2021 exam changes

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JCQ guidance to help determine students' GCSE, AS and A-level grades

Published:Friday 26 Mar 2021

The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) has released guidance to help schools and colleges determine students’ GCSEs, AS and A-level grades this summer.

What the guidance includes

We’ve contributed to this along with all the other JCQ exam boards. The guidance provides high-level information about the process set out by Ofqual, from the creation and submission of a Centre Policy, through to determining students’ grades. This includes:

  • the quality assurance process
  • centre policy guidance
  • guidance on grading for teachers
  • using data to support the grading process
  • guidance on the use of additional assessment materials for 2021
  • reasonable adjustments, access arrangements and special consideration
  • submission of grades
  • guidance for exam centres accepting private candidates
  • malpractice
  • results
  • appeals
  • additional templates and support materials, including grade descriptors and worked examples.

Qualifications this applies to

This guidance applies to the following AQA qualifications:

  • AS and A-levels
  • GCSEs (including short course GCSEs)
  • Project Qualifications (L1, L2 and EPQ)
  • AQA Certificate Level 3 Mathematical Studies and AQA Certificate Level 2 Further Mathematics.

The majority of this guidance is also appropriate for our vocational, technical and other qualifications, and should be used in the same way. The only exception is the guidance on grading for teachers, and we’ll publish further information with some additional guidance for the following subjects:

  • Applied Generals
  • Entry Level Certificates
  • Personal and Social Education
  • Technical Award
  • Tech-levels.

Guidance for students, parents and guardians

JCQ has also published guidance for students, and parents and guardians which may be helpful.

See all 2021 exam changes

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