Teacher Assessed Grades 2021
Awarding grades for qualifications Summer 2021
As a result of the disruption to the education of pupils caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the government has replaced public exams with a system to determine grades whereby teachers of GCSE (as well as technical/vocational qualification) must assess their pupils’ performance, only on what content has been delivered to them, to reach an overall holistic judgement of the grade at which the pupil is consistently working. Overall, the government’s intention is that it will be no easier or harder for a pupil to achieve a particular grade this year compared to previous years. The Joint Council for Qualifications, JCQ, released further, detailed guidance for pupils, parents and schools on how this process should be conducted. The guidance for pupils and parents can be found via the links and the main points are summarised below:
How will pupils be assessed?
Pupils have the opportunity to demonstrate the progress they have made against exam board provided criteria. This will be measured through a series of classroom-based assessments as well as whole cohort assessments. The guidance states that:
‘Grades should be based on a holistic, objective judgement of the evidence of the pupils’ performance on the subject content they have been taught.’
‘Teachers can take a range of evidence from throughout the course but they should be aware that more recent evidence will be most relevant’.
Therefore, the assessments we have planned will only test pupils’ knowledge and understanding on content already taught; this may mean that some course content will not be assessed where there have been gaps in the teaching and learning due to school closure and loss of curriculum time during the pandemic. Centres are permitted to draw upon evidence from earlier in the course, but assessment should be based on the grade at which pupils are consistently working and more recent evidence will be most relevant.
Can work done earlier in the course contribute to the final grade?
Yes. This type of evidence will be included if:
- The Academy judges the evidence to be robust enough and can authenticate the conditions under which the assessment was undertaken and that it is the pupil’s own work.
- The pupil has special considerations for which there should be reasonable adjustment and this reasonable adjustment has been applied.
- Pupils who are in receipt of agreed access arrangements had these applied during those historical assessments.
In the event that access arrangements were not in place, there are two courses of action that could be taken. The Academy will consider when determining a grade, either:
i) to use the evidence on the basis that it is the most appropriate evidence available, and that disregarding it would disadvantage the pupil; or,
ii) to remove that particular assessment from the evidence for the pupil and obtain alternative evidence.
In all instances, the JCQ has asked schools and Academys to ‘Ensure that the grades represent a holistic judgement. The grading process this year is not intended to be a formulaic calculation, and should account for the context in which each pupil’s evidence has been produced.’
What if my child has been ill or adversely affected by COVID 19?
Pupils must be reminded to raise any mitigating circumstances which warrant special consideration. It is important that pupils raise these issues as soon as possible, ideally at the time of the assessment and prior to the submission of the teacher assessed grade. If pupils have experiences mitigating circumstances during previous years on the course, they should ensure that their Year Leader is aware of these circumstance so that these can be taken into account.
The JCQ guidance outlines that: ‘The usual process of centres submitting special consideration applications to awarding organisations for qualifications will not apply this summer.’ It is clear that we are being asked to, where possible, select work completed by a pupil where they were unaffected by adverse circumstances.
How will the school ensure that the Exams Access Arrangements are in place?
Those who have been assessed as requiring exam access arrangements will receive these arrangements for all assessments next half term. Unless their arrangements also include a small or separate room, pupils requiring additional time for assessments, will be given this in the same room as the timetabled assessment. Pupils with additional access arrangements, such as a reader, scribe or word processor, will receive these arrangements in an alternative room.
How do pupils and parents know that the grades awarded are accurate and fair?
Assessments will not necessarily be marked by the pupil’s own teacher, to limit potential bias; all assessments will undergo a rigorous moderation and standardisation process and may be checked by an external representative from the exam board. We have been instructed by the JCQ to write a Centre Policy which will be submitted to them for external quality assurance. All evidence used to contribute towards grades will be shared with pupils, although guidance states that we are not permitted to share grades awarded for these assessments prior to results days.
Can pupils appeal their grades?
Yes, pupils who consider that an error has been made in determining their grade will have a right to appeal. Full details of the appeals process can be found in the guidance above and will be published to pupils and parents in advance of the results days in August.
How will pupils receive their grades?
Teachers cannot discuss grades awarded with pupils prior to the nationally published results days, which have been brought forward this year. GCSE pupils will receive their results on the 12th August. Results will be given out in the Academy where support for next steps will be available. More information about results will be available later in the summer term.
The timelines for priority and non-priority appeals will be as follows
10 August to 7 September: priority appeals window
10 August to 16 August: pupil requests centre review – Centre reviews which are not submitted by this date may lead to appeals not being completed in them for a higher education place dependent on the outcome of the appeal
10 August to 20 August: centre conducts centre review and reports findings to pupils and parents
11 August to 23 August: centre submits appeal to exam board if requested
10 August to end October: majority of non-priority appeals take place
10 August to 3 September: pupil requests centre review
10 August to 10 September: centre conducts centre review and reports findings to pupils and parents from 6 September
6 September to 17 September: centre submits appeal to exam board if requested