Information about Ofqual consultation on Summer 2022 for History teachers

20 July 2021

You are now able to have your say and submit your feedback in response to a joint consultation published by Ofqual and the DfE, on proposed changes to the assessment of GCSEs, AS and A levels in 2022.

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The consultation proposes a package of measures to help mitigate the impact of disruption to students’ education, and seeks views on proposals on the following areas:

  • choice of topics in GCSE English Literature, History, Ancient History and choice of content in GCSE Geography
  • changes to the requirements for the delivery of practical activities in science subjects, and assessment in art and design the provision of advance information on the focus of the content of exams, in the majority of subjects at GCSE, AS and A level
  • the provision of support materials in GCSE Mathematics, Physics and Combined Science exams

We would be very grateful if you could submit your feedback on these proposals to Ofqual.

What does the consultation mean for GCSE History?

Page 11 of the consultation states that ‘Following the July 2020 consultation, it was decided that for GCSE English literature, history and ancient history, centres should have some choice of topics beyond a common core identified in each specification on which their students would answer questions. This helped address teacher concerns about their ability to cover all the required subject content in the time available and enabled them to focus teaching time where necessary in a number of core subjects. These changes have generally been welcomed and we propose to carry them forward for 2022 exams.’

For GCSE History, the optionality we had in place in summer 2021 enabled teachers to choose one topic/option that students would not be required to sit from either Paper 1 or Paper 2. In summer 2021, Paper 3 was compulsory so students were entered for the Modern Depth Study and two from three of the Thematic Study, Period Study, and British Depth Study. The Ofqual consultation states that they propose to carry forward these measures agreed in the previous consultation.

The consultation also states on page 9 that ‘For GCSE subjects other than those where we have proposed a choice of topic or content to be covered, we are proposing that the boards should provide advance information about the focus of the content of the exams in each subject. We propose that, for subjects in which a choice of topic or content is provided (English literature, history, ancient history and geography), advance information about the focus of exams should not also be given. We believe the combination of the two measures would have the effect of giving students taking those subjects an unfair advantage and making the qualifications less rigorous.’

For GCSE History, the optionality of topics proposed would mean that no advance notice would be given. Advance notice would be in place for qualifications such as A level History, where there is no additional optionality.

What might Advance Notice for A level History look like?

Advance notice is likely to be at a high level in terms of identification of specification content. Ofqual's principles for advance notice information are given on page 15 of the consultation document. These principles were supported in responses to the December 2020 consultation. The government's intention is to release advance information in the spring term to help students focus their revision time. Once the consultation is concluded, we will provide guidance on the outcomes and support to help you and your students prepare for the exam series.

What does this mean for international qualifications such as International GCSE and IAL History?

Ofqual is the regulator for UK qualifications, so this consultation only covers GCSE and A level qualifications. We are working on arrangements for international qualifications and will share more information once it has been confirmed.

When does the consultation close?

The Ofqual consultation closes at 11.45pm on 1 August 2021.

When will we know the outcome of the consultation?

Ofqual stated that they ‘have set the length of this consultation so that decisions can be announced early in the next academic year, giving students, teachers and exam boards time to plan for exams taking place next summer.’ Therefore, we can expect a final announcement on the summer 2022 changes in September. Once we know the final outcome, we will be able to provide you with further clarification, guidance and support.

Subject advisor

Mark Battye

Government and Politics
Twitter :
Mark Battye, History subject advisor
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