2022 GCSE and A-Level changes

2022 GCSE and A-Level changes


Exams are back and in person.


Every part of our lives was disrupted as a result of Covid-19 and education was no exception.

Both 2020 and 2021 GCSE and A-level exams were cancelled and instead replaced by teacher assessments – these were based on past performance in school, as well as previous assessments.

The government has announced by 2023 GCSE and A-level grading standards will be moved back to pre-pandemic standards.

The change – which is designed to rein in the grade inflation of the last two years – means there will be more top grades in 2022 compared to 2019, but fewer than in 2020 and 2021. In 2023 the grade standards will return to 2019 levels.

receiving exam results

The Department of Education has said that 2022 will be a 'transition year' for school exams in England

The government have announced that there will be changes to GCSE and A-Level exams next year to 'maximise fairness' after disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

In 2021, 45 per cent of UK A-level entries were marked at A* or A, compared to 26 per cent in 2019, meaning the proportion of top grades handed out could fall by around 10 percentage points next year.

Given the Covid disruption teenagers have experienced, a number of changes will also be made including topic choice is some subjects such as English literature and history, and support materials such as formulae and equation sheets in maths and physics set to be introduced in some tests. 

For subjects where a choice of topics are not provided, advance information on the focus of exam content will be given in early February to help students with their revision.

maths tools

More pupils are set to be given higher grades next year than before the pandemic to provide a “safety net” for the cohort of students who have missed out on learning during school and college closures. But results are expected to return to normal standards by 2023, according to the Department for Education and exams regulator England’s Ofqual.

The government said the plans for “plans recognise the disruption caused to this year group’s education as a result of the pandemic, while balancing the need to return to exams as the fairest possible form of assessment”.

Most pupils stopped going into school for an extended period twice during the Covid pandemic, while self-isolation rules have also kept students at home.

With two years of teacher assessed results leading to record grade inflation, ministers and the exam watchdog Ofqual have been left with a dilemma about what to do with grading in future years.

In a statement, Ofqual said it planned to return to the pre-pandemic standards over two years. 

“Next year will be a transition year to reflect the recovery period, with grade boundaries to be set by exam boards reflecting a midway point between 2021 and 2019 – so that more students get higher grades in 2022 than before the pandemic,” it said.

“This approach will provide a safety net for this year’s students as well as a step back to normality, with results expected to return to the usual grade profile by 2023.”

If exams cannot go ahead, teacher assessed grades will be used as a contingency measure. Ofqual is to consult on the arrangements, but they are likely to involve schools collecting evidence from pupils in normal planned tests such as mock exams from the second half of this term. Students will be told before they take the tests that the results could be used to inform their teacher assessed grades if exams are cancelled.

A-level results will be published on 18 August next year, with GCSEs a week later on 25 August. It comes after both results days were held in the same week last summer.

The Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said: “We’ve put fairness at the heart of our approach and listened to pupils, teachers and parents. The measures we’re putting in place will help reduce the impact of the significant disruption this group of young people have had to face – allowing them to move onto the next stage of their lives.”

Geoff Barton, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said the plans were a “sensible set of measures which should ensure that students are assessed as fairly as possible for A-levels, GCSEs and other important qualifications following the huge educational disruption caused by the pandemic

For further information click here to visit the Department of Education proposed changes for 2022 GCSE and A-level exams.