Summer 2021 exam support

In August 2020 Ofqual confirmed there will be changes to the 2021 examination series due to the impact coronavirus has had on students’ education. Here you’ll find the information you need to help you understand the changes to GCSE (9-1) Urdu.

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We will be providing you and your students with materials specifically tailored to help you prepare for the summer 2021 exam series. Links to content support will be listed below, as it becomes available, and we will let you know when further information is added.

Please note that these changes apply to the 2021 exam series only. For students due to be examined in 2022 these changes do not apply.

Changes to Pearson Edexcel GCSE (9-1) Modern Languages examinations for 2021

Ofqual has confirmed that the changes for the 2021 series will be:

  • the removal of Paper 2, Speaking, and the introduction of a Speaking endorsement; 
  • the option for awarding organisations to gloss non-core vocabulary; 
  • the opportunity to add further optionality in Paper 4, Writing.  

Further details can be found below: 

‘Make the spoken language assessment an endorsement reported on a 3-point scale (pass, merit and distinction) against common assessment criteria. To be assessed by teachers during the course of study.’ (Ofqual’s Proposed changes to the assessment of GCSEs, AS and A levels in 2021)

  • This confirms that Paper 2 Speaking will not be included in Summer 2021 examinations in any of the language GCSEs.
  • Instead speaking skills will be assessed throughout the year in normal classroom activities, including remote teaching if there are repeated lockdowns or students need to isolate. We will be developing support for centres on how this could be approached.
  • Common criteria will be collaborated on by all boards and provided by Ofqual in time for September teaching. For any students that do not meet the ‘Pass’ criteria or for whom no grade is submitted, ‘unclassified’ will be reported on their GCSE certificate.
  • The same criteria will be applied to all students no matter what their tier of entry is for Papers 1, 3 and 4 (which will now form 100% of the GCSE grade, equally weighted at 33.33% each).
  • There will be no requirement to submit examples of student attainment for moderation. Details on how to report the grades will come later and we will keep you up to date on any further information published by Ofqual.

‘Remove requirement for assessments to use words outside of vocabulary lists and permit glossing where necessary whilst maintaining level of knowledge and accuracy needed for the highest grades.’ (Ofqual’s Proposed changes to the assessment of GCSEs, AS and A levels in 2021)

We are removing as many non-core vocabulary list words as possible from Papers 1 and 3 for all MFL GCSE qualifications; any remaining, essential non-core vocabulary list words will be glossed. This approach will provide the most accessible assessment experience for students.

‘Permit exam boards to include an additional optional question in the writing assessment which would enable students to focus on fewer themes in their writing.’ (Ofqual’s Proposed changes to the assessment of GCSEs, AS and A levels in 2021)

We will be adding an option to Foundation paper Question 2, where there is currently only one question. This will give more choice to students who may not have been able to study the whole specification. We will be adding an additional 5 minutes to Foundation Paper 4 to ensure students have sufficient time to read the options and make decisions. We will also be changing the topic titles of the questions into English to aid swift identification of themes by students (for Chinese and Japanese, questions and rubrics are already set in English).

We will not be making changes to the Higher tier as optionality is already available for all questions except for the translation.

Because Question 1 in Paper 4 Foundation and the translations at both tiers will be the only questions where there is no option, we will not include coverage of Pearson’s Theme 5 (International and global dimension) in these questions. This is because Theme 5 is perceived to be the most demanding of the themes for writing and the one least likely to have been covered by centres.

Full details of what this means for our specifications and assessments can be found in:

To read the full Ofqual consultation report please visit the government website.

If you have any questions regarding the changes please get in touch with our subject advisor, Alistair Drewery, through our Customer Portal.