Ofqual reveals how exams in 2023 will look

Coursework and subject content to return to pre-pandemic standards

Coursework and subject content to return to pre-pandemic standards

Exam adaptions allowing schools to choose which topics to teach in some GCSEs will be scrapped next year, although spacing out exams again to limit potential disruption will be considered.

The government has also not ruled allowing exam aids and advance information in next year’s exams, pledging to “monitor the path and impact of the pandemic” before deciding.

However an update published today stated government wants “to return to the carefully designed and well-established pre-pandemic assessment arrangements as quickly as possible, given they are the best and fairest way of assessing what students know and can do”.

A series of adaptions were made to exams this year – the first to be sat since 2019 – to recognise the disruption caused by Covid.

This summer, there is at least a 10-day gap between exams in the same subject to reduce the risk of students missing all exams in a subject due to the pandemic.

Ofqual said today it will ask boards to look “carefully at the design” of the exam timetable for next year “to see if increase spacing between subjects” should “be retained”.

Government has also confirmed that students will not get a choice of topics or content in GCSE English literature, history and ancient history or geography.

Ofqual boss Jo Saxton

Ofqual confirmed that previous adjustments to coursework, field work and practical science will be lifted for next year.

This year, these changes included lifting the mandatory number of days for geography fieldwork and relaxing group work requirements for performing arts qualifications.

The regulator has previously said this summer will act as a “transition” year – with grade boundaries set at a midway point between last year and pre-Covid 2019. The number of top results awarded last year under teacher assessed grades soared.

But Ofqual has said it aims to “return to results that are in line with those in pre-pandemic years” next year.

The regulator said today it will “consider the approach to grading for 2023 in light of outcomes in 2022”.

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