What exam options are Ofqual exploring for pupils?

2020-10-27

Pupils could be given additional options in exams next year in a bid to make them as fair as possible, according to Ofqual’s interim chief.


The exam regulator’s interim chief regulator, Dame Glenys Stacey, told BBC Radio 4 that “greater optionality” is being considered, which may include formula sheets for science subjects and multiple choice questions.


Although Ofqual has said that further exam changes are unlikely as part of efforts to provide greater certainty to pupils, her comments suggest a determination to ensure all aspects of the curriculum are covered.


“Our challenge is to find ways we can make examinations as fair as possible for students without narrowing the curriculum,” Dame Glenys said.


She added that Ofqual is keen to “encourage students to study the whole of the syllabus because they could miss out on learning” which “could come back to bite them” at a later stage in their education.


In a bid to make exams as “approachable as possible”, providing “greater optionality” could be one solution, although the interim chief regular added that different approaches would probably be required for different subjects.


“There’s no one answer,” she said, with multiple choice, for example, it’s only likely to be applicable for certain topics and subjects.


Dame Glenys added that “comprehensive advice” will be provided to the government in the coming weeks and that additional work to look at contingency plans is underway.


The government has confirmed that the majority of exams for 2021 will be delayed by three weeks as part of efforts to give pupils more time to prepare.


However, one exam for GCSE maths and one for English will take place before the May half term, as well as some A-level exams that do not have many entrants.


All other exams are not expected to get underway until 7th June 2021.


The move also means that GCSE and A-level results will be revealed in the same week in 2021, with A-level results day on 24th August, and GCSE results day three days later.


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