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Ensuring the resilience of the qualifications system in 2023: GCSE, AS, A level, Project and AEA

We welcomed the return of exams and other formal assessments in summer 2022, for the first time since 2019. Exams and other formal assessments are the best and fairest way of assessing what students know and can do. That’s why it was so important that we got back to students taking them in 2022, and that this continues next year.

The national closure of schools or cancellation of exams – necessitating the use of alternative assessment arrangements – is now very unlikely. The government does not expect to ever be in the situation again where exams do not go ahead, but good public policy means having contingency, even for extremely unlikely scenarios.

It is important to learn lessons from the past 3 years. We have taken into account feedback received on the arrangements in place in 2022 and we propose to put in place arrangements which will build resilience in the exam system next year. We know that most schools and colleges have robust and effective assessment activities in place to monitor students’ progress and prepare them for exams, such as mock exams, and these are well established.

This document, prepared jointly by the Department for Education (DfE) and Ofqual, invites views on guidance to schools and colleges about gathering assessment evidence to support resilience in the exams system in the unlikely event it is necessary to use that evidence to inform Teacher Assessed Grades (TAGs). It is designed to allow schools and colleges to determine arrangements to gather evidence that align with their normal arrangements for preparing students for exams.

The proposals in this consultation apply to GCSEs, AS, A levels, Project Qualifications and the Advanced Extension Award (AEA) in mathematics.

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