Centre assessed grades evidence

Centre assessed grades evidence

Ofqual have produced guidance for exam centres on the evidence need.

We have tried to paraphrased the guidance below.

Do get in touch if you are interested in our centre assessed grade service for private candidates.

Ofqual exams

Telephone: 02071128105 Email: Exams@theexamhouse.co.uk

Private Candidate Exam Centre

Exam boards will ask exam centres to generate, for each subject, teacher assessed grades for their students. These grades should be based on a range of evidence completed as part of the course, including evidence produced in the coming months, which demonstrates the student’s performance on the subject content they have been taught.

This document provides information for heads of centre, heads of department, subject leads and teachers about how to generate these grades and the evidence that should be considered.

Exam boards will provide a package of support materials to help teachers make these judgements and will provide further advice on how exam centres should collect and submit evidence.

Questions about support materials and the collection and submission of evidence should be directed to exam boards.

The grades submitted to exam boards must reflect a fair, reasonable and carefully considered judgement of the student’s performance across a range of evidence, on the curriculum content that they have been taught (or, for private candidates who undertook self-study, the content that they have studied).

Heads of centre should emphasise the need for judgements to be objective and fair – see separate information about making objective judgements.

Centres should be careful to avoid teachers being put under pressure from students, parents or carers to submit grades that are higher than the evidence supports.

Heads of centre should keep records of such cases and might be required to report to the exam boards any cases where they believe inappropriate pressure is being put on teachers. Exam boards may treat such cases as potential malpractice.

Exam boards will provide details of the quality assurance requirements. Each centre is required to put in place an internal quality assurance process, which will be checked by exam boards. Centres’ internal quality assurance will include internal standardisation of marking and grading judgements. Exam boards will also check a sample of the evidence used to support teacher grades in a sample of centres. Heads of centre are required to confirm, when submitting their grades, that the exam board requirements have been met.

The Department for Education has confirmed that qualification grades awarded, using alternative assessment arrangements in spring and summer 2021, will not be used to create performance table measures or qualification achievement rates at school or college level for use in accountability. More details on what this means for accountability arrangements in 2020 to 2021 will follow.

Standards in 2021

For every subject, exam boards require each school, college or other exam centre to submit a grade for each student, based on a range of evidence which demonstrates the standard at which they are performing.

Exam boards will provide further advice and guidance to exemplify the standard of work expected for particular grades, including additional grade descriptors to supplement those previously published by Ofqual, as well as exemplar materials. Centres should consider these when making their judgements.

Centres should consider the standard at which each student has performed over the course of study. This judgement should be based on the evidence of a student’s performance on the subject content which they have been taught, whether in the classroom or via remote learning. The evidence could include work which has already been completed during the course as well as that which will be completed in the weeks and months to come. It is important that the judgements are objective and based on the evidence produced by a student on the content they have been taught.

In coming to this judgement, centres should seek to make it no easier or harder for a student to achieve a particular grade this year compared to previous years. This is the same advice that was given to schools and colleges in summer 2020 – the expected performance standard for a grade has not changed. However, for 2021, centres should bear in mind that students might not have been taught all the content and so might not demonstrate such a broad range of knowledge, skills and understanding.

As part of their overall quality assurance, centres should consider the grades for this year’s cohort compared to cohorts from recent years when exams have taken place (2017, 2018 or 2019) at qualification level – for all GCSE subjects or all A level subjects combined. At qualification level, this historical data can provide a useful guide to the expected profile of results and enables centres to check that they have not been overly harsh or lenient in their assessment of the 2021 cohort compared to previous years in which exams took place. Where centres have taken on private candidates, they should be excluded from such comparisons.

Where the overall results at GCSE or A level look very different from recent years (2017, 2018 or 2019) centres should record the likely reasons for this, as exam boards might ask to see this if the centre is selected for external quality assurance. Exam boards will target their quality assurance based on a number of factors, including where a centre’s results are considerably lower or higher than recent years.

Sources of evidence

Centres should continue teaching students for as long as possible, to cover as much of the specification content as possible, and they should assess students on as broad a range of specification content as they can. In some cases, individual students might have missed substantially more teaching than their peers, and are therefore unable to produce sufficient evidence to support a grade.

Heads of centre will be required to confirm that students have been taught sufficient content to provide the basis for a grade.

Evidence should relate to the specification content and should reflect, as far as possible, the sorts of questions and tasks that students would normally undertake in preparation for the qualification. Questions and tasks should be appropriately accessible for lower ability students and appropriately demanding to allow higher ability students to demonstrate performance to support higher grades. Questions and tasks should also be accessible for students with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND).

Centres should make students aware of the sources of evidence that will form the basis of the grades submitted, although students should not be told the final grade that is submitted to the exam board. As far as possible, the sources of evidence should be consistent across a class or cohort of students, and centres should record the reasons for their selection. The centre will make the final judgement about what is to be included and will need to document the rationale for any instances where consistent evidence is not used for a whole class or cohort.

Centres will be asked to make a holistic judgement of each student’s performance on a range of evidence relating to the qualification’s specification content that they have been taught (either in the classroom or via remote learning). Teachers can use evidence of a student’s performance from any point during the course of study, provided they are confident that it reflects the student’s own work.

In coming to these holistic judgements, teachers will use their professional judgement to balance the full range of evidence available for each student against the performance standard set out in the grade descriptors and exemplification material, in line with the centre’s internal quality assurance process.

Centres should aim to base their judgments on high quality evidence that clearly relates to the specification, in terms of both content and assessment. Exam boards will sample some of this evidence as part of their quality assurance, and if they are not satisfied, they could ask a centre to reconsider its grades for a subject.

Where student work completed before this guidance was published is no longer available, appropriate records should be included instead. For example, where mock exam scripts were returned to students for feedback, a copy of the mock exam paper and the grade boundaries used should be included alongside a record of the mark a student achieved. Any work produced by students after this guidance was published on 24 March 2021 should be retained by the school or college if it is to be used as part of the evidence to support the grade.

Types of assessment evidence

We recommend the following types of evidence, where available:

  1. Student work produced in response to assessment materials normally provided by the exam board including past papers, and the groups of questions being provided to support evidence gathering this summer, or similar materials such as practice or sample papers.

  2. Non-exam assessment (NEA) work (often referred to as coursework), even if this has not been fully completed.

  3. Student work produced in centre-devised tasks that reflect the specification, that follow the same format as exam board materials and have been marked in a way that reflects exam board mark schemes. This can include substantial class or homework (including those that took place during remote learning), internal tests taken by pupils and mock exams taken over the course of study.

  4. Records of a student’s capability and performance over the course of study in performance-based subjects such as music, drama and PE.

  5. Records of each student’s standard of work over the course of study.

Centres should bear in mind the following factors in deciding how to balance different sources of evidence.

When the evidence was produced

More recent evidence is likely to be more representative of student performance, although there may be exceptions, for example where a student has experienced significant ill health since the earlier assessments.

What students were asked to do

Centres should aim to use consistent sources of evidence for a class or cohort that relate closely to the specification requirements. The rationale for any exceptions should be documented. Some tiered GCSEs specify content for higher tier students only, and in all qualifications, centres will need to provide accessible questions/tasks for lower attaining students and appropriately demanding questions/tasks for higher attaining students to support higher grades.

How the evidence was produced

Centres should be confident that work produced is the student’s own and that the student has not been given inappropriate levels of support to complete it, either in the centre, at home or with an external tutor. Exam boards will investigate instances where it appears that evidence is not authentic.

Other considerations

The range and amount of evidence could vary between subjects. Centres will need to be flexible where some students have missed particular assessments, through no fault of their own, and may substitute other evidence if available.

Where a student is registered at 2 different centres, or has moved centre part-way through the course of study, relevant evidence from both centres could be considered. It is the responsibility of the centre making the exam entry to obtain any necessary evidence from other centres, including details of what was taught.

Where a student has worked with a specialist teacher or education professional, the centre should seek information from them as appropriate when considering the available evidence for a student and in coming to their grading judgement. This might include, for example, seeking information from qualified teachers of deaf or visually impaired learners, or teachers of EAL learners or virtual school teams working with looked after children studying at the centre. Centres with private candidates should also refer to the detailed guidance from the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ). While discussions with teachers and other professionals should take place before the teacher assessed grade is decided by the centre, those final judgements should be kept confidential within the centre.

Exam boards will not prescribe the evidence that centres must use. Teachers can draw on existing records and available evidence from any point in the course. Centres should make sure that students are aware of the evidence that will form the basis of their final grade.

Centres should bear in mind the following when making judgements.

  1. Expected tier of entry in tiered GCSE subjects – teacher assessed grades must reflect the tier of entry (9 to 3 for higher tier; 5 to 1 for foundation, as well as U).

  2. Authentic evidence from other centres or established educational providers where a student might have studied during the course or such evidence from where a student has studied with the support of a specialist teacher or tutor. Exam boards will provide further guidance to support centres in how they can determine whether evidence is likely to be authentic, including where they may normally rely on evidence that has been produced with certain types of provider without the need for detailed checks.

Students should, wherever possible, continue with their NEA as it covers key areas of the specification. Performance on NEA, even if not complete, should be balanced with other evidence of the student’s performance. Centres should bear in mind that many students normally achieve a higher grade on their NEA than in their exams, which should be

JCQ exam guidance 2021

considered when coming to the overall judgement.

Reasonable adjustments for disabled students and access arrangements should have been in place when evidence was generated. Where they were not, centres should take that into account when coming to their judgement. Where appropriate, this should include input from the SENCo, specialist teachers and other professionals. Centres will need to ensure that they meet their obligations under the Equality Act 2010. Centres should note that they are not permitted to charge students for putting in place reasonable adjustments.

Since students are not taking exams this year, the usual special consideration arrangements will not apply. However, where illness or other personal circumstances might have temporarily affected performance, for example in mock exams, centres should take that into account when making their judgements. The JCQ guide to special consideration outlines the sorts of personal circumstances that should be taken into account.

For GCSE English and GCSE modern foreign languages spoken language, and A level biology, chemistry, physics and geology practical work, exam boards will also collect grades for the separate endorsements. There will be no requirement to collect evidence for these assessments and these grades will not be subject to exam board quality assurance or be part of the appeals process. Centres should submit these grades, alongside the qualification grades, by Friday 18 June 2021.

There will be no requirement to submit statements of curriculum requirements being met in subjects such as GCSE geography field work.