Ofqual confirms changes to music and dance exams

A shake-up to the way performances are marked in music and dance GCSEs and A-levels has been announced by Ofqual.

The exams regulator said today that it will proceed with planned changes to allow exam boards to determine how to mark a performance when it falls short of the minimum required length and broaden the range of acceptable reference material beyond a traditional score or lead sheet.

Revisions to requirements on the number of dances pupils must perform at GCSE level will also go ahead.

At the moment, the rules state that only performances of a “stated minimum duration” will be accepted. It means pupils who don’t perform for a certain amount of time get no marks at all for their performance.

Under the new policy, pupils who do not meet the minimum required length will still be penalised, but will still receive some marks.

Current rules for GCSE dance were found last year to be “unintentionally slightly inconsistent” with new DfE subject content, in that they require pupils to perform one single dance. Ofqual is changing its rules to require pupils to perform “one or more dances”.

Finally, the rules on reference material will be changed to introduce “flexibility” for exam boards, after Ofqual found that the current rules are interpreted differently by different boards.

This flexibility is needed “as not all styles or genres of music use written scores or lead sheets”, the exams regulator said.

Under the new rules, where a written score or lead sheet does not exist, “other means of referencing the performance intentions can be permitted”.