Thank you to all of the 900 parents who responded to our survey on the arrangements for exams in 2022. Such a good sample size proves that assessment remains a topic of great importance to parents when it comes to their child's education.
The high response rate enabled us to present the Department for Education (DfE) and exams regulator Ofqual with tangible evidence of what parents really think about how exams next year can most fairly proceed. We used our survey results to respond to their consultation, which has now closed.
What parents told us
We asked questions that comprised the key elements of the DfE/Ofqual consultation. Parents as a representative stakeholder group were overwhelmingly supportive of most of the proposed arrangements for assessment. The poll found that:
- Parents think that schools should have some choice of topics/content on which their students will answer questions for GCSE English Literature, History, Ancient History and Geography. 'Strongly agree' was selected by a majority of parents, and 'agree' received the second-highest response rate for each subject.
- Parents think that exam boards should provide advance information about the focus of the content of exams for the majority of GCSE, AS and A level subjects. Nearly three quarters (74%) strongly agree, and a further 17% agree, meaning that 91% agree overall.
- Parents think that, where there isn’t a choice of topics/content offered, exam boards should provide advance information about the focus of the content of exams for all other GCSE, AS and A level subjects. Over three quarters (76%) strongly agree and a further 16% agree, meaning that 92% agree overall.
- Parents think that a formulae sheet should be provided in the exam room for GCSE mathematics in 2022. Nearly two thirds (63%) strongly agree and a further 23% agree, with 87% agreeing overall.
- Parents think that a revised equation sheet covering all relevant equations should be provided in the exam room for GCSE physics and combined science in 2022. Our poll found that 88% agree with this proposal (65% strongly agree and 23% agree).
Judging by the comments left in the free text field in our poll, many parents believe that next year’s exam cohorts need all of the help and support that they can get, because of the negative impact the disruption to their education has caused on the amount of the curricula they have covered, and on their mental health and preparedness going into exams.
Although our poll was limited a few questions, we can theorise as to why parents have loudly called for adjustments and accommodation to be made for next year's exams. Parentkind polling in late 2020 found a lack of confidence from parents in the initial arrangements for exams in 2021, before they were cancelled. Many parents may worry that further disruption will occur in 2022. In our response to the DfE and Ofqual, Parentkind call for clarity and assurance over next year's arrangements as far in advance as possible, to help families to prepare.
A short survey, comprising 6 questions from the DfE/Ofqual consultation on ‘Proposed changes to the assessment of GCSEs, AS and A levels in 2022’. It was promoted via social media and active between 16th and 27th July 2021. The survey received 900 responses. Please note that not every respondent answered every question.