SUMMER 2021 – AWARDING OF GRADES
As you will be aware the usual processes and procedures for GCSE and A-Level examinations will not be followed this year. As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic the government had confirmed that, GCSEs and A-levels will be cancelled in 2021.
From our experiences of last year when examinations were also cancelled, we know that many of our students will be feeling unsettled and uncertain about what this will mean for them, and that parents and carers will also be experiencing similar emotions. As always, we will do everything we can to offer support and reassurance and share updated information with you openly, so that you are as fully informed as possible at every stage.
On Wednesday 6th January, the Secretary of State for Education explained that the government would be in consultation with Ofqual, to rapidly agree an approach for “alternative arrangements” that will allow students to progress fairly and that these alternative arrangements will take the form of ‘teacher assessments.
On Thursday 25th February Ofqual published the outcomes of their consultation, which set out the rationale for their decision making on the awarding of grades this year.
For clarity, here are important details:
- Schools will be able to draw on a range of evidence when determining grades, including the optional use of questions provided by exam boards, as well as internal assessments, coursework, or other work completed as part of a student’s course, such as essays or in-class assessments.
- Schools will be expected to submit grades to examination boards by Friday 18 June, allowing as much teaching time as possible before schools make their assessments.
- Results days for AS and A level will be Tuesday 10th August 2021.
- Results for GCSE will be Thursday 12th August 2021.
- Students will be able to appeal their grade.
The consultation also states:
‘A student who is unhappy with their grade will first ask their centre to check whether an administrative or procedural error has been made. Where a centre does identify an error in the grade submitted to the exam board, it can submit a revised grade and a rationale for the board to consider. If the exam board is satisfied with the rationale, it will issue a revised grade. Where a centre does not believe an error had been made, a student can ask the centre to appeal to the exam
board on their behalf. The centre will submit the student’s appeal to the exam board and provide the evidence on which its judgement had been made; the exam board will consider whether, in its view, the grade reflected an appropriate exercise of academic judgement. If the exam board judges that it did not, the exam board will determine the grade that the evidence would support. The exam board will also check that the centre had followed its own process.’
- To support schools in making their judgements, exam boards will provide detailed guidance to them before the end of the spring term.
We are close to finalising exactly how we will award assessed grades. We learnt a lot from the grading process last year and we feel confident that we can bring huge degree of certainty to the grading process during an uncertain time. After Easter we will publish our process for calculating an individual final grade form the assessments undertaken by Year 11 and Year 13, we will also finalise the appeals process, once we have more guidance from Ofqual.
Students in Year 11 and 13 have already completed subject assessments remotely (March 2021). They will also undertake further assessment in school in April 2021.
Topic details for each of these will be shared with students ahead of the assessment window to support their careful planning and preparation.
Frequently Asked Questions
How will I know what to do in each assessment?
Each assessment will have an initial instruction page which will explain how to answer the questions. Please ensure you read this instruction page carefully.
What if I have a pre-arranged appointment which classes with an assessment?
If you have a pre-arranged official engagement, for example a medical appointment, you will need to let the exams officer Helen Barker (email@example.com ) know by email at least 24 hours before. Please note evidence may be required. Friday 13th March will be used to re-schedule the assessment of any student in this position.
What will happen if I don’t have access to a suitable device or working space in which to complete my remote assessments?
All students were contacted before half term to ascertain if they have the equipment and facilities needed to complete their assessments at home. Any student without these have been invited to complete their assessments in school. These students will be contacted individually with specific details about this provision.
If I usually get specific exam access arrangements, like extra time, will this also be provided for these assessments?
Yes, absolutely! All students who have specific, awarded, access arrangements have been written to separately with an explanation about how this will be applied.
What if I have a “clash” between two subjects?
Students should check their assessment timetable carefully noting the timing and positioning of their assessments. A student might, for example, find they have more than one assessment each day. The start time for each assessment should also be checked, sessions will start promptly and any student arriving late may find they are unable to access the assessment. If there any questions arising from this timetable please contact Helen Barker the school Exams Officer firstname.lastname@example.org
How do I know what the rules are for these assessments, for example; can I have my notes with me, can I use my smart watch?
It is important that students carefully read the “Declaration for candidate for assessments” This document, supported by JCQ, has been written to help students understand the rules around both remote and in school assessments. It is important that all students follow these instructions, failure to do so may result in your work being considered invalid. If you have any questions in regard to any aspect of this declaration it is your responsibility to contact the Exams Officer immediately via email@example.com
What other assessments are we going to have between now and the end of the school year?
We will continue to communicate directly with all Year 11 and 13 students and parents following each DfE/Ofqual publication, this is next likely to be the end of the spring term. Please note we have asked teachers not to respond to queries regarding teacher assessed grade arrangements for this summer nor discuss individual grading arrangements with students or parents until we have confirmed guidance from the DfE.
What should I do when I have completed all of my assessments?
It is our expectation that you use any available time to consolidate your learning in your subjects. If you require additional work, please contact the Head of Subject who will be able to direct you as appropriate.
If you would like more information or have any additional questions, please contact Helen Barker.
Helen Barker – Exams Officer (OAK 12)
GENERAL EXAM REGULATIONS
For the regulations regarding examination equipment, the wearing of watches, rules around water bottles etc. Please click here
Please note – All students are expected to wear full school uniform including their blazer throughout the exam season timetable