Ofqual has today (Monday 12 October 2020) published a consultation on the criteria teachers should use when assessing speaking skills. The criteria will be built into some temporary changes to the subject-level conditions and requirements, which set out how GCSEs in modern foreign languages must be assessed in 2021.

We would welcome views from teachers and the wider education sector on the proposed criteria. The consultation will be open until Monday 26 October at 11:45pm.

We have previously consulted on proposals to change exams and assessments next year, given the disruption to teaching last academic year and ongoing public health safeguards. We confirmed our decisions in August which included some changes to the way GCSEs, AS and A levels will be assessed in 2021. This package of measures is designed, overall, to free up teaching time, reduce pressure on students and allow assessments to be undertaken within current public health restrictions. Exam boards have been communicating their approaches to each subject, either through subject specific pages or a dedicated area on their websites to explain their approach in more detail.

One of the changes confirmed was the way students’ spoken language skills will be assessed for GCSE modern foreign languages. This year, assessment of spoken language skills should take place during normal teaching and learning, rather than during a one-off performance – unless this is a necessary arrangement for specific learners, such as private candidates.

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