Summer 2022 Contingency Arrangements for international qualifications

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 international qualifications such as International GCSE and IAL Business or Economics. It applies to overseas centres and UK independent schools that are offering these qualifications.

Exams will take place in 2022 for International GCSE and International AS/A level. In the unlikely event that exams cannot take place in some jurisdictions again because of the pandemic, we are now able to confirm that in the exceptional circumstance that exams cannot go ahead in your country in summer 2022, students’ grades would instead be determined by using an evidence-based approach which would then be marked and graded by us.  Centres would have to submit at least one set of past papers as part of the portfolio.

Detailed information on how grades would be determined in summer 2022 will only be published if exams are cancelled. At that point, we would take account of the timing of the decision, the reason for the decision and any public health restrictions in place in specific international regions at the time, as well as lessons learned from the 2021 arrangements, and would provide further guidance to centres. In the meantime, teachers should teach and assess their learners as they would throughout the year, in line with the guidance below, to gather the evidence they would use to determine grades, in case they are needed.

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

The following information provides 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 should assess their learners to provide them with opportunities to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding across the range of content they have been taught and in ways that cover the assessment objectives for the qualification.

Learners should be assessed under exam-like conditions wherever possible, for example:

  • learners should not know before the assessment the questions they will answer
  • learners should work independently and not be assisted (other than as required for a reasonable adjustment)
  • learners should not have access to books or revision notes
  • the assessment should be timed and supervised.

These controls may be provided within a classroom rather than exam hall setting.  

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 it is not possible to assess the whole cohort at the same time, the assessment approach for any particular qualification should be consistent within a centre, for example, learners must be assessed:

  • at broadly the same time
  • over the same range of content
  • using the same style of assessment (but not the same questions).

Exceptions might be needed, for example:

  • if a centre is assessing a private candidate who has not covered the same content as the centre’s learners
  • if a learner joins a centre later in the year
    if an individual learner has been taught significantly less than the cohort because of illness.  


Reasonable adjustments should be made for disabled learners.

One past paper that has not previously been sat by learners should be identified and sat and would be part of the portfolio submitted.  Any other normal  assessment points should be used to provide evidence to inform the portfolio if they are needed.  This could be, for example:

  • in the second half of the autumn term 2021
  • in the spring term of 2022
  • in the first half of the summer term 2022.


Any other normal  assessment points should be used to provide evidence if they are needed.  

Some centres, for good reason, might  adopt a different approach to assessing their learners, for example because of the characteristics of their learners, or the nature of their provision. In such cases, centres should be able to provide a rationale for their approach to the exam boards if exams cannot go ahead.

One past paper that has not previously been sat by learners should be identified and sat and would be part of the portfolio submitted.  Learners should only be assessed on content they have been taught. Teachers should plan the package of assessments so that learners are assessed, across the assessments when taken together, on a wide range of content, similar to that on which they will expect to be assessed in their summer exams, and across the assessment objectives for the qualification.  

The assessments should be as useful as possible for learners preparing to take summer exams. Assessments should be similar to full or parts of the exam papers they are preparing to take next summer. Past papers could be used, in full or part, where appropriate. If teachers develop their own assessments, the questions used should be in a similar style to those found in Pearson’s exam papers and marked in line with Pearson’s approach to marking exam questions for the qualification.  

If setting assessments after the advance information for the summer 2022 exams has been published, teachers should take that advance information into account when deciding how to assess their learners. They should make their learners aware of the fact that they have done so prior to their assessments.  

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. 

Yes. 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 grade if exams are cancelled. This information should be given sufficiently far in advance of the assessment to allow learners 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 thatlearners 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 grade, for example where a learner misses the later assessments because of illness. Guidance will be provided on this if exams are cancelled.  

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

Further information and support for international continegency arrangements

We'll continue to keep the 2022 Support web page up to date and provide news and information in the regular Pearson Qualifications Bulletin. For more information please do not hesitate to contact me.

Go to the 2022 support page

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