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This week, we are sharing updated guidance to help schools running exams and using school-assessed grades for the November 2021 series.
You can also find new information about our June and November 2022 exam series, including:
For most of our schools around the world, our November 2021 series exams will begin soon. A small number of countries and regions within countries will use school-assessed grades.
If your country or region is using school-assessed grades, you will have received a direct communication from us. The decision to move to school-assessed grades is taken when directives from local government mean that exams cannot take place. Schools do not make the decision to move to school-assessed grades themselves.
We would like to remind schools that the 72-hour question paper security rule remains in place for the November 2021 series. All unused question papers and answer booklets must be stored securely until at least 72 hours after the Key Time for the exam. After this you can dispose of any unused question papers or share them with candidates and centre staff. This security rule applies to all schools, including those on the using school-assessed grades route who may have also received some or all of their question papers.
We have published guidance about running exams. Please make sure you use this, as well as the Cambridge Handbook, to help you manage exams in your school.
If you have made final entries in the November 2021 series and have approved component exemptions (also known as Covid-19 exemptions), you will need to tell us which candidates you would like to exempt from which components. You can submit these details via the 'Covid-19 Exemptions' area on Cambridge International Direct from 27 September until 10 October 2021 (at 23:59 UTC+1). Support and guidance to help you do this will be available on the component exemptions pages of our website from 27 September.
Please note, the deadline for making entries and submitting your initial application for component exemptions has now passed.
You can withdraw some or all of your candidates until 25 November 2021 (at 23:59 UTC) and receive a full credit. Please contact us by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) so we can arrange the withdrawal and credit for you. You will not be charged a withdrawal fee.
The Covid-19 pandemic continues to disrupt education worldwide. In June and November 2021, we offered two approaches: exams, and school-assessed grades for schools unable to run exams.
For the June and November 2022 series, we will continue to run exams where it is safe and permitted to do so. We share the view of our schools that exams remain the fairest and most reliable way to assess students’ achievement. We will help schools manage the impact of the pandemic on running exams by providing:
In July, we sent a survey to all Cambridge schools to learn about your experiences of the June 2021 exam series, and get your feedback on a new proposal for June and November 2022 for situations where exams cannot take place. In this proposal – provisionally titled ‘portfolio of evidence’ – schools gather evidence, and Cambridge marks the work and decides the grade. We had an excellent response to the survey - 1,078 schools from 96 different countries responded – and we’re very grateful to everyone who took time to share their views.
The key finding is that schools strongly support our proposal for June and November 2022 as a successor to the school-assessed grade approach we have used this year. A clear majority of schools believe the work for them will be manageable, and are in favour of Cambridge International marking the work as part of ensuring results are fair and consistent.
NEW: Building on the feedback from schools, we have decided that in countries, and regions within countries, where directives from national or local authorities mean exams cannot take place, we will use the following approach for June and November 2022*:
* for Cambridge Pre-U in June 2022 we await confirmation of this ‘portfolio of evidence’ as our contingency within DfE and Ofqual’s policy and regulatory framework for England, which are still under consultation and not yet finalised.
Schools have told us that while they can gather student portfolios, they would like as much advance notice as possible about what evidence to include. Many schools set work as part of students’ learning that could make up a portfolio of evidence. We want to support schools who wish to start preparing as soon possible.
Given the uncertainty that still surrounds the pandemic, we recommend that schools have a portfolio in place for their students, in electronic form, by the start of the exam series.
NEW: We can confirm that the types of work we will want to see in the ‘portfolio of evidence for June and November 2022 will be very similar to the types of work used in setting school-assessed grades. The work included can be:
** The exceptions to the ‘hour or more’ rule made for school-assessed grades would also apply - for example, complete past papers set by us that are less than an hour in duration, and speaking tests.
We will update schools next month about when we will publish more detailed guidance about producing and submitting student portfolios.
We will align the standard of our qualifications to the standard of similar qualifications in England. It remains critical that universities understand, trust and recognise qualifications used by students who apply for places, and that Cambridge students can compete on an equal basis with students gaining similar qualifications offered in England. We are talking to schools and universities, and monitoring the approach of organisations responsible for standards of similar qualifications, including organisations in the UK such as the government body Ofqual, who are currently assessing different options.
We will update schools again on this in October.
View our latest updates on our Covid-19 information pages.
If you have any questions, you can review our frequently asked questions or contact us via the Help website.
For British Council Partner Schools or Cambridge Associate schools, please contact your local British Council representative or Cambridge Associate.