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We know that our centres are facing different challenges in managing teaching, learning and assessment for our exams in our 2021 exam series. Our priority is delivering exams safely and fairly, allowing learners to progress.
We plan for exams to go ahead in June 2021 where it is permitted and safe. We know this is the fairest and most accurate way of assessing candidates’ performance.
For the small number of countries and regions within countries where directives from national or local authorities make it impossible for exams go ahead, we will switch from exams to a teacher assessment approach using student work.
We have developed a package of measures to support schools as they prepare for examinations in 2021. We gave an overview of these measures in December and the diagram below illustrates the options available to schools and their learners.
Routes to grades in the June 2021 exam series (PDF, 90KB)
In summary, we are offering a range of adjustments to allow students to take components of our exams in a way that is easier to manage, and exemptions which mean the student does not take that component.
There is more information about adjustments, exemptions and the use of special consideration on our March 2021 and June 2021 pages.
All the information we have provided about the June 2020 series is still available, as is our guidance factsheet on holding exams in the November 2020 series (PDF, 198KB).
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You can find the latest information in our FAQs. For more information visit our help page below.
Yes, absolutely. We have used our assessed grade method for many years to award grades where a student misses a component for an acceptable reason. The method is a tried and tested alternative which we believe to be fair.
It uses data from students' performance all over the world to accurately predict the likely outcome of the missed paper, based on the student’s performance in other papers in the same syllabus. We are confident that it provides a credible and valid grade. This allows them to go on to the next stage of their education seamlessly.
The process is understood by colleges and universities and they award places based on assessed grades every year, considering them equal to equivalent grades where every exam was taken.
Yes. Our exemptions calculation process uses data from students' performance all over the world to accurately predict the likely outcome of the missed paper, based on the student’s performance in other papers in the same syllabus. We are confident that it provides a credible and valid grade. We have used the process for many years where students miss an exam for a good reason, and all grades are available to students whose result is calculated by this process.
No. In a region or country where we introduce a teacher assessment approach using student work, all schools in that country or region must take the teacher assessment approach. Where directives from relevant authorities make it possible for exams to go ahead, we will only offer exams, because we know they are the fairest way to assess students. We anticipate that the directives from national or local authorities that make it impossible to run exams will affect all schools in that country or region.
We are very aware that the situation worldwide is continuously changing. We have confirmed that for a very small number of countries and regions within countries where directives from national and local authorities mean exams cannot go ahead, we will switch from exams to a teacher assessment approach using student work. We will share an outline of our approach with schools and information about next steps next week.
In setting exam standards, we take very seriously our responsibility to make sure students are assessed fairly and can progress with their education. Exams offer consistent, reliable and fair measurement of attainment, and we have highly effective processes for managing standards in the grades from exams. We will manage standards in 2021 with the aim of ensuring that grades are comparable whichever route a student takes.
We continue to work with universities, so they understand our approach for 2021 and can make informed admission and credit decisions. Universities will evaluate applications fairly from all students whether their work is assessed by exams or by teacher assessment. Universities are aware that they need to provide students with reassurance about this.
As we receive information from universities, we will post it on our recognition webpage.
In a region or country taking the teacher assessment approach using student work, private candidates will be eligible to enter for teacher assessed route to grades through a registered centre. We are talking to schools and school groups to see what else we can do to support private candidates.
We continue to plan to offer Cambridge Checkpoint tests for our May 2021 series where it is safe and permitted to do so.
Following feedback from our schools, we understand that some are facing a situation where they have found it difficult to finish their syllabuses to the depth required to successfully sit their exams. We can confirm that in Section A of Paper 1, it is still the case that the four twentieth-century core questions (always questions 5-8) will be split 2/2 on the inter-war/post-war Key Questions. In any given exam series, no question is set on Paper 1 which is on the same topics tested in Paper 2. In the past this information was contained in the syllabus documents and we will address this as necessary when we redevelop the syllabus for future series.
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