Summer 2022 Contingency Arrangements

Tue Nov 16 00:00:00 UTC 2021

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

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The Department for Education and Ofqual have decided as a matter of policy 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, students’ grades would instead be determined by their teachers, using a Teacher Assessed Grades (TAGs) approach similar to that used in summer 2021.

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

Where a GCSE, AS or A level includes non-exam assessment (NEA), such as a Design and Technology, teachers should support their students, wherever possible, to complete that assessment in line with arrangements announced by Ofqual for 2022 and the timescales set by exam boards. 

If exams go ahead as we expect, the NEA will be marked and moderated as usual and combined with students’ exam marks to generate their grades. 

If exams are cancelled, teachers will be expected to take a student’s NEA into account when determining a TAG.  

Ideally three assessments should be identified as those which would inform TAGs. These should be spread over the remaining academic year: for example, in the second half of the autumn term 2021, in the spring term of 2022, and the first half of the summer term 2022. Any other normal assessment points should be used to provide evidence to inform TAGs if they are needed.  

Some subjects are assessed by a combination of exam and non-exam assessments. Teachers should consider the balance of exam and non-exam assessments when deciding on how many occasions students should be assessed.  

Some centres, for good reason, might adopt a different approach to assessing their students, for example because of the characteristics of their students, 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 are cancelled.  

Some centres might have assessed their students before the October half term.

Teachers should teach and assess their students 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.

For many of you, the required assessments will most likely already be planned to help learners prepare for summer exams.

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

  • Students should be assessed under exam-like conditions wherever possible – controls may be provided within a classroom rather than exam hall.

  • Students:
    • 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 students 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).

Centres may wish to aim for a total assessment time that does not significantly exceed the total time students would spend taking exams for the relevant qualification, plus any time spent on non-exam assessment. 

Try not to over-assess and think about opportunities to schedule specific assessment opportunities which taken together would provide evidence from broadly the same proportion of the specification as would normally be covered in exams.  

Students should only be assessed on content they have been taught. Teachers should plan the package of assessments so that students 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 students 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 the corresponding exam board’s exam papers and marked in line with the exam board’s approach to marking exam questions for the qualification.  

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

Students 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, students 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.  

Students 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 students should not, for example, be assessed using past papers from one particular year spread over three assessment points, as students 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 student misses the later assessments because of illness. Guidance will be provided on this if exams are cancelled.   

Students 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 student work must be retained by the centre securely - students may be given copies if this would help support their learning. 

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. 

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

Teachers may tell the student the grade indicated by their performance in the assessment, but they must make it clear to their students 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.  

The same reasonable adjustments that will be made for disabled students 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 student’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 student to undertake a different, but equivalent, assessment with the reasonable adjustment in place.   

If a teacher is satisfied that a student’s performance in one or more of the assessments was affected by an event that was outside of the student’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 students 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.   

Where disruption to education means assessments cannot be completed for all or some of their students in line with the guidance, centres should take reasonable steps to collect evidence of each student’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 student’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 students. The records will need to be available for exams boards to check if exams are cancelled.   

Support available 

For GCSE and A level Design and Technology, 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.

A level D&T past papers

GCSE D&T past papers

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

Access examWizard

The marking guidance and exemplar responses, which were 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 D&T. 

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Further support and guidance can be accessed from the teaching and learning materails section of the qualification pages. See below. 

GCSE Design and Technology teaching and learning materials

A level Design and Technology teaching and learning materials 

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

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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