GCSE, A Level Autumn 2021 Exams Go Ahead

GCSE and A Level students who may want to improve on their teacher-assessed grades awarded this summer can sit autumn exams in all subjects, but there will be no adaptations made for loss of learning due to school closures.
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Students who receive a teacher-assessed grade this summer can take GCSE, AS or A Level exams in the same subject in autumn 2021, Ofqual has confirmed today. It's positive news for students who may want to improve on their teacher assessed grades; they will be awarded the better of the summer or the autumn grade.

After announcing the cancellation of all GCSE, AS and A Level exams in the UK, exam regulator Ofqual launched a consultation into giving all students the opportunity to take exams in autumn 2021. It has decided that: 

  • exam boards including Cambridge, Pearson Edexcel and AQA will have to offer exams in all GCSE and A level subjects and AS exams in biology, chemistry, further maths, maths and physics; exam boards will be able to offer AS exams in other subjects if they wish.
  • students will sit exams in their normal format, with no adaptations made for loss of learning.
  • grades will be determined by a student’s performance in an exam for all subjects, except for art and design qualifications. For art and design qualifications, grades will be determined by students’ performance in a task set and marked by the exam board.

All autumn AS and A level exams will be held in October, while GCSE exams will take place in November and December. Students will be able to keep the higher of their two grades; any student whose autumn 2021 grade is higher than their teacher-assessed grade can ask for a replacement certificate showing the higher of the grades.

Ofqual added:

"Where awarding organisations do not normally provide assessment opportunities between September and January, Ofqual will require them to provide those opportunities where they reasonably consider there is sufficient demand and would be manageable to both the awarding organisation and [schools]."

There could also be GCSE English and maths exams in January 2022. Ofqual said:

"In light of concerns about students’ readiness to take GCSE English language and maths exams in the autumn, and concerns about schools’ and colleges’ ability to manage large exam entries if public health safeguards remain in place, we will also make provision for the exam boards to offer exams in these subjects in January 2022 if they wish."

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