Tel: 01993 823303

Teacher Assessed Grades 2021

Information on GCSE, A level and vocational grades: summer 2021

LAST UPDATED: 9 August 2021

For the second academic year running external examinations have been cancelled, leaving many of the normal steps for students now looking very different. Here we have tried to pull together information on everything regarding grades, results and support that you might need.

THE PROCESS

This year’s process for awarding Teacher Assessed Grades (TAGs) is completely different from the Centre Assessed Grading (CAG) process used in summer 2020, with the only real similarity being a lack of externally set exams. TAGs will be determined by teachers making an objective judgement as to the standard a student is performing at now and not their potential.

Students will only be assessed on what they have been taught, while ensuring sufficient coverage of the curriculum to enable progression to next steps.

Teachers have used a range of evidence with no one piece of evidence determining the overall grade. At Burford School, we took the majority of our evidence from assessments completed during Term 5. In addition, fully and partially completed NEAs (coursework) were also used.

We have provided students and parents with a subject-by-subject list of the evidence which was used to determine the overall grades:

Please remember that we are bound by strict confidentiality and will not be able to share or give an indication of the overall grade awarded in any subject before results day. To do so would be malpractice.

Below are a series of documents, produced by Ofqual, the DfE, and the JCQ to help explain the process to students and parents:

Here is a collection of letters sent to parents regarding the process:

A copy of our JCQ approved centre policy can be found here:

Burford School Centre Policy 28.04.21

 RESULTS DAYS

  • A-level and Level 3 Qualifications: Tuesday 10 August
  • GCSE and Level 2 Qualifications: Thursday 12 August

Students will have a statement of grades sent to their school email accounts for 8.30am on results day. Please note that this is a change to the time previously communicated as the government has changed the earliest legal release time.  A paper statement of results will also be posted to the student’s home address, which will arrive in the days following.

If your son/daughter needs the password to their school email account to be reset, please email our Network Manager, Mr Wilsdon (m.wilson@burford.oxon.sch.uk), also stating the student’s full name and form group.

POST-RESULTS SUPPORT

We will continue to provide post-results support for those students who need further support or advice. If you would like to discuss next steps with either our Head of Sixth Form or Careers Advisor, we ask that you contact reception on 01993 823303 and leave brief details with our office staff. The relevant person will then call you back as soon as they become available. Similarly, if you have any questions about the results or would like to speak to a member of staff, please do the same.

For Year 13 students wishing to use the UCAS Clearing service, please go directly to their website (www.ucas.com/undergraduate/results-confirmation-and-clearing/what-clearing) and contact the school if you would like to speak to someone for advice.

For Year 11 students, we will also provide the option of face-to-face meetings with Mrs Brown, our new Head of Sixth Form, if entry to the Sixth Form needs to be discussed. Please phone Reception to arrange a time if this is required. We would also request that any questions related to changing A-level choices be done via email to Mrs Brown (c.brown@burford.oxon.sch.uk) as these are not urgent and changes can still be made on return in September.

If you would like to contact us with questions regarding the results, our dedicated email account (results@burford.oxon.sch.uk) will go live on Monday 9 August.

AUTUMN EXAMS

Like last year, an autumn series of exams will be available for students who would like an opportunity to improve on their teacher assessed grades. These exams will be in the same format as those in a normal exam series in terms of the number, length, structure and content. The deadlines to enter for these exams are:

  • Monday 6 September for A/AS levels. The exams will run for 3 weeks from Monday 5 October to Friday 23 October.
  • Friday 1 October for GCSEs. The exams will run for 3 weeks from Monday 2 November to Monday 23 November.

On results day we will provide students with a digital form that will need to be completed to enter for the autumn series. A link is also available here but students will need to be logged into their school email account to access it:  https://forms.office.com/r/3hFRr0HeuA

There is no charge for these entries.

APPEAL INFORMATION

The JCQ have released a guide to help students to decide if an appeal is appropriate and support them in completing the form.  It can be found below:

JCQ Student Guide – Summer 2021  

This year every student has the right to appeal their grade(s) if they wish and there are four main grounds for appeal:

  • You think we have made an administrative error: an example of this would be putting the wrong information into a spreadsheet.
  • You think we have made a procedural error: this means we haven’t properly followed our own process, as approved by the exam board. An example of this would be where you’ve been told you should have received extra time for assessments, but this wasn’t given in a certain subject.
  • You think the academic judgement on the selection of evidence was unreasonable: you think the evidence used to grade you was not reasonable.
  • You think the academic judgement on the grade you were given was unreasonable.

