New GCSE & A-Level Assessment Updates for 2021!

What are teachers being told?

GCSE and A Level Assessment Update March 22nd 2021 

*This is the latest information that has been sent out to schools as of the 22nd of March 2021. The following update is intended for teachers, but we feel that it is equally important for parents to be familiar with it as well.

Exam boards are “working hard and making good progress” on providing guides and assessment materials to use in grading pupils this summer; they hope to have them ready later in March.

2021 Exam Timeline 

Late March:
Ofqual will provide Guidance for Heads of centre and for making objective decisions.

End of March:
Assessment questions will be provided by exam boards for every subject to help support grading judgements. These will be based on past questions. JCQ will offer guidance to teachers on how to determine grades from a portfolio of students’ work and provide grade descriptors. JCQ will publish guidance on centre policy, with suggested processes for managing quality assurance at a centre level.

Exam boards will provide schools with a set of marked example pupil answers with examiner commentaries covering the grade descriptors. These will be held securely. Teachers can sign up for on-demand training modules to help with the accuracy and consistency of marking and grading. This training will be provided by exam boards.

End of April:
JCQ will give guidance to schools on post-results, appeals and complaints.

31st May:
Teachers can start to submit pupils' grades online.

18 June:
Deadline for submitting pupils’ grades.

21 June:
Exam board quality assurance checks begin.

10 August: 
AS and A level results day. Post-results services and appeals open.

12 August:
GCSE results day. Post-results services and appeals open.

Directive on keeping pupils’ work for the Summer 2021 series – 17th March*
JCQ has confirmed that, where possible, all evidence on which a student’s grade is based, (including copies of their work and any mark records) must be kept safely by their school or college. This is because it will be needed to support how a school or college arrived at students’ grades as part of the internal and external quality assurance processes and appeals.
It is not a requirement that the copy retained is the original version, and a scanned copy of handwritten evidence or digital document will be acceptable. Centres must retain any information relating to a candidate’s access arrangements, or personal circumstances affecting candidate performance, which might need to be taken into account during the process of determining a student’s grade.
Records of student evidence should be kept accessible so they can be easily found and used if a student wants to appeal their grade*.
As teachers won’t yet have made any final decisions about the range of evidence on which students’ grades will be based, it’s best for them to keep all student work and mark records for assessments for the time being as they might be needed later to form part of the final evidence base.
If some evidence of students’ work is not available (e.g. because it was from earlier in the course and evidence was not kept at that point), the marks can still be used in determining the final grade. If this is the case, any evidence that is available can be used by the exam boards to support the appeal if the student decides that the grade was unreasonable, based on the evidence provided.

*Parents - what does this mean for you? Make sure that your child keeps their homework/coursework organised and filed so that it is easily accessible for later. Do not forget that tutors can also submit evidence of their tutees' work to their schools to boost their grades. Chat to your tutor about compiling evidence for your child.

Help with providing CAG grades 
AQA, and presumably other boards too, will be supporting schools in ensuring that grading is fair by providing them with data on student performance, example materials, assessment questions and mark schemes to use.

The government has decided that some of the exam boards’ support materials should be made publicly available, so this will apply to all boards. Mark schemes and all other materials will be kept securely.

Confused by all this? Looking for support?
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Capital Tuition Group - Qualified Teachers. Quality Grades. KS1 to A-Level.