RE: Examinations Update and Year 13 Mock Examinations 2021-2022
Dear Parents & Carers
Summary of 2022 exams announcements
The DfE and Ofqual have published a number of documents setting out plans for AS levels, A levels, and vocational and technical qualifications (VTQs) for Year 13 students this year. These include the following:
- A ‘decisions document’ setting out what changes will be put in place for AS and A levels in 2022, following the recent DfE/Ofqual consultation on this.
- An article by new Chief Regulator Dr Jo Saxton, explaining Ofqual’s approach to grading next year, and a blog setting this out for students.
- A consultation on the contingency arrangements for AS and A levels.
- Guidance on the contingency arrangements for vocational and technical qualifications (VTQs)
The International Baccalaureate Organisation has also confirmed that it’s assessment outline for May 2022 examinations, identifying the reduction of assessed content in each subject, exactly mirrors the arrangements for May 2021.
The key points from these documents are below:
- Students taking AS and A level art and design subjects will be assessed on their portfolio only.
- Examination boards will provide advanced information about the focus of the content of exams for all AS and A level subjects by 7th February 2022 at the latest. This could be released earlier ‘if circumstances require’.
- Most IB subjects have had either section of individual examination papers or whole examination papers removed for the May 2022 series, as they were in May 2021.
- 2022 will be a ‘transition year’ to reflect the fact that we are in a pandemic recovery period and students’ education has been disrupted.
- Ofqual will therefore aim for grades in 2022 to reflect a midway point between 2021 and 2019. This means that results overall next year will be higher than in 2019 but not as high as in 2020.
- Examination boards will use data as a starting point, to align their standards in a subject. But the grade boundaries for each specification will be set by the senior examiners after they have reviewed the work produced by student.
- Grades for students sitting examinations in autumn 2021 will be aligned with grading in summer 2021.
- When predicting grades for UCAS this year, Ofqual recommends that teachers use the 2019 standard as the basis, but that they give borderline students the benefit of any doubt.
- Organisations awarding VTQs are expected to take account of the approach for GCSEs and A levels when setting standards in their own qualifications.
- In 2023, Ofqual aims to return to results that are in line with those in pre-pandemic years.
- In 2021, the IBO had two parallel systems globally for calculating final grades. As IB examinations were not able to take place in the UK in May 2021, UK students’ grades were awarded solely based upon students’ internal assessments and teacher predictions. In 2022, however, UK students’ grades will be based upon the accumulated marks earned in both internal assessments and examinations taken in May 2022, as they were in pre-pandemic series. Grading standards will be set between those of the last pre-pandemic year (2019) and those applied in 2020.
IB results will be released to students on 6th July.
Results for UK-based examinations next year will return to their normal format, with AS and A level results being released on 18th August. VTQs used to progress in a similar way will be issued on or before the same days, and other VTQ results will continue to be issued throughout the year.
The government has launched a two-week consultation on what contingency arrangements should be put in place if AS and A level exams cannot go ahead as planned in 2022.
The government’s proposal is essentially a tweaked Teacher Assessed Grade (TAG) process, with tighter guidance on the evidence on which TAGs would be based.
Specific suggestions include:
- planned assessment points from which to gather evidence (e.g. once in each of the late autumn, spring and early summer terms)
- the use, at these assessment points, of approaches which replicate exam board papers and exam conditions
It is likely that the government will produce guidance on this process, once the consultation is complete and the final approach is agreed. With this in mind, I thought it important that you have an overview of the upcoming mock assessment point that the academy will be using if we do have to revert to our contingency plans for the 2022 examinations window, as the data collected from these assessments would all directly contribute to your son/daughter’s Teacher Assessed Grades.
The IBO has already announced that their contingency plans will be the same in 2022 as they were in 2021, with students’ final grades being based upon externally marked internal assessments and teacher predictions, if examinations cannot run in the UK.
Year 13 mock examinations 2021
The Year 13 mock examinations will commence on Monday 29th November 2021.
As you know, the purpose of these examinations is to provide an opportunity for students to begin revising the practical content of their A Level and IB subjects so that this can be committed to long-term memory.
It is also to enable them to experience the pressure of working under examination conditions, managing their time in that situation and navigating their way through examination papers and activities. I am sure you will join me in urging your son/daughter to make the very most of this opportunity to enhance his/her chances of success in the final examinations next summer.
Students will be expected to be in all of their lessons when not in examinations between Monday 29th November – Friday 3rd December. Your son/daughter will receive an individual examination timetable that will also be available on your My Child at School account. The overall master timetable will also be available on the academy website.
Please can you ensure that your son/daughter is at the academy on time as we will need to ensure morning examinations begin promptly at 9:00am. Please also be aware that there may be occasions when examinations run past our usual 1:30pm finish time. Registers will be taken in all lessons from Monday 29th November – Friday 3rd December and we will contact you if your son/daughter is absent.
In addition to the mock examinations, some of the Year 13 students have BTEC public examinations starting in January 2022. Confirmation of these examination dates will be published shortly. Your son/daughter will be issued with a timetable for these subjects, and a copy will also be posted on your My Child at School account.
In the event of the cancellation of the GCSE examinations in 2022, these will be replaced with additional terminal assessments in Module 5, as well as the final practical examinations that will still be going ahead as planned for the arts, engineering.
The Year 13 Module 1 reports will be released on Tuesday 19th October. There will be a Year 13 Virtual Parent- Teacher Day on Wednesday 20th October. This is an opportunity to discuss your son/daughter’s progress in all of their subjects. An appointment may also be booked with the Post-16 Leadership team. Letters with further details will follow soon.
Revision and examination workshop
In order to support our Year 13 students in the build up to mock examinations and final examinations next summer, we have invited an external company called ‘Learning Performance’ in to deliver some advanced study skills workshops on Monday 18th October.
Each student will attend a 2-hour session at either 9.00am or 11.30am incorporating the following areas:
- Independent Learning, Time Management and Organisation
- The Review Philosophy and Spaced Practice
- Note-taking and Condensing Information
- Memory Techniques and Association Maps to aid recall and retention
- Self-Motivation and Resilience
Students will receive more information on the exact time and venue of their workshop next week.
Head of Chaucer College
Director of Post-16