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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.
We are also sharing new information about our approach for June and November 2022 exam series:
For many of our schools around the world, our November 2021 series exams have already begun. 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 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 until 10 October 2021 (at 23:59 UTC+1). Please read our guide for more information.
You can find all the guidance we have published to help you prepare for school-assessed grades on our website, along with answers to frequently asked questions about school-assessed grades.
You can also watch a recording of our recent Exams Officer training on using school-assessed grades in November 2021.
Our document Collecting and using evidence to decide school-assessed grades (November 2021) explains the process we are asking you to follow. This is mostly the same as for June 2021, but we have updated our guidance to make it as clear as possible, and so everything is easily accessible in one place. Where we have added new guidance for November 2021, this is highlighted clearly in the document.
Our Grade Submission System is the online portal you will use to submit your candidates’ school-assessed grades for the November 2021 series. This is a separate system to Cambridge International Direct, and uses different login details. We used this system for the June 2021 series.
From 11 October, Exams Officers can log in to add or change teacher or Head of Centre accounts in the system. You will then be able to submit grades from 18 October to 18 November.
You can find all the important dates and deadlines for the school-assessed route on our website. We hope this helps you keep track of what you need to do and when.
We have published new guidance to help you use the Grade Submission System. This includes step-by-step online guides that cover each stage of the submission process in detail:
We have also published frequently asked questions about using the Grade Submission System, and we will add to these regularly.
As we stated last week, we will align the standard of our qualifications to the standard of similar qualifications in England. Ofqual, the regulator for exams used by schools in England, has now announced its approach for 2022. We can confirm that our approach for Cambridge International qualifications is very similar: we will aim for our exam standard to return to the pre-pandemic standard in June 2023. For June 2022, November 2022 and March 2023, we will set standards at a midpoint between 2019 and 2021.
This will mean that the grades we award in 2022 are generous compared to 2019, and less generous than 2021. Our approach also means universities will continue to trust and recognise qualifications used by students who apply for places, and that students with Cambridge International qualifications can continue to compete on an equal basis with students gaining similar qualifications offered in England.
Last week, we outlined our approach for countries and regions within countries where exams cannot take place. We recommend that schools gather a portfolio of assessment in electronic form by the start of the exam series.
We have received some queries already about the portfolio of evidence route:
Can schools include work in the portfolio that they have already marked and / or graded - for example, mock exams or coursework?
We appreciate that schools will want to include work in their portfolio which has already been completed and marked in school, for example mock exams, or coursework which has been prepared and marked ready for submission to us before a school has moved to a portfolio of evidence route. We would prefer to receive work that does not have marks on it, as Assessment Specialists will not be using any of the marks (or grades) awarded by the centre in their own marking. However, we can accept work that has already been teacher-marked (for example, has ticks or marks on a piece of work) if this is the evidence that is available to you.
Why are multiple choice papers not permitted in the Portfolio of Evidence?
We allowed centres to use multiple choice answer papers as pieces of candidate work when determining school-assessed grades in June 2021. These were then submitted to us as evidence of student achievement as part of our Quality Assurance process, which checked whether the school-assessed grade reflected the level of the student’s achievement. On reviewing our approach, we saw that it was difficult for our Assessment Specialists to make a holistic judgement about a student's performance and the level of a student's understanding and skills using their responses to a multiple-choice answer paper. In future, therefore, when our Assessment Specialists mark and make judgements about three pieces of students’ work submitted in the Portfolio of Evidence, we will not accept multiple choice papers as a piece of work because Assessment Specialists will not be able to make good holistic judgements based on this type of evidence.
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.