Pearson update on IGCSE Exams

It appears that exam centres will have choices about how they proceed with IGCSE grading. They will be able to provide unseen test materials that will very similar to exam papers which for students who have been preparing for IGCSE’s expecting a final exam is good news. Whether each exam centre will offer this option is up to them to decide. It will suit those who do not have reams of evidence and don’t have a teacher to submit a grade. I am wondering if students will need to go to their exam centre to sit these tests as they would under normal circumstances. Here is an update from Pearson.


Pearson update on IGCSE Exam Unseen Test

Unseen test materials for International GCSE and International AS/AS Level

One of the forms of evidence that will be made available is the optional use of unseen test materials. We will send unseen test materials to all centres – teachers and students will be familiar with the style of the materials as they will look like question papers used in a normal exam series. The materials will need to be kept securely, until a specified date, and we’ll provide details of what you’ll need to do in due course – it will be very similar to how you typically deal with exam materials.

These test materials can then be used in two ways; firstly, as unseen materials presented to students in a controlled situation, in a specified timeframe, for them to respond to; or secondly, after the specified timeframe, in the knowledge that they may be familiar to students, used as one part of the evidence that supports the teacher grade – we’ll provide more detail on each of these options in the coming weeks.

To support the use of these unseen materials we’ll be offering an optional marking service where our expert examiners will mark your student responses. We’ll mark the test materials and return a mark to you for your consideration when deriving the student grade. We’ll provide you with support to understand how the mark aligns with performance descriptors so that you can be confident in your understanding of the mark. This will be an optional service and, if you’d prefer to mark the materials yourself, we’ll be providing mark schemes and training materials so that you can do so with confidence.

The approach for this series will be underpinned by a quality assurance process that focuses on helping you to make judgements, based on evidence, that are objective and consistent. There will be several different stages, and we’ll provide an update as soon as we can, but we’re committed to ensuring that it’s supportive and not overly burdensome.

Private Candidates

The DfE is currently exploring ways to make sure there are affordable opportunities for private candidates to work with centres, and to encourage centres to work with private candidates. Once the DfE has completed its review, we will be working with other awarding organisations to provide a list of centres offering to support private candidates through the assessment process, including details of the subjects they can offer. We expect this list to be available before the end of March.

We can assure private candidates that they will not need to pay higher entry fees if, as a result of this, they need to make their entry after the extended entry deadline.

We will also be providing further information for centres on how best to support private candidates, including guidance on the selection of assessment evidence. This will be available at the end of March.

Approach for International GCSE and International AS/A Level (May/June 2021 series)

To ensure fairness for all students around the world, we want to ensure parity with our UK qualifications and so will align the evidence-based approach for international qualifications with the approach for UK qualifications, as far as it is sensible to do so.

We also recognise that there are a range of circumstances faced by international schools and we’re committed to providing assessment materials, services, support and guidance to ensure that you can proceed with confidence.

Student grades will be derived by teachers and centres, with support throughout from Pearson. With our support, it will be possible to use a variety of evidence to inform the grade that will be submitted to Pearson.

We want to ensure that you have access to assessment materials that will enable objective and fair judgements to be made about student performance; we’ve also heard from you that you want us to support you in translating evidence-based judgements into grades.

Pearson Source: