An update on 2022 exams in Wales this year
5th Jan 2021: At present, all exams planned to take place this year are set to go ahead.
Any decision to cancel exams would be made by Welsh Government.
Last November, Qualifications Wales shared information with schools and colleges about contingency plans telling them how to award Centre Determined Grades should they be needed.
Schools and colleges award Centre Determined Grades by assessing learners’ work.
Welsh Government has asked all schools in Wales to have two planning days at the start of the term. This includes time to allow secondary school and college leaders to plan for learners to sit their January exams safely.
If learners are unable to sit any GCSE, AS or A level exams due to take place this month because they are ill or need to self-isolate, they will be able to take them in the summer instead.
Vocational qualifications are more diverse in the way that they are assessed. Awarding bodies have already communicated adaptations they have made to their qualifications to schools and colleges. If exams are cancelled, vocational qualifications similar to GCSE, AS and A level would be awarded using Centre Determined Grades (Teacher Assessed Grades). Awarding bodies will provide further guidance for schools and colleges if exams are cancelled. Ofqual has also published guidance on vocational qualifications for this academic year, with useful information for schools, colleges and learners.
Qualifications Wales writes to learners to inform them about plans for exams and assessments 2022
19th Oct 2021: We hope you are enjoying the start to the new academic year even though there are still many challenges, and you are still being affected by the impact of the pandemic.
We want to let you know about the plans in place for the qualifications you are studying for this year.
Summer 2022 – GCSEs, AS and A levels, and the Skills Challenge Certificate qualifications
We wrote to you in March telling you that the summer 2022 GCSEs, AS and A level qualifications will be assessed by exams and non-examination assessment (NEA), for qualifications that have NEA.
As you may know, WJEC have made changes to the qualifications for summer 2022 following a short consultation with schools, colleges, learners and parents earlier this summer. There is information about these changes available on WJEC’s website.
These changes are in place because of the disruption to your learning caused by the pandemic (in the previous year and during this academic year). They are different in each qualification and will help you to focus your time when it comes to preparing for your exams next summer.
How will GCSEs, AS and A levels, and the Skills Challenge Certificate qualifications be graded in summer 2022?
Once your exams and NEA tasks have been marked, WJEC will award your grades.
We want the grading process to be as fair as possible to all learners and to reflect the disruption to teaching and learning that you have experienced over the last two years and may experience this year.
For summer 2022, the approach in Wales will be the same as other parts of the UK so that all learners are treated the same. This means that in summer 2022 results will reflect broadly a midway point between the results in 2021 and 2019. In 2023 we will aim to return to results that are in line with those in pre-pandemic years.
We feel this is the best balance between the needs of learners sitting qualifications in 2022 and fairness to learners who sat qualifications before the pandemic and who will sit qualifications in the future. It is also important that you have qualifications that are of equal value to those taken by learners from other parts of the UK so that you can move on to college, employment or university.
What happens if exams cannot go ahead in summer 2022?
We expect exams to take place as planned and that they will only be cancelled in exceptional circumstances. But, if the exam series is cancelled, then a contingency approach (a backup plan) will be needed. Your school or college will then be asked to award your grades based on your work in assessments across the qualification.
The process will be like the one that was used in summer 2021. Your school or college will tell you what assessments they might use. We will be issuing further guidance to your school or college in November to help them do this.
What is happening with vocational qualifications?
Changes are in place for the assessment of vocational qualifications in 2021/22. Your school or college will know what changes are in place for the qualifications you are studying. If your vocational qualification is assessed by exam, these will go ahead as planned in 2021/22. As for GCSE, AS and A level qualifications, if the exam series is cancelled, contingency arrangements (a backup plan) will be put in place.
Is the Winter series 2021/22 going ahead?
The 2021 November series for GCSEs in English Language, Mathematics, Mathematics-Numeracy and Welsh Language will be taking place with the same adaptations. The adaptations will also apply to GCSE English Literature and Welsh Literature units, and to Skills Challenge Certificate components available in January 2022.
Communications for you
We know you and other learners may have concerns with the return to exams and we are planning a range of communications to support you in the coming months. We have recently updated our website to try to make it easier for you to get information.
We will send information to you via your school or college in the coming weeks.