Ofqual: Exam boards should offer all subjects in autumnWatch
In a consultation document on the autumn exam series, published today, Ofqual says the autumn series is intended as an opportunity for pupils unhappy with their teacher-assessed grade this year to sit an exam. The consultation closes on 8 June
"If exam boards decide not to make exams available in the autumn for particular qualifications then any students who consider that the results issued to them this summer do not reflect how they would have performed in an exam in that qualification will be unable to take such an exam until summer 2021," the regulator said.
"Similarly, any students who cannot receive a calculated grade this summer will be unable to take exams until next summer.
"We recognise that if different opportunities were available to students, according to their subjects and exam boards, the autumn series will less effectively mitigate any unfairness which students and centres might consider arises from the exceptional arrangements for issuing grades this summer.
"The autumn series will only provide an opportunity for students to demonstrate their abilities in an exam to the extent that exam boards decide to make those exams available."
However, boards which received no entries for a subject would be able to withdraw the qualification so that they did not incur additional costs, the regulator said.
No 'shortened' exams this autumn
The regulator also proposed that the exam papers sat in the autumn should not be modified to account for the time pupils have missed from school during the coronavirus outbreak. Previously, Tes reported that Ofqual was discussing the possibility that pupils could sit "shortened" exam papers in the autumn.
Ofqual said shortened papers, or allowing pupils to sit just one paper in the subject rather than two, would not allow pupils to demonstrate their ability in the subject, which was a key aspect of the autumn series. It also meant that pupils who were ill on the day of an exam, in the case where only one paper was available, would be disadvantaged as they would not have completed 25 per cent of the assessment needed to receive a grade through special consideration.
Ofqual also said that a new style of paper would be "unfamiliar" to pupils, which could negatively impact their performance and make the series more complicated for schools and colleges to administer. Writing a new style of paper would also incur extra costs for the exam boards, the regulator said.
The regulator also proposed that non-exam assessments should not be taken into account for the autumn exams, as this would be unfair for pupils who had not completed coursework before schools closed. An exception would be made in the case of art and design subjects, which are purely assessed by non-exam assessment. Ofqual proposes that boards should set GCSE and A level art candidates a new task to complete under supervised conditions to be marked by the boards, while pupils would not need to complete a portfolio of other work.
Ofqual also said that it did not currently know when the autumn series would take place, but that "we envisage that, if possible, AS and A level exams should take place in October and GCSE exams in November".
"We propose, therefore, to put in place provision for the exam boards to offer exams from October 2020 with the exact timing being confirmed by us, having taken advice from government, the exam boards and groups representing school and college leaders and teachers," the regulator added.
Bill Watkin, chief executive of the Sixth Form Colleges Association said:“Sixth form colleges will be pleased that the professionalism and expertise of teachers lie at the heart of these proposals.
"Ofqual has set out the fairest possible way to award A level and GCSE grades in the absence of summer exams. However, there are inevitably going to be winners and losers this year because no one system can meet the needs of every centre and every young person.
"There are some important matters still to be addressed for the future, particularly the prospect of a full Autumn exam season. Some of the proposals in the newly-published consultation on this subject will present significant practical challenges to students and teachers – particularly the plan to offer a resit in every subject.
"Looking further ahead, the exams in summer 2021 are not going to escape unscathed, as students’ learning has been interrupted and it will be difficult to cover every element of the syllabus in these difficult times. Ofqual has done an good job so far, but students are going to need careful guidance and support as they face their future”."
Source - https://www.tes.com/news/coronavirus...ubjects-autumn
I'm off to revise for my Physics test now.