Proposed changes to 2022 GCSE and A levels include:
• Teachers to be told to streamline syllabus next term
• Pupils to be told what exam questions will come up
• Proposals apply to vast majority of A levels and GCSEs
• Students to be given guidance to “focus their revision”
• Exam aids could be provided including a formula sheet for maths GCSE and an expanded equations sheet in GCSE physics and combined science
• Practicals for science GCSE and A levels to be dropped
The Department for Education (DfE) and the exams regulator Ofqual have now published proposals for changes to next year’s GCSE and A level exams due to “considerable disruption”.
In a new official consultation, the government have said that exams are the best and fairest form of assessment but there will be changes to next summer's exams to try and level the playing field.
According to plans, pupils will also be able to choose which questions to answer in certain GCSE subjects and not need to learn the full suite of exam questions for GCSEs in history, ancient history, English literature and geography.
For GCSE geography, for example, pupils would only need to revise two out of the three core topics in order to “free up teaching time” and “reduce pressure”.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said summer 2022 examinations needed to “take into account the disruption young people have faced over the past 18 months”.
Exams will always be the fairest way to assess students, which is why they will take place next year, but it’s right that next summer’s arrangements take into account the disruption young people have faced over the past 18 months.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson
Under the plans, students will be allowed to bring a formula sheet with them to maths GCSE and an expanded equation sheet to physics and combined science exams.
Schools will be informed of the final decision on changes before the start of the academic year to help plan teaching from September.
The proposed changes follow two years of exams being cancelled and replaced by teacher assessed grades or TAGs.
This is the second wave of changes to summer 2022 assessments. Geography field trips have already been removed from summer 2022 exams and students taking modern foreign languages will be have reduced vocabulary lists.
While changes to assements may be inevitable due to ongoing disruption to lessons, there are already concerns that pupils leaving school without doing any formal exams will be looked down on by employers. Some experts have suggested that these pupils will be branded as having lo-fi pandemic grades.