The 2023 cohort of I/GCSE and A Level students in the UAE will not have experienced national school and college closures during their two-year courses of study. However, they have still experienced some disruption to their studies due to Covid-19 restrictions.
In line with students worldwide, IGCSEs awarded by Pearson EdExcel and AQA were cancelled in 2020-21 due to the pandemic; Cambridge was the only A Level/IGCSE exam board to run its June 2021 exam series as planned, where it was permitted by national education authorities.
While schools and colleges will now be teaching the full content of qualifications to students taking exams in 2023, there will still be some support available for students taking exams next year.
Students will not be provided with advance information on the focus of exams next summer (in 2022 students were given advance information topics and exam aids such as formulae). However, they will be given extra support in GCSE maths, physics and combined science in the form of formulae and equation sheets.
There will also be a return to all the usual non-exam assessment activities such as practical science activities, geography fieldwork, spoken language assessments, and formal speaking tests.
Ofqual has confirmed a return to pre-pandemic grading as the next step in getting back to normal.
Senior examiners will set grade boundaries based on the grades achieved by previous cohorts of students in the pre-pandemic years, along with prior attainment data.
Dr Jo Saxton, Chief Regulator of Ofqual, says:
"We expect that overall results in 2023 will be much closer to pre-pandemic years than results since 2020. This decision means that results in 2023 will be lower than in 2022. At this point in the academic year, we can’t be precise about results in specific subjects and specifications. Entries have not yet been made and students have not taken any exams. But there is no pre-determined ‘quota’ of grades."
A Level results will be published on Thursday, August 17 and I/GCSE results on Thursday, August 24.