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Malpractice and maladministration

The government has confirmed that it is fully committed to exams going ahead this summer and does not expect that to change except in the unlikely case of a public health emergency that prevents students being able physically to sit exams. However, there are contingency arrangements in place should exams not be able to go ahead as planned.

If the government decides exams cannot go ahead as planned due to the pandemic, students’ grades will instead be determined by their teachers, using teacher-assessed grades (TAGs). This will be similar to the arrangements in summer 2021.  

We provided guidance for teachers on collecting evidence during the year that would be used to inform TAGs if exams cannot go ahead applies to GCSEs, AS and A levels, the Advanced Extension Award (AEA) and Project qualifications. 

The guidance sets out that: 

students should be assessed in exam-like conditions wherever possible 
students must be told before each assessment that their performance in it would be used for a TAG if exams cannot go ahead – and wherever possible, this information should be given far enough in advance to allow students time to revise and prepare
students should be told which parts of the subject content will be covered by each assessment, but should not be told the questions in advance or be able to predict the questions from information given to them 
ideally, the total time students spend in assessments should not be more than the total time required when taking exams for the relevant qualification
the assessments should help students prepare for the summer exams
students should not be given the opportunity to repeat an assessment

The same reasonable adjustments that will be made for disabled students taking exams in the summer should, where possible, be made for assessments taken during the year that could be used to inform TAGs. If it is only identified after an assessment that a student needs a reasonable adjustment, a teacher should allow the student to take a different, but equivalent, assessment with the reasonable adjustment in place. If it is not possible to arrange for a student to sit another assessment, the centre should take into account should they have to determine a TAG that the reasonable adjustment was not in place for the assessment.

A student should tell teachers before, or immediately after, the assessment about any illness, injury or other event that could not be prevented, that might have affected their performance in an assessment. If a teacher is satisfied that a student’s performance in an assessment was affected by an event outside their control at the time of, or immediately before, the assessment, the teacher should adjust their marking of the assessment.

Teachers shouldn’t adjust their marking because a student’s learning had been disrupted by the pandemic.

Teachers are not being asked to develop TAGs, and guidance on how to do so would only be published should exams not be able to go ahead as planned.

Schools and colleges were asked to collect evidence of their students’ performance that covers the breadth of content usually seen in the exams and the qualification’s assessment objectives. The guidance on this has always been clear that once schools and colleges have this evidence, they are not obliged to collect any more.

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