2022 non-exam assessment and fieldwork requirements consultation

Ofqual has today (14 May) published a consultation on arrangements for non-exam assessment (NEA) in certain subjects and fieldwork requirements for students entering qualifications in 2022.

Last year, following a public consultation, we changed the non-exam assessment and fieldwork requirements for some GCSEs, AS and A levels to address obstacles caused by the pandemic. The changes were for students due to be awarded qualifications in the current academic year only. We are now seeking views on the extent to which these arrangements for certain subjects should be carried forward for students due to sit exams in summer 2022.

This consultation focuses on the subjects for which preparation and work for non-exam assessment and fieldwork activities will be taking place this term for students who will be taking their exams in 2022. It covers

  • non-exam assessments in dance, design and technology, drama (and theatre), film studies, food preparation and nutrition, media studies, music, music technology, and physical education

  • fieldwork activities in geography, geology and environmental science

  • assessment of speaking skills in GCSE modern foreign language (MFL) qualifications

  • assessment of spoken language in GCSE English language

We are seeking views on our proposal that we largely carry forward to the next academic year the flexibilities and adaptations we put in place in these subjects. This consultation specifically focuses on subjects where preparation and work for non-exam assessment and fieldwork activities is taking place this term for students who will be taking their exams in 2022.

However, we recognise there are other activities about which students, teachers and exam boards might have questions. We hope that, with further lifting of public health restrictions, it will be possible for students to complete work in other subjects as usual during the next academic year. We are keeping this under review and will provide more information about, and where necessary consult on, further arrangements for 2022 in due course.

In GCSE ancient history, history and English literature, the government agreed that, for 2021 only, students would be assessed on less content than usual. Content coverage (curriculum) is the responsibility of the DfE. Arrangements in these subjects will be considered as part of the wider policy decisions for the 2022 exams.

We have recently confirmed that there will be an autumn exam series in 2021. Except for art and design qualifications, grades will be determined by students’ performance in the exams only – there will be no non-exam assessments.

The exams will be in their normal format, with no advanced notice or exam aids, but will assess students on the same content as had been planned for exams in summer 2021. So, for example, in GCSE English literature, history and ancient history, students will answer questions on a reduced number of topics.

In GCSE and AS geography students will not have to answer questions in the exam about their own fieldwork experience, and GCSE MFL students will have a speaking endorsement rather than a speaking test.

Anyone wishing to respond to our consultation on 2022 non-exam assessment and fieldwork requirements can fill out a short survey accessible from the consultation page, which is open until 11:45pm on Friday 28 May.

For vocational and technical qualifications, and other general qualifications, in relation to internal assessment, adaptations will continue to be in place which respond to social distancing. While we expect that assessment in the coming year will largely reflect a return to normality, other types of adaptation to respond to the impacts of the pandemic are under consideration, and more information will follow soon.

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