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Latest information and updates from Ofqual - secondary

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For up-to-date information on the cancellation of the summer 2020 exams in light of the Covid-19 outbreak, please click here​. 

The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) regulates qualifications, examinations and assessments in England. It maintains standards and confidence in GCSEs, A levels, AS levels, and vocational and technical qualifications. It is independent of government and reports directly to parliament.

NAHT meets with Ofqual regularly, both on an individual basis and with other school leaders' and teaching associations.

Latest Ofqual information

New key stage four (KS4) performance table qualifications approval process for technical and vocational qualifications delayed

The DfE has decided to delay the implementation of the new KS4 performance tables qualifications approvals process for technical and vocational qualifications, seeking approval under 'technical awards' in performance tables. The new process will now apply for qualifications to be included in the 2024 KS4 performance tables (for qualifications being taught from September 2022). In the intervening period, the DfE is temporarily reinstating the performance tables moratorium for technical awards.  This means that the list of qualifications approved for inclusion in the 2022 KS4 performance tables will be carried forward and approved for inclusion in the 2023 KS4 performance tables.

New Ofqual guidance for exam disruption and other resources to help a smooth and successful exam series 

Ofqual has written to all schools and colleges ahead of the 2020 exam series. The letter includes information about exam package security, timetable clashes and exam paper leaks. It includes a link to specific resources to help students and parents understand the importance of complying with the rules on phones and smartwatches. Here, you can find helpful video resources to use with students and parents. The letter also sets out where schools and colleges can find information on how to deal with serious disruption.

New publications from Ofqual on assessment-related anxiety

Ofqual has recently published new resources and a literature review on assessment-related anxiety (see their recent blog).

These resources are aimed at students, parents, schools and colleges and are designed to help with the management of exam and assessment stress and anxiety. This includes a guide for students on coping with exam pressure and a number of helpful blogs with practical tips from teachers and researchers.

The literature review also pulls together statistics and academic literature relating to the causes, symptoms and effects of assessment-related anxiety.

Ofqual has published their annual qualifications market report

This provides information on the number and types of qualifications available for award in England over the academic year 2018/19 and the number of certificates awarded by recognised awarding organisations.

Alongside this, they have published an app which provides an interactive visualisation of the current landscape of qualifications regulated by Ofqual.

Ofqual writes to all schools to highlight guidance on tiered entries for GCSEs

Ofqual has written to all schools to remind them of their guidance on appropriate tiered entries for GCSEs. The letters confirm arrangements for awarding higher tier GCSEs in combined science and modern foreign languages (MFL).

Inter-subject comparability in GCSE modern foreign languages 

Ofqual has published its report into inter-subject comparability in GCSE modern foreign languages. Following a thorough review of the evidence, Ofqual has judged that there is a sufficiently strong case to make an adjustment to grading standards in French and German, but not Spanish. 

Ofqual will not require exam boards to retrospectively regrade students that took these subjects in earlier years.

Qualification Price Index report

Ofqual has published its first Qualification Price Index (QPI) report, analysing the changes in pricing of regulated qualifications in England between 2017 and 2019. The report aims to help everyone in the qualifications system, including schools, colleges and awarding organisations, to make informed decisions about qualifications. 

This year's report shows overall price increases of 4.5% in 2019, with vocational and technical qualifications increasing on average by 3.3% and general qualifications rising by 5.6%. View the Qualifications Price Index 2019.

Ofqual’s guide to A level results for England, 2019

Ofqual has released a guide to results, standards and grade boundaries for the 2019 A level results in England. This includes the: 

Regulating GCSEs, AS and A levels: a guide for schools and colleges

Ofqual has updated its regulation guide for schools and colleges. This includes a new section on moderation. 

Ofqual confirms revisions to performance rules for music and dance GCSE, AS and A levels for 2019 onwards

Ofqual has confirmed that performance rules for GCSEs, AS and A levels in music and dance are being revised. 

These changes will come into effect immediately, meaning the new expectations will apply to this summer’s exams. You can access the full details here

Ofqual confirms its long-term plan for GCSE computer science assessments

Ofqual has confirmed its decision on the long-term assessment arrangements for GCSE computer science. These will replace the interim assessment arrangements implemented for the qualification in January 2018, in response to evidence of malpractice in the conduct of non-exam assessment (NEA). A summary of its decision and a link to its full consultation response is available here

Supporting exams officers 

Ofqual has launched support and resources to support exams officers. We would encourage heads of centre to utilise the resources, as they provide useful information to support understanding of the work of exams officers. You can access the resources here.

National reference test

Developed by NFER, the national reference test will provide information on changes in performance standards over time. Ofqual has created a useful overview of the test, which includes example questions as well as an infographic that briefly outlines how the NRT works. See more information here.

Exam matters

Ofqual produces newsletters that summarise its work in general qualifications and vocational qualifications. You can subscribe to the newsletter here.

Read the full newsletter.

Ofqual's blogs

Ofqual produces regular blogs that provide more detailed information on some of the current key topics. 

Latest research and data from Ofqual

Find summaries of the latest research and data from Ofqual here

View the latest primary information and updates from Ofqual here.
Last updated 09 April 2020