Coronavirus update from Cambridge Assessment on OCR and Cambridge International qualifications

Secondary schools students studying with microscopes with a woman teacher next to them

Over the last few months the world has changed significantly and we have responded swiftly in the way in which we are supporting our customers and students. As a global assessment and education organisation, we are responding to events both in the UK and worldwide. The implications of the pandemic are extensive, and we have worked closely with governments and education officials around the world to mitigate the impact on our learners and respond in similar ways wherever possible.

In all cases, our priority is to make sure our actions protect students’ and teachers’ safety, and help students obtain the fairest outcome possible, with the quality and integrity they would expect.

In the UK, we know that teachers, students and their parents are anxious about the cancellation of exams this year. We know this is true for exams officers and our examiners too. Our priority is supporting them and their students to progress. Internationally, we know that schools are facing varying challenges and different circumstances and we continue to provide as much clarity as we can, as quickly as we can. Some matters are complex, and we want to make sure our approach works for all Cambridge schools worldwide, in a variety of different national contexts.

In all cases, our priority is to make sure our actions protect students’ and teachers’ safety, and help students obtain the fairest outcome possible, with the quality and integrity they would expect.

Latest guidance

Our exam boards OCR (GCSE, AS and A Level, vocational and technical qualifications in the UK) and Cambridge Assessment International Education (Cambridge IGCSE, International O Level, Cambridge International AS and A Levels, Cambridge Pre-U, Cambridge IPQ in the UK and worldwide) have issued guidance for schools, colleges and other centres. The guidance explains how grades for students who were due to take their exams in the May/June exam series will be awarded.

The approaches are summarised by both exam boards on their websites:

OCR – general qualifications (GCSE and AS and A Levels)

Cambridge International - Cambridge IGCSE, Cambridge International O Level, Cambridge International AS and A Levels, Cambridge Pre-U and Cambridge IPQ

In the UK, OCR works very closely with the UK government’s qualifications and assessment regulator, Ofqual and the UK’s Department for Education.

Cambridge Assessment International Education has drawn on its wealth of assessment expertise to develop its process for grading students. In developing its approach, it engaged with many entities worldwide, including other awarding bodies, governments and universities. It also engaged with Ofqual in the UK.

Both boards will keep adding updated information as well as relevant resources and articles to their websites over coming weeks.

UK vocational qualifications

In the UK, Ofqual has also confirmed the arrangements for those currently taking vocational and technical qualifications and OCR has issued a news story:

OCR – vocational qualifications (Cambridge Nationals and Technicals)

Online teaching and learning

Across Cambridge Assessment (including Cambridge Assessment English, our English language division) and Cambridge University Press we have a wide range of online learning and teaching resources to promote productivity and help learners, teachers, test-takers, examiners and staff adapt to new ways of working and studying online.

On our exam boards’ websites you will also find support and resources for teachers, students and parents as well.

Thank you

We would like to thank all our schools for the very helpful feedback, insight and support you are giving us as we develop our responses. We acknowledge too your flexibility and patience at this uncertain time. We will be with you in the weeks and months ahead so all your hard work is recognised and your students can progress with the qualifications they deserve.