The Covid-19 pandemic has had a major impact on school leaving, university entrance and other high stakes exams around the world. Many northern hemisphere countries have exams around this time of year and have had to decide what action they will take. Major decisions have been taken to continue as planned, postpone, replace or cancel exams. Those who plan to keep to their original exam timetable or have introduced a short postponement may yet have to come up with an alternative action. Where exams have been cancelled, there will still be important technical and operational judgements to be made.
International co-operation amongst exam agencies – one of IAEA’s purposes – seems very important at this challenging point in time. Some educational assessment organisations might find it helpful to see if there is something they can learn from people elsewhere in the world in similar situations. The information below is intended to permit IAEA members and others to identify organisations that are facing similar problems to their own. It includes a contact who will be willing to provide further information if requested.
If you would like to add your exams to this information, please use the format below send your text to: Dennis Opposs, Standards Chair at Ofqual, firstname.lastname@example.org
|Country, exams||Category*||Contact name, role, e mail||Arrangements for 2020 exams|
Higher School Certificate (HSC), New South Wales
Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE)
South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE)
Northern Territory Certificate of Education and Training (NTCET)
Tasmanian Certificate of Education (TCE)
Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE)
Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE)
Australian Capital Territory Senior Secondary Certificate (ACTSSC
|E||Mr Chris Rider
Chair, Australasian Curriculum, Assessment and Certification Authorities
|At this stage, the Australian states and territories will be administering examinations between October and December 2020. Each jurisdiction has implemented adjustments to their senior assessment programs to support the disruptions to teaching and learning. This has involved some minor rescheduling of exams in two jurisdictions.
(updated 30 august 2020)
School-Leaving Exams, University Entry-Exams
Civil Service Selection Exams and Interviews
|D||Vali Huseyn, Head of Strategic Development Department, The State Examination Center (SEC), the Republic of Azerbaijan||The decision was made to close down all schools in March. Starting from June, the SEC has been conducting school-leaving exams for students of grades 9 and 11, entrance exams to higher education institutions and occupational schools, as well as different international certification exams. The exams are administered following the instructions issued by the Government of Azerbaijan concerning the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the taken measures are mentioned below:
The content which was taught online since institutions were closed was excluded from the test specifications of the exams in order to avoid any disadvantage for the students who have no or limited internet access.
In addition to paper-based exams, the SEC developed its e-proctoring technology – the ProctorDİM* – SEC’s online proctoring service to run their testing programs online with invigilation. (DİM means State Examination Center)
The SEC developed an online interview platform for the civil service selection, which was piloted and also introduced in June.
For more updates: http://dim.gov.az/en/
(updated 1 September 2020)
|Kingdom of Bahrain||D||Wafa Alyaqoobi
Director of National Examinations Directorate,
|The Bahrain National Examinations were established to provide information about the educational system in Bahrain by testing students’ performance levels at grade 6 based on the national curriculum (i.e. the end of primary education), and grade 12 in the main competencies that students should acquire after completing their pre-university education.
Due to the Covid-19 situation this year, regular on-site study was suspended in all of the Kingdom’s schools from the 26th of February 2020, which prevented the administration of the 2020 National Examinations for grades 6 and 12. However, the examinations are currently scheduled to be held for the next batch of students in the upcoming academic session (2021).
(updated 7 June 2020)
GCSE and A level
Primary school assessments
Standards Chair, Ofqual
|Exams and school-based assessments have been cancelled. Instead, schools and colleges are being asked to provide judgements of the final grades that they believe their students would have been most likely to achieve if the courses and assessments had proceeded as normal. They will also provide the rank order of students within each grade for each subject. To make sure that the results issued are as fair as possible across different schools and colleges, Ofqual and the exam boards are developing a statistical model to standardise these grades. It will look at evidence such as the expected national outcomes for this year’s students, the prior attainment of students at each school and college (at cohort level), and the results of the school or college in recent years. It will not change the rank order of students within each school or college. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/how-gcses-as-a-levels-will-be-awarded-in-summer-2020 https://www.gov.uk/government/news/ofqual-seeks-views-on-gcse-and-a-level-grading-proposals-for-2020
(A level results were released on schedule on 13th August. These were the standardised grades as planned. However, following considerable protests, a few days later these results were replaced with the original grades that schools and colleges had submitted to the exam boards in May. GCSE results issued on 20th August were also the original (unstandardised) grades.
The final aggregated results are rather different from historic data. For example, at A level, 38% of all 2020 candidates have now been awarded a grade A or A*. Over the last 10 years, that figure varied between 25% and 27%.
(updated 28 August 2020)
Primary school assessments, including the Early Years Foundation Stage profile and Key Stage 2 tests, will not go ahead this year.
(updated 10 May 2020)
|Vocational and Technical Qualifications (VTQS)||A/B/E||Where the purpose is for learners to progress to Further or Higher Education, the guidance is to issue a calculated result wherever possible.
One type of VTQs, BTEC qualifications, are unitised, meaning that for many units the work is already completed. Where a result is required this summer for learner progression, the following information will be collated and used to determine an overall qualification grade: results from units already completed, centre-assessed grades for incomplete internal units and rank ordering information. The approach will vary by qualification as structural differences require.
Some BTEC qualifications are continuing with an adapted assessment approach where possible, and others, such as those with a licence to practice element may be delayed until they can be safely completed.
(updated 3 June 2020)
|D||Mr. Pa Samba Baldeh
Head of Country Office.
(updated 10 May 2020)
|D||Mr. Pateh Bah,
email@example.comMrs. W. E. Addy-Lamptey,
Head of Country Office.
(updated 10 May 2020)
Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE)
|D||Ricardo King Sang MAK
Director of Public Examinations,
Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority (HKEAA)
|HKDSE subjects are divided into three categories, including 24 senior secondary subjects (Category A; 4 core subjects, namely Chinese language, English language, Mathematics and Liberal Studies, and 20 elective subjects), Applied learning subjects (Category B) and other language subjects (Category C). Category B and Category C subjects, whose examination cycles had largely been completed, were unaffected by the Covid-19 pandemic. With close coordination with the Education Bureau, the school sector, and the Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health and medical experts, written examinations for Category A subjects had been postponed to commence from 27 March to 24 April, with implementation of enhanced precautionary measures at the examination centres. Major changes resulted from the four-week postponement include:
A backup plan prepared by the HKEAA was in place to produce predicted levels for school candidates based on their schools assessment results and the schools’ prior performances in HKDSE in case the written examinations were to be cancelled.
(updated 3 May 2020)
All NEBOSH Award, Certificate and Diploma exams
|C,D||The National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health
Dee Arp, Director of Learning and Assessment, firstname.lastname@example.org
|Standard date and all on demand examinations were suspended from mid‑April 2020 due to guidelines on gatherings of people under the COVID‑19 pandemic. As restrictions are lifted in individual countries, where it is safe to do so and permitted by local government regulations and guidance, some Learning Partners may continue to offer invigilated in‑person exams.
NEBOSH are developing an adapted assessment for both National and International General Certificates in Health and Safety. The first open book examination will take place July 2020.
Additional standard date Diploma examinations may be offered later in the year dependant on government advice on gatherings.
NEBOSH are looking at developing online assessment for their multiple choice Award and Certificate examinations, with a date yet to be advised.
NEBOSH General Certificate examinations can now be taken remotely. The first examination took place in August 2020. More dates will be available. Other standard date Certificate and Award examinations recommence September 2020, and on demand examinations are available. Standard date Diploma examinations will take place week in October and December 2020, dependant on government advice on gatherings.
In-person invigilated examinations can only take place where it is safe to do so and permitted by local government regulations and guidance.
Dates of examinations have been posted on the NEBOSH website (www.nebosh.org.uk) and updates are posted on NEBOSH’s social media pages.
(updated 21 August 2020)
Psychometric Entrance Test
|The April 2020 administrations of the Psychometric Entrance Test to higher education and the accompanying Language Proficiency Tests were scheduled to the first week of June 2020 All test will be administered under restricted conditions published by the Ministry of Health.
https://www.nite.org.il/?lang=en(updated 4 May 2020)
Kenya Certificate of Secondary
March/April Technica! &
Early Childhood Development & Education (ECDE) Examinations
Dploma ne Special Needs Education (SNE) Examinations
|Dr. Mercy G Karogo, MBS Ag. Chief Executive Officer Kenya National Examinations Council email@example.com||
|D||Mr. D. G. Gbotoe,
Head of Country Office.
|The international WASSCE, which was scheduled to start in April and the two national exams that were to follow have been postponed indefinitely since March 20.
-The Council is contemplating that the country office should conduct the LJHSCE and LPSCE, which are national or country-specific exams, as soon as the situation within the country permits while waiting for the situation to improve across the sub-region for WASSCE to be conducted simultaneously in all the member countries.
(updated 10 May 2020)
CvTE (The Board of Tests and Examinations)
(updated 6 May 2020)
|D||Mr. P. A. Areghan
Head of Country Office
|National Business Certificate (NBC)
National Technical Certificate (NTC)
National Common Entrance Examination (NCEE)
|Professor Ifeoma M. Isiugo-Abanihe, Registrar/Chief Executive Officer, National Business and Technical Examinations Board (NABTEB), Nigeria||
|A||Dr Shehzad Jeeva (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Director, Aga Khan University Examination Board Chairman, Inter Board Committee of Chairmen (IBCC), Federal Ministry of Education and Training, Government of Pakistan
Dr Naveed Yousuf (email@example.com)
Associate Director, Aga Khan University Examination Board
|The Government of Pakistan announced a country-wide lockdown in early March to control outbreak of COVID-19.
Upon extensive consultation at the national level, all universities, colleges, schools and technical vocational institutions were closed by March 13, 2020 for health and safety of students, teachers and school administrative staff. The education institutions are to remain closed till July 15, 2020 according the earlier notification. The government is currently in consultation at national level to decide on re-opening of schools.
All national examinations were cancelled (May 14, 2020). Robust and evidence-based promotion guidelines (prepared by Inter Board Committee of Chairmen IBCC, Federal Ministry of Education and Training, Government of Pakistan and Aga Khan University Examination Board) were issued to ensure progression of children to the next academic level due to cancellation of examinations.
Due to COVID -19 and as per the directives of the government, the schools are expected to restart on September 15, 2020. The delayed re-opening of schools in Pakistan highlights another unique challenge of completing the curriculum within the short academic year, leading to unmanageable academic load for both students and teachers. Governments and educational institutions in many parts of the world are taking measures to rationalize the syllabus to maintain standards while reducing academic load according to their own contexts. In the same spirit, AKU-EB has also taken several steps to ensure that the educational activities effectively continue at our affiliated schools while maintaining standards in face of this uncertainty. Please note that the Government of Pakistan is in a planning stage and may differ slightly from AKU-EB’s approach
For the academic year 2020-21, the AKU-EB plans to ensure its commitment for high academic rigor and standards in assessment and examination to our affiliated schools. The academic year will end in March 2021 and the annual exams will be held as per the schedule. AKU-EB has rationalized its syllabus. The rationale for this syllabus rationalization in this short and uncertain academic year is to:
Hence, some major decisions includes:
As a part of the validation for the rationalization of the syllabus, a review of the rationalized syllabus was done by a representative sample of teachers from our affiliated schools.
We have received very positive response from our schools as they all understand the unique challenges everyone is experiencing. They are also very appreciative that while AKU-EB is making sure to address the situation, at the same time the Board is making sure that the quality and academic rigor is not compromised.
(updated 31 August 2020)
|D||Mr. F. Akuffo-Badoo
Ag. Head of Country Office.
(updated 10 May 2020)
National Assessment of Knowledge in Primary School (6th, 9th grade)
General and Vocational atura
Foreign Language Exams for Adults
|Suzana Bitenc Peharc, Senior Adviser, National Examinations Centre
National Senior Certificate (NSC) – state system and Independent Examinations Board (IEB)
|–||Dr Rufus Poliah, Chief Director, National Assessment and Public Examinations;
|In South Africa, we are still on track to hold the main school-leaving and university entrance examinations, at the end of Grade 12 i.e. the National Senior Certificate in October/ November. The dates have been move forward to November/December in schools writing the state examinations. IEB examinations will start towards the end of October with non-NSC examinations while NSC examinations will begin in November. Grade 12 and Grade 7 learners returned to school on 1 June 2020.
The strategy adopted by our Minister of Basic Education to recover the teaching time that has been lost as a result of the lockdown so that the full curriculum of the NSC qualification will have to be covered in teaching is still in place. Schools that are able to, have limited the face to face return of learners by using remote teaching strategies, while others are employing strict hygiene strategies and enforcing social distancing.
The next set of grades i.e. Grade 11, 6 and 1 returned to school on 6 July, amid substantial protests, given the upsurge in positive cases across the country but in particular in the 3 epicentre areas of Eastern Cape, Gauteng and the Western Cape. At some universities, final year students have returned while the remaining students are participating in remote teaching strategies. Given the inequalities in access to signal and data, there is much unrest.
What is clear however is that the 18th century practice in education of full reliance on a teacher through face to face teaching has been substantially challenged during this period of Covid-19. The necessity for learners to learn from home has challenged teachers in how to teach and how to assess under these circumstances. Teachers, being the creative people they are, have risen to the challenge and developed a number of very effective strategies – it is very doubtful that education will return unchallenged to the “ways of doing” as it was in March 2020. Certainly, in some schools in South Africa, this is highly unlikely. Given sporadic outbreaks of the virus, some schools have been forced to close and deep clean their premises. Hence the situation is still very fluid.
(Updated 7 July 2020)
The main school-leaving and university entrance examinations, at the end of Grade 12 i.e. the National Senior Certificate, has been scheduled to be written from mid-November to mid-December in state schools. IEB examinations will start towards the end of October and continue until the end of November. Given Covid-19, examinations that were scheduled to take place during May/June 2020 did not take place and those candidates have been included in the examinations that will be written later this year. The late completion dates of examinations means that marking and processing of results will be delayed. The intended date for the release of the 2020 NSC results is February 2021.
Because commencement of the academic year after the lockdown at universities has been delayed, the 2020 academic year will extend well into 2021. It is expected that the academic year for first year students will only commence in March 2021 to accommodate the late release date of the NSC results. Universities rely on these results to confirm placement offers to students.
Covid-19 has seen a spike in the establishment of distance education especially in the form of online schools. The authorities are grappling with the phenomenon in an effort to decide how they should be regulated.
All grades have returned to school, with parents having the choice of whether to register their child as a “home-schooler” or to allow the child to attend school in person.
|South Africa: Umalusi
Amended Senior Certificate (SC(a)
National Senior Certificate (NSC)
National Certificate Vocational (NCV: Levels 2 – 4)
National Technical Certificate (NATED: N1 – N3)
General Education and Training Certificate (GETC: ABET Level 1)
|D||Mr Biki Lepota
|Umalusi has a legislative mandate to perform quality assurance of the following qualifications on its sub-framework: Amended Senior Certificate (SC(a), National Senior Certificate (NSC), National Certificate Vocational (NCV: Levels 2 – 4), National Technical Certificate (NATED: N1 – N3) and General Education and Training Certificate (GETC: ABET Level 1). The exams associated with these qualifications are set and internally moderated by public and private assessment bodies and moderated externally by Umalusi.
The greatest impact of the Covid-19 on Umalusi, as with assessment bodies, is the change of dates of all exams which were scheduled to be written from April onwards. While the Department of Basic Education (which assesses the NSC) and the Department of Higher Education and Training (responsible for assessing the NCV, GETC, and NATED) represent two public assessment bodies, there are three private assessment bodies accredited by Umalusi to assess particular qualifications. The Independent Examinations Board (IEB) assesses the NSC and GETC; South African Comprehensive Assessment Institute (SACAI) assesses only the NSC, whereas Benchmark Assessment Agency (BAA) currently assesses the GETC.
In response to the coronavirus outbreak, all schooling-related exams which were scheduled to be administered in May/June have been merged with those normally written at the end of the year. In terms of the gazetted time-table, NSC-related examinations will run between 9 November and 18 December 2020. Although the time-table has not yet been published, indications are that GETC examinations will start around the 9th November instead of the original date of 2nd November. There is no doubt that the changed exam dates will have a knock-on effect on all Umalusi-related quality assurance processes which normally unfold pre- and post-administration of exams by the assessment bodies. Such processes include the auditing of the state of readiness for the system to conduct exams, monitoring of the writing of exams, monitoring of marking guidelines discussions, verification of marking of scrips, all of which culminate in the standardisation and approval of results. Online standardisation platforms have been created to enable the processes to be conducted remotely.
Accordingly, Umalusi has reschedule its exam quality assurance processes in order to synchronise them with the gazetted national exam timetable. The reality is that the quality assurance processes will be concluded in the first quarter of 2021.Given that the anchors of specific quality assurance processes are educationists, academics and researchers who are non-permanent staff at Umalusi, the new timetable could impose conflicting pressures on their diaries.
(updated 2 September 2020)
Advanced Placement (AP)
|C||The College Board
Vice President, International
The College Board
As schools and communities navigate these challenges posed by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, The College Board provided AP students with free, optional virtual learning opportunities and an at-home AP testing option. Online AP exams were given May 11-22 and make-up test dates took place June 1-5. The transition to an at-home testing option for 2019-2020 AP exams gave students the opportunity to earn the credential, college credit and placement they’ve been working toward all year. The vast majority of U.S. universities will award credit as they have in the past, and we have spoken with institutions worldwide who will use the results from the results from the at-home tests in admissions decisions this year.
SAT registration is open for the 2020-2021 academic year. The College Board had already committed to a new August international test date. As a response to limited testing opportunities in March, May and June, and the College Board is providing an additional SAT administration on September 26 as well as an added SAT Subject Tests administration in November. We will also add a test date in January 2021 if there is demand for it. The full SAT test calendar can be found here.
This year, many centers will have fewer seats because of social distancing guidelines and may encounter unexpected closures. While the College Board cannot directly control test center capacity and availability, the organization is working with global high schools, universities, and other sites to increase seating capacity in areas where registration is filling up.
(updated 6 June 2020)
Graduation from upper secondary level
Entrance grade 10
Final exams of school years (primary, lower and upper secondary level)
|-D||Tran Thi Huong Giang, Vice Director, Research Division on Educational Assessment, Vietnam National Institute of Educational Sciences (VNIES)||Postponed to August 2020 (normally in June))
Postponed to July 2020 (normally in June)
Postponed to July 2020 (normally in June)
(updated 19 May 2020)
1) Graduation from upper secondary level: postpone to 8/8/2020 -10/8/2020 (normally in June) (https://kenh14.vn/lich-thi-tot-nghiep-thpt-quoc-gia-2020-va-cac-thong-tin-si-tu-can-chu-y-2020080208425957.chn)
2) Entrance 10 grade: postpone in July (normally in June) (concrete date is different in each localities https://thi.tuyensinh247.com/lich-thi-vao-lop-10-nam-2020-tat-ca-cac-tinh-tren-ca-nuoc-c22a51962.html )
3) Finishing school years (primary, lower secondary level): July 2020 (normally in May) https://moet.gov.vn/ttbt/Pages/tin-hoat-dong.aspx?ItemID=6552
Updated 1 September 2020
Junior Secondary School Leaving
Primary School Leaving school
General Certificate of Education , GCE (Private Candidates)
Junior Secondary (Private Candidates)
Teacher Education Diploma Examinations
|D||Dr. Michael M. Chilala,
Director and Chief Executive Officer, Examinations Council of Zambia
|The Government will reopen schools for examination classes starting 1st June, 2020.
The Main Examinations which were scheduled for November, 2020 will be held in December, 2020.
The Examinations for private candidates which were scheduled for August, 2020 will be held in September, 2020.
The teacher education examinations have been postponed until further notice.
* Most exams will be easy to classify using one category but, if necessary, systems can use more than one.
A. Cancel exams. Use completed exams and/or school based assessments to produce results.
B. Cancel exams and produce results using school and college generated estimates.
C. Replace planned exams with new on-line exams taken at home.
D. Postpone exams.
E. Press ahead with exams on schedule.