Summer 2021 support

We've confirmed that we'll use a robust approach based on teacher assessment for the May/June series 2021 and that exams will not go ahead as planned.

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  • To ensure fairness for all students around the world, we want to ensure parity with our UK qualifications and so will align the evidence-based approach for international qualifications with the approach for UK qualifications, as far as it's sensible to do so.
  • Student grades will be derived by teachers and centres, with support throughout from Pearson. With our support, it will be possible to use a variety of evidence to inform the grade that will be submitted to Pearson.
  • We want to ensure that you have access to assessment materials that will enable objective and fair judgements to be made about student performance; we have also heard from you that you want us to support you in translating evidence-based judgements into grades.
  • We will be supporting you and your students every step of the way and we will share further guidance on our website about how you can use all the available evidence to arrive at a student's grade.

Changes to Pearson Edexcel International GCSE in English Literature examinations for 2021

The change for the 2021 series is:

  • Anthology poetry will not be assessed in May/June 2021; however Unseen Poetry will still be included in Paper 1.

One of the forms of evidence that will be made available is the optional use of unseen test materials. We'll send unseen test materials to all centres. You and your students will be familiar with the style of the materials, as they will look like question papers used in a normal exam series.

These test materials can then be used in two ways:

  1. As unseen materials they can be presented to students in a controlled situation, in a specified timeframe, for them to respond to
  2. Or, after the specified timeframe, in the knowledge that they may be familiar to students, used as one part of the evidence that supports the teacher grade.

To support the use of these unseen materials, we'll be offering an optional marking service where our expert examiners will mark your student responses. We'll mark the test materials and return a mark to you for your consideration when deriving the student grade. We'll provide you with support to understand how the mark aligns with performance descriptors so that you can be confident in your understanding of the mark. This will be an optional service and if you'd prefer to mark the materials yourself, we'll be providing mark schemes and training materials so that you can do so with confidence.

The approach for this series will be underpinned by a quality assurance process that focuses on helping you to make judgements, based on evidence, that are objective and consistent. 

We promise to now work with you to make sure that students receive grades to progress to the next stage of their education. We'll provide detailed guidance and support to ensure that this happens. This will include: how to reach grading decisions; the creation of assessment materials; the quality assurance process and appeals; along with the general support around timelines and submission systems. We will also be providing support for teachers through our Professional Development Academy where teachers will be able to sign up and access a range of resources.

Ofqual have confirmed, following the publication of their decisions on assessment arrangements for May/June 2021, that candidates should continue to be given the opportunity to complete non-exam assessment (NEA) for GCSE, AS and A level qualifications.

The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) has released guidance for centres on how to complete and authenticate non-exam assessment remotely, where it is safe and possible to do so.

Ofqual have also confirmed that NEA will not be assessed by the exam boards. The evidence from NEA will be used by teachers to inform their Teacher Assessed Grade (TAG). We know that teachers may be concerned about how to assess incomplete NEA evidence when a candidate has been unable to finish their work through no fault of their own. The exam boards are working together to provide additional guidance to help centres in these circumstances.

As mentioned above we want to ensure parity with our UK qualifications and so will align the approach for NEA on international qualifications with the approach for UK qualifications.