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We will switch schools to the portfolio of evidence approach when it is clear that exams cannot go ahead due to the pandemic, or other exceptional circumstances such as war or natural disaster. We will judge this on a variety of criteria, including:
We work closely with our regional teams to understand the needs of our different localities you should contact your regional representative in the first instance. They will be gathering information at a local level to inform our decision making and keeping us informed about local situations.
If we switch you to portfolio of evidence, we will email you to confirm our decision, and we will notify all affected schools in that area.
We understand that some parents may be concerned about the health, safety or welfare of their child and their wider family.
However, if the school is open and able to run exams, we expect all students to sit these exams. We are not able to switch some students to the portfolio of evidence and not others – we have to treat all candidates within a syllabus the same.
We have produced additional guidance to support you in running exams.
If we decide to move your school to the portfolio of evidence route, your exams officer will receive an email from us confirming the switch. You must continue to make entries as normal until we move your entries to the portfolio of evidence route. Until then your entries may appear as normal on Direct. Once we move your entries to the portfolio of evidence route, you will see the new entry option on Direct. We will not be issuing updates statements of entry following this change.
If your candidate has covered the whole course and completed a minimum of 15 per cent of the total assessment by component weighting, we will be able to calculate an assessed grade for that syllabus based on the component sat. In this case they will not need to be switched to the portfolio of evidence route for that syllabus. However, it is possible that you could be switched to the portfolio of evidence for a syllabus for which candidates have not yet taken any exams.
The latest date for switching schools to the portfolio of evidence route is 21 September 2023.
Before moving any centre to portfolio of evidence, we will carefully consider all other options to help candidates sit their exams. We know that exams are the best and fairest way of assessing what a candidate knows and can do. Portfolio of evidence is a contingency, and we will only move centres to it as a last resort, and where we are confident we can deliver results on time.
You will not be able to switch back to running exams if we move you to the portfolio of evidence route. This is why we will switch schools only as a last resort, when it is clear that exams will not be able to go ahead.
Switching back to exams would require a significant amount of operational work which we cannot guarantee to complete in the time available to us. You would also have to re-start exam administration that may have been abandoned with the move to portfolio of evidence. Expecting both us and you to deliver everything required extremely quickly introduces many risks to the delivery of exams which could mean students do not receive grades.
In addition, we appreciate that the uncertainty around exams can be stressful for students and their families. In making the move to portfolio of evidence ‘one way’ for a particular exam series, students will then have certainty about how they will be assessed and will know that this will not change.
If your school is in a country or region that we have switched to the portfolio of evidence route, you no longer need to:
However, there are some tasks you still need to carry out:
If you are following the portfolio of evidence route and your candidates will not be sitting exams, you must still follow the regulations in sections 4.3 and 4.4 of the Cambridge Handbook for receiving and storing confidential exam materials. If you receive any confidential exam materials from us, you must not open the materials and you must keep them in your secure storage until 24 hours after the Key Time for the exam.
For any exams where you would normally download confidential materials from Digital File Despatch or the School Support Hub, you may still receive an email from us at the Key Time for a particular exam. If you are not running exams then you must not download or print any materials, such as ICT source files. If you or anyone else in your centre mistakenly downloads or prints confidential materials that you do not need because you are not running exams, you must follow the regulations in sections 4.3.1 and 4.4 of the Cambridge Handbook.
As students’ work will have been marked by Cambridge examiners, there will be opportunity to challenge results through an enquiry about results service, and we will publish more information about this soon.
We cannot give feedback to schools about the pieces of evidence to include in the portfolio. The evidence included is at your discretion. There is no requirement for the three pieces of evidence to be a direct match to the exam components in the syllabus. You can choose any three pieces of work which meet the criteria in our guidance, and which give broad coverage of the syllabus content and assessment objectives.
Our ‘Collecting a portfolio of evidence’ guidance includes examples of some problems with the choice of evidence that we have seen in previous series.
No, we do not consider this as part of the marking process.
If we have moved your centre to the portfolio of evidence route, some of the usual aspects of special consideration do not apply. The most significant difference is that we cannot generate a calculated assessment for a missing piece of evidence. This is because the portfolio of evidence entry is a single component with 100% weighting. There are no other components upon which to base a calculation, and so ’absent for an acceptable reason’ is not available for the portfolio of evidence route. If a candidate is absent when a piece of evidence is being generated, or the evidence goes missing, gets damaged or corrupted, or there is otherwise a shortfall in a piece of evidence, then you should replace it. If this is not possible then you should withdraw the candidate.
If a candidate is affected by adverse circumstances while producing one or more of their pieces of evidence, you must try to replace that evidence. If this is not possible you can apply for ‘present but disadvantaged’ in the usual way.
You must use our ‘Portfolio of evidence regulations supplement: Special consideration and malpractice (PDF, 377KB)’ together with the Cambridge Handbook 2023 if you are moved to the portfolio of evidence route.
You cannot use confidential material to produce evidence for the portfolio. It is live exam material and can only be used by schools sitting exams.
You should have a delegated Submit for Assessment administrator in your centre, this may be your Exams Officer or it could be someone else. This person can manage accounts for other colleagues at your centre and set up accounts for them. Teachers should have an account set up with the ‘Submit Teacher’ role.