Summer 2022 Contingency Arrangements

Mon Nov 22 18:33:00 UTC 2021

This update is about the contingency arrangements that are being put in place in the unlikely event that examinations cannot take place in May/June 2022.

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The following information applies to centres offering UK regulated qualifications such as GCSE, AS and A level Business and Economics. It also applies to overseas centres that are offering these qualifications. Separate advice is provided below for centres offering our International qualifications.  

The Department for Education and Ofqual have confirmed that although the government is firmly committed to exams going ahead in summer 2022, there needs to be a contingency plan in place for the unlikely event that exams have to be cancelled again because of the pandemic. If exams have to be cancelled in summer 2022, learners’ grades would instead be determined by their teachers, using a Teacher Assessed Grades (TAGs) approach similar to that used in summer 2021. Detailed information on how TAGs would be determined in summer 2022 will only be published if exams are cancelled.

Ofqual has published guidance for teachers on how they should collect evidence of student performance which could be used towards a TAG in the unlikely event that exams are cancelled next summer. Teachers must not attempt to determine TAGs unless exams are cancelled.

This guidance is being published now so that teachers know how to collect evidence from their students in advance of any decision to cancel exams.

Read the full guidance here

Guidance on collecting evidence to be used to determine TAGs if they are needed in summer 2022

Centres should plan assessment opportunities to a timetable – approaches may vary based on what assessments have already taken place.

  • A sensible approach for assessments:
    - second half of the autumn term 2021
    - spring term of 2022
    - first half of the summer term 2022.

Many centres will already have assessments planned to support learning and some assessments may already have taken place – where possible these should be used to provide evidence to inform a possible TAG.

If assessments have already taken place under different conditions centres should exercise judgement over whether it would be appropriate, and in the interests of learners, to contribute towards TAGs if needed.

Centres should be prepared to explain the approach in centre policies for TAGs if necessary.

Teachers should teach and assess their learners similarly to how they normally would, and in line with the guidance issued by the Department for Education and Ofqual, to gather the evidence they would use to determine TAGs, in case they are needed.

You may already have planned assessments to help learners prepare for summer exams.

Here are some further points from the consultation outcome and guidance:

  • Learners should be assessed under exam-like conditions wherever possible – controls may be provided within a classroom rather than exam hall.
  • Learners:
    • should not know the questions beforehand
    • should work independently and without assistance
    • should not have access to books or revision notes
    • the assessment should be timed and supervised.

Wherever possible, a centre must either assess all of its learners who are taking a particular qualification using the same material at the same time or using different materials at different times.

If not possible to assess whole cohort at same time, the assessment approach should be consistent within a centre, eg students assessed using the same style of assessment (but not the same questions).

Total assessment time should not normally exceed the total time learners would spend taking exams for the relevant qualification.

Assessments should be as useful as possible for learners preparing to take
summer exams – past papers could be used in full or part.

If teachers are designing their own assessments they must be in a similar style to our exam papers.

Where assessments are scheduled after the publication of this guidance, learners must be told before they take each assessment that their performance in it would be used as part of the evidence to determine a TAG if exams are cancelled. This information should be given sufficiently far in advance of the assessment to allow students time to revise and prepare. 

Learners should be told which parts of the subject content will be covered by the assessment, but they should not be told the questions in advance or be able to predict the questions from information given to them. This means that learners should not, for example, be assessed using past papers from one particular year spread over three assessment points, as learners would be able to predict the questions they would be answering in the later assessments.

In exceptional circumstances, it might be necessary for work that was not undertaken in line with this guidance to be used to inform a TAG, for example where a learner misses the later assessments because of illness. Guidance will be provided on this if exams are cancelled.  

The same reasonable adjustments that will be made for disabled learners taking exams in the summer should, where possible, be applied to the assessments – and records made of the adjustments and the reasons for them. The centre should record the reason why any reasonable adjustment was not made.  

If a learner’s need for a reasonable adjustment is only identified after an assessment had taken place, their teacher should record the reason for this late identification and allow the learner to undertake a different, but equivalent, assessment with the reasonable adjustment in place.   

If a teacher is satisfied that a learner’s performance in one or more of the assessments was affected by an event that was outside of the learner’s control  at the time of, or immediately before, the assessment, such as illness or family bereavement, the teacher should adjust their marking of the assessment. The JCQ’s approach to special consideration provides a helpful reference point for teachers who need to adjust a mark to take such an event into account. 

The centre should keep a record of the event and the marking adjustment, in a form that would be available for an exam board to review if exams are cancelled. Centres should make sure learners know they need to tell their teachers before or immediately after the assessment of any events outside of their control that might have affected their performance in an assessment.   

Read the JCQ guidance

Teachers should mark the assessments in line with our published mark schemes and guidance that can be found on the qualification pages. 

Centres should support teachers to mark work for the same qualification to the same standard. 

Learners should be provided with feedback, which could include marks or comments.

Teachers may tell the learner  the grade indicated by their performance in the assessment, but they must make it clear to their learners that this is not a TAG. It will not be possible for a teacher to determine a TAG unless and until Ofqual sets specific guidance on the determination of TAGs for 2022, which it will only do if exams are cancelled.  

Learners should not be given the opportunity to repeat an assessment, for example to improve their mark in response to feedback. Their performance in later assessments might, of course, reflect feedback on their performance in earlier assessments.

The original learner work must be retained by the centre securely - learners may be given copies if this would help support their learning. 

Where disruption to education means assessments cannot be completed for all or some of their learners in line with the guidance, centres should take reasonable steps to collect evidence of each learner’s knowledge and understanding in ways that align as far as possible with the guidance. 

Centres will need to be assured that the evidence collected is of the learner’s work alone – that it is authentic – and that it covers a broad range of the subject content and the assessment objectives for the qualification.  

Centres should record the exceptional reasons why they have not been able to gather evidence in line with this guidance for all or some of their learners. The records will need to be available for exams boards to check if exams are cancelled.   

Support available

For GCSE and A level Business, there are past papers, SAMs and specimen papers available, which can be used as mock in full or partial.

You can access these from the course materials section of the qualification pages.

You can also utilise examWizard to create a hybrid paper from the available past papers.

Access examWizard

The assessment materials created last year to help with Teacher Assessed Grades, can be useful in applying the mark scheme to past paper questions.

Access these below for GCSE and A level Business.  

More information on summer 2022 arrangements and FAQs can be accessed from our website. See links below:

Summer 2022 support

Frequently asked questions

If you require any further information and support, please feel free to get in touch with us through the details below.


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