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Exam Contingency Assessment

Guidance on Exam Contingency Arrangements 

On Thursday 12th November, the DfE and Ofqual published its response to the consultation on contingency arrangements for summer exams, alongside this guidance document.

The key points are: 

  • Schools, colleges and students should assume exams will go ahead, with the adaptions that have already been confirmed. 
  • However, schools and colleges should systematically collect evidence should a TAG be needed in the future. The TAG process looks very similar to last year. 
  • It is suggested (not mandated) that centres do three assessments over this year: once later this term; one in the spring term; and one early in the summer term. However, assessments should, as much as possible, fit in with your planned assessment points. Not all subjects need to be assessed at the same time. 
  • These assessments should be done under exam conditions where possible. The document suggests the  following guidelines for assessments:
    • Students shouldn’t know the questions beforehand / be able to guess them. This means that if all students within a school or college cannot be assessed on the same day, then different questions but a similar approach should be used. 
    • They should work independently and not be assisted, unless required through access arrangements.
    • They should not have access to revision notes. 
    • Assessments should be timed and supervised. 
    • Assessments should replicate exam-style papers / parts of exam-style papers. 
    • Students should be told in advance that each assessment may be used to inform a TAG, if exams are cancelled. 
    • The maths, physics and combined sciences GCSEs could use the new formulae and equation sheets in the assessment. 
    • Students should only be assessed on content they have been taught. 
    • Access arrangements for eligible students should be given; and a record made of this. 
    • Requests for special consideration should be considered and the outcome recorded. 
    • The total amount of time over the three assessments should not exceed the total exam time for that qualification. 
    • Centres should use published mark schemes to mark the assessment. 
    • NEA should be completed. For art and design, completing the NEA is sufficient and no other assessment is needed. 
    • After advanced information is published (on or before 7 February), centres can restrict their assessments to what will be assessed in exams. 
    • Assessments can be done in the classroom, not just in exam halls, providing the other conditions are met.  
  • Centres must not produce a TAG. Individual assessments can be marked and graded for formative purposes, but centres must make clear that the grade is not a TAG. 
  • Centres must retain the evidence. Photocopies of the scripts may be given to students, if helpful. 
  • Further guidance will be issued on how centres should reach a holistic TAG, if and when the decision to cancel exams is made. At this stage, there is no further requirement other than collecting evidence. 
  • Centres do not need to produce a centre policy at this time. 
  • ASCL has pushed the exam boards to produce optional and flexible banks of questions that schools and colleges can use at their discretion; however, we think this is unlikely, so teachers and curriculum leaders should begin to consider what assessment materials they will use and how they will mark these. 

Please click on the images below for a downloadable pdf version of the Exam Contingency Assessment (ECA) overview and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's).

You can also scroll to the bottom of the page for a link to view the Parent and Carer Briefing held on 9th December 2021.


Special Consideration - ECA1

Students and/or their parents/carers can complete this form to apply for special consideration for the Year 11 November Mock Examinations which are our ECA1.

Please complete this form by 4th January. 

A separate form will be provided after each ECA for both years 11 and 13s. Please do ensure you have read the examination board’s guidance (within the form) to check that you meet their requirements for special consideration.


ECA Overview

Exam Contingency Assessment Overview - December 2021





Ofqual Guidance 

Screenshot 2021 12 13 125211

Page Downloads Date  
ECA Overview Dec21 10th Dec 2021 Download
ECA FAQ's - December 2021 10th Dec 2021 Download