have introduced six separate entry codes for International GCSE Religious Studies Paper 2 from the June 2024 series onwards. This means that when making student entries for May/June 2024 for Paper 2, centres will now need to select the entry code that aligns to the chosen religion studied for Paper 2, and students will receive a smaller paper booklet with only questions aligned to that module.

This will benefit all students as it means they will only receive the exam paper booklet they need for that option and will no longer need to search through 56 pages of questions to identify the sections and questions relevant to them. We hope this will provide a better assessment experience for all students, as there will no longer be any chance of accidentally answering questions on the ‘wrong’ religion.

The change to entry codes will not affect your teaching or your students’ learning in any way. This new approach to making entries is designed to more directly reflect the way the qualification is taught. The change is purely an administrative one and has no impact on the content of the specification.

A further environmental benefit of this approach is the reduction of unnecessary printing and shipping of paper through reducing the size of the examination booklets by approximately 80%.

The new entry codes for International GCSE Religious Studies and International GCSE Religious Studies (Modular) are listed on page 17 of the International GCSE Pearson Qualifications Information Manual 2023/24. You can also find them in the latest Subject Advisor update on this topic from Susan Currey, in the Frequently Asked Questions section - Where can I get information about the new codes?

If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to contact our Religious Studies Subject Advisor, Susan Currey, who will be happy to answer any further queries. You can email Susan at: TeachingReligiousStudies@pearson.com.

Art & Design - Externally Set Assignment Update

Please take a look at our subject update for information on Component 2 for A level, GCSE and International GCSE Art and Design

Subject Advisor support 

Make sure you’re signed up to receive all the latest news and updates from your Subject Advisor. Sign up now to receive updates from January 2024.

You can also find out more about the support your Subject Advisor offers by watching a short video they’ve each created.

Take a look at your Subject Advisor's video and sign up for your subject newsletter today

From Monday 18 December, the provisional timetables for November 2024 International GCSE and January 2025 International A Level and Edexcel Awards will be available on our Exams timetable page.

The consultation window will run from Monday 18th December to Monday 15 January.

Please send any comments to timetables@pearson.com

Onscreen exams are here and mean more than just switching from paper to a device. They challenge what’s possible and use technology to enhance the exam experience, offering students another way to best show what they know and can do.

Earlier in the year, the 2023 Pearson School Report uncovered that 70% of educators in private secondary schools in England expect more onscreen tests for high-stakes assessment in the next 10 years.

We have already made this a reality with thousands of students taking our onscreen International GCSE exams, building on the digital skills they currently have and will use in future study and the world of work.

What students are calling for

“If I had the choice to take an exam onscreen or on 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

Onscreen assessments currently available 

Following feedback from students and teachers, even more Pearson Edexcel onscreen exams are available for UK students to sit from 2024:

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

And from Summer 2025 we will offer:

  • International GCSE Geography

We know that trying something new can be both exciting and daunting, so please speak to us about how we can best support you every step of the way.

Learn more and speak to us

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 during January 2024.

Date

Qualification

Exam
series

Description

8 Jan 24

GCSE Drama 1DR0 02 and A level Drama 9DR0 02

June 24

Start of practical examination period

10 Jan 24

Project

Jan 24

Deadline to submit centre marks and moderation samples

10 Jan 24

GCSE English Language and Mathematics

Nov 23

Restricted release of results to centres

11 Jan 24

GCSE English Language and Mathematics

Nov 23

Release of results to candidates

24 Jan 24

International GCSE

Nov 23

Restricted release of results to centres

25 Jan 24

International GCSE

Nov 23

Release of results to candidates

25 Jan 24

GCSE English Language and Mathematics

Nov 23

Final date for requesting copies of scripts to support reviews of marking - Access to Scripts Service

30 Jan 24

Project and Edexcel Award

Jan 24

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

We're looking for knowledgeable and passionate individuals to become Pearson examiners for the 2024 exam series across a wide range of subjects.

Becoming an examiner is a great way to deepen your subject expertise, spread your assessment knowledge within your department and acquire valuable insights into the assessment process, empowering you to better prepare your learners for their exams. 

You can enjoy the convenience of working remotely, fitting it around your other commitments, and augmenting your income. It can also help you build your professional networks and benefit from opportunities for progression and continuous professional development.

View the current opportunities

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