Update for Cambridge schools on May/June exam series
2020 - 07 April
We can now share with you our process for awarding grades to candidates entered for Cambridge IGCSE, Cambridge O Level, Cambridge International AS & A Level, Cambridge IPQ or Cambridge Pre-U syllabuses in the June 2020 series.
Our approach remains to ask schools to collaborate with us as we make evidence-based decisions about grades for each candidate in each subject.
Our process has four steps:
Step 1. Centre determines a predicted grade for each candidate for each syllabus entered
Step 2. Centre determines a rank order of its candidates within each grade for each syllabus
Step 3. Head of centre confirms the predicted grades and rank orders, and centre sends them to Cambridge International
Step 4. Cambridge International carries out a standardisation process, combining data from the school with other data, and awards final grades
Cambridge Assessment International Education has drawn on its wealth of assessment expertise to develop this process of grading students and we believe it is the most valid, fair and effective approach in these unique circumstances.
In developing this approach, we have engaged with different entities worldwide, including other awarding bodies, governments and universities. We have also engaged with the UK government’s exams regulator, Ofqual, which has developed a similar process for the GCSEs and A Levels taken by schools in England.
As explained previously, we will treat private candidates in the same way as school candidates, in that all the grades we award will be based on evidence.
Where centres have accepted entries from private candidates, those students should be included if the head of centre is confident that the head and their staff have seen sufficient evidence of the student’s achievement to make an objective judgement.
Where a candidate has not been taught at the centre handling their entry, centres need to carefully consider what evidence can be authenticated. Evidence from education institutions and previous schools may be acceptable.
As with schools, heads of centre will be responsible for vouching for the authenticity of the evidence gathered about every candidate.
Unfortunately, we recognise that some centres may not able to find enough evidence for some of their private candidates. It is unlikely to be possible therefore to give grades to all private candidates, some of whom may instead need to take exams in the November 2020 exam series to get their grades. If centres cannot supply a predicted grade for a candidate through lack of evidence, we will not charge the exam fee.
Private candidates with questions about this process should contact the centre with which they have registered their entry.
Update for Cambridge schools on May/June exam series 2020 - 01 April
The situation with the Covid-19 outbreak is changing rapidly. In recent days, many more countries have decided to extend school closures into May and June, making it impossible for many of our schools to hold examinations.
We have been consulting closely with our global community of schools, who need as much certainty as possible at an uncertain time. Our priority is to protect the safety and wellbeing of our students and teachers, ensure fairness for all our students and support them in continuing with their education.
Today, therefore, we have taken the difficult decision not to run our international examinations in the May/June 2020 series in any country. This includes Cambridge IGCSE, Cambridge O Level, Cambridge International AS & A Level, Cambridge AICE Diploma and Cambridge Pre-U.
We recognise that students have been working very hard towards these exams. We will be working with schools to assess students’ achievements using the best available evidence. Students will receive a grade and a certificate from Cambridge International, given the knowledge and skills they have acquired in their programmes of study. This will ensure students do not face disadvantage as a result of these extraordinary circumstances.
We will provide guidance to schools on how students will receive those grades. We are talking to universities worldwide, and they are factoring these unprecedented circumstances into admissions decisions, so students can continue with their education journeys as soon as possible.
Providing grades for students
It is vital to Cambridge International to ensure that all our students studying in many different countries and contexts around the world receive a fair, valid and globally recognised qualification. The process we will use to provide grades for students will be a collaborative one with schools. The decision on grades to be awarded to candidates will be made by Cambridge, using our own evidence combined with evidence from schools.
Our approach will be to ask schools to collaborate with us as we make evidence-based decisions about grades for each candidate in each subject they have entered for in the May/June 2020 exam series for Cambridge IGCSE, Cambridge O Level, Cambridge International AS & A Level and Cambridge Pre-U.
We are now asking schools to consider what evidence they will be able to gather to support these decisions. The evidence should consist of examples of work candidates have done to prepare for their May/ June 2020 exams.
The types of evidence that might be available could include but will not be limited to:
mock exams (see FAQ below)
coursework (complete or incomplete)
AS Level results for ‘staged-route’ A Level candidates
grades in previous sittings for candidates re-taking exams.
We will treat private candidates in the same way as school candidates, in that all the grades we award will be based on evidence.
Where a candidate has not been taught at the centre handling their entry, centres must carefully investigate what evidence of the candidate’s work can be obtained and authenticated. Evidence from a candidate’s previous school is likely to be acceptable. Evidence from parents or from the candidates themselves should not be accepted. Evidence from tutors needs to be considered in the individual context.
Heads of centre will be responsible for vouching for the authenticity of the evidence gathered about every candidate.
We are in direct contact with universities around the world and they understand our decision not to hold the exams in the June 2020 series. They have informed us that they are committed to being as flexible as they can towards applicants who will not be able to sit their exams due to this crisis. They understand the disruption to teaching and learning experienced by students around the world.
The grades and qualifications that Cambridge International awards for this June series will carry the same value as grades and qualifications for any other series.
We will be working with universities to explain the methodology we will follow to provide grades, and will give them information about the wide range of evidence we will use to provide fair and reliable results. We are doing everything we can to ensure that universities accept grades in the usual way and that applicants are not disadvantaged by the decision not to hold exams in the June series.