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Ofqual releases detail of changes to the assessment of GCSEs, AS and A levels in 2021

Following an open consultation, to which the GA responded formally, Ofqual have released the detail of changes to the assessment of GCSEs, AS and A levels, details of which can be found here.

In summary, the implications of these changes for teachers of geography are:

  • At GCSE, centres are not required to submit the written statement that they have given students the opportunity to undertake two days of fieldwork. The requirement for students to answer questions in the exam relating to their own fieldwork experience has also been removed.
  • At AS level and A level the requirement for centres to make a declaration to the awarding body confirming they have provided all students with the opportunity to undertake a mandated number of days of fieldwork (two at AS and four at A level) has been removed.
  • At AS level, the requirement for students to answer questions in the exam relating to their own fieldwork experience has been removed. Unfamiliar fieldwork questions have been retained in AS exams but students are not required to cover both human and physical geography.
  • At A level, students will still have to undertake the non-exam assessment (worth 20%) but awarding bodies have been asked to be flexible in their requirements for the use of primary data.
  • At all levels, awarding bodies have been asked to emphasise to centres that they should complete as much fieldwork as possible, including by remote or virtual means.

While the GA understands that difficult choices have had to be made by the regulator, we are incredibly disappointed by these decisions which will substantially impoverish the assessment of students’ geographical knowledge and skills in the 2021 exam series. Virtual and remote fieldwork can only be a temporary substitute to help teachers in these challenging times, and not a replacement for actual fieldwork.

Read the GA response to the Ofqual consultation here.

The GA offers support and guidance on how to undertake fieldwork remotely through CPD training, journal articles, publications and the website. For suggestions visit these links: