EPI Annual Report 2023

Think tank: Education Policy Institute

Author(s): Emily Hunt

October 12, 2023

This report from UK think tank the Education Policy Institute looks at the first instalment of its annual report on the state of education in England.

Following widespread pandemic disruption during 2020 and 2021, 2022 saw the return of summer exams.

During the pandemic years, pupils’ grades were awarded using alternative processes known as centre assessed grades (CAGs) and teacher assessed grades (TAGs), whilst statutory assessments were cancelled altogether at earlier key stages. As part of the transition back to exams in 2022, adaptations were made to exams and overall results were set broadly at a mid-point between (the higher grades of) 2021 and 2019, with 2022 marking a staging post back to pre-pandemic grading.

Although the immediate disruption of the pandemic on learning and assessments has passed, this analysis considers the longer-lasting impacts of the pandemic on attainment gaps for cohorts aged 5, 11 and 16 in 2022. We do this at a national level for key characteristics relating to disadvantage (including those in long-term poverty), special educational needs and disabilities, and ethnicity.

In our next release later this year, we will additionally include pupils with English as an additional language, learners aged 16-19, and sub-national disadvantage gaps across all age groups. Given the unprecedented change in the way results were awarded in 2020 and 2021, we compare 2022 results with those of 2019 when exams were last sat.