Changes to 2021 exams for A-level Geography

Tuesday 15 Sep 2020

We’ve been working hard to make the relevant changes to our qualifications following Ofqual’s decisions on summer 2021 exams, so here are the changes you need to know about.

A-level Geography (7037)

As you may know, on 3 August, Ofqual published their consultation outcomes, which stated the following with regards to the 2021 series of A-level Geography:
Remove requirement for written statement that centres have given students the opportunity to undertake 4 days of fieldwork. Exam boards to review their guidance about their expectations relating to primary data for the non-exam assessment.

For summer 2021 only:

  • students won’t need to complete four days of fieldwork
  • teachers and exams officers won’t need to submit a centre declaration form to say that students have been given the opportunity to undertake fieldwork.

Students will still need to complete a non-examined assessment (NEA). We’re aware of the challenges that students may face in designing their methodology and collecting primary data due to health and safety restrictions. To support students with their investigations, we want teachers, markers, and moderators to understand the variety of different approaches that exist when it comes to collecting primary data. If students are unable to collect primary data in the traditional way (in the field), they can still access the full range of marks.

Although we’re not planning to make any changes to the assessment criteria, and therefore still expecting to see primary data collection form part of a student’s investigation, all awarding bodies have agreed jointly to allow students to be flexible in how they carry out primary data collection where it may not be possible to go ‘into the field’. Joint cross-board guidance will be available on our website shortly.

Please refer to the summary of changes page for further detailed guidance to help you in preparing students to undertake their NEA, including some useful resources to consider when helping them to collect primary data.

You can also still contact your NEA adviser for further support on conducting the NEA.

In line with Ofqual’s guidance, we’d encourage you to plan and deliver as much fieldwork as reasonably possible, to consider engaging in the enquiry process by virtual means where appropriate and consider practising fieldwork skills in the classroom, on school grounds or in the local area.

You can also encourage students to draw from experts in this field such as the Field Studies Council, The Geographical Association and the Royal Geographical Society.

There are no other planned changes to our A-level Geography specification or to the exams.

  • component 7037/1 (Paper 1: Physical Geography) and 7037/2 (Paper 2: Human Geography) will be assessed as normal
  • students will still be required to complete the NEA for 7037/C: Independent Investigation and corresponding Candidate Record Form (CRF)
  • the marking criteria for the NEA will remain the same.

We know that you’ll want to know more about the changes for next summer. We’ll be publishing further guidance about the summer 2021 exams over the coming months.