‘Unreasonable’ is a technical term in this context and means that no educational professional acting reasonably could have selected the same evidence or come up with the same grade. This means that just because other forms of evidence may have been equally valid to use, the selection of evidence is not unreasonable. Because of the flexibility of the approach this year, every school and college will have used different forms of evidence. It also means that the independent reviewers will not remark or grade students’ evidence. Instead, they will look to see whether any teacher acting reasonably could have arrived at the same grade.

The appeal process this year has two stages – a centre review and awarding organisation appeal.

All appeals, on any of the grounds above, must first go through a centre review. At this stage, we will check for any administrative errors, and check that our policies and procedures were followed correctly. Our policy has already been approved by the exam boards, so we are only ensuring that we followed this properly. The outcome of the centre review will be communicated to students when made. At the centre review stage, if we find that a grade should go up or down, we will ask the exam board to change it. They will then consider this request.

Following the outcome of a centre review, students may still choose to pursue an awarding organisation appeal. They must fill in the form below, which we will then send on their behalf to the exam boards. Students and parents cannot send appeals directly to the exam board themselves – it must come from us. The outcome of the awarding organisation appeal will be communicated to students when made.

JCQ Student Request Form for Centre Reviews and Appeals

For those Year 13 students who miss the conditions of their firm or insurance university offer there is a priority appeal service available. Requests for priority appeals must be made to our Exams Officer, Mrs C Hawker (examsoffice@burford.oxon.sch.uk), by midday Monday 16 August. All other appeals should be made to our Exams Officer by midday Monday Friday 3 September.

Please be aware that while priority appeals should be processed more quickly by the exam boards, there is no obligation for universities to hold places while these appeals take place. However, you should still make universities aware if you are making a priority appeal.

 

Below is a step-by-step guide on how to make an appeal:

  1. A student who believes they have been given a grade incorrectly should complete page 2 of the JCQ student request form (above) and return it by email to our Exams Officer, Mrs C Hawker (examsoffice@burford.oxon.sch.uk).
  2. If you require individual assessment marks to decide whether an appeal is appropriate then contact results@burford.oxon.sch.uk with ‘Request for assessment marks’ in the subject line.
  3. The school will conduct a centre review, complete page 3 of the form with the outcome and return it to the student.
    1. If the school identifies an error, we will submit a revised grade to the exam board along with its rationale for the change. This will be considered by the exam board and if they agree with the change a new grade will be issued.
    2. If the school does not feel an error has been made, we will contact the student and inform them of this.
  4. If the student wishes they can then ask the school to go to stage 2 and move to an awarding organisation appeal. To do this the student must complete pages 4 and 5 of JCQ form used for the centre review and return it to the Exams Officer.
  5. The school will submit the students appeal along with any relevant evidence
  6. The exam board will consider if a change to the grade is supported based on the evidence submitted and inform the student and the school of its findings.

 

Please be aware that there is no grade protection when appealing to the exam boards which means that grades can go down as well as up as a result. Students will have to sign to show that they have acknowledged this before submitting each stage of an appeal.

 

Mr D Pullin – AHT: Curriculum & Standards

d.pullin@burford.oxon.sch.uk

9 August 2021

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How were the grades arrived at this year?

Grades this summer were based on Teacher Assessed Grades (TAGs). TAGs were submitted to the exam boards by us as a holistic assessment of students’ performance in a subject, following a rigorous process of assessment, moderation and quality assurance.

These grades were then approved by the relevant exam board, following external quality assurance checks. This year no grades have been changed as a result of an algorithm.

What do I do if I’m not happy with a grade?

All students have the opportunity to appeal their grade if they meet the eligibility criteria (see below). It is important to note that an appeal may result in a grade being lowered, staying the same, or going up. So, if a student puts in an appeal and their grade is lowered, they will receive the lower mark.

There is also the option to re-sit GCSEs, A levels and some AS levels in the autumn, which may be preferable to some students. The design, content and assessment of these papers will be the same as in a normal year.

What are the grounds for appeal?

There are four main grounds for appeal, as dictated by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ). They are:

  • You think we have made an administrative error: an example of this would be putting the wrong information into a spreadsheet.
  • You think we have made a procedural error: this means we haven’t properly followed our own process, as approved by the exam board. An example of this would be where you’ve been told you should have received extra time for assessments, but this wasn’t given in a certain subject.
  • You think the academic judgement on the selection of evidence was unreasonable: you think the evidence used to grade you was not reasonable.
  • You think the academic judgement on the grade you were given was unreasonable.

What does ‘unreasonable’ mean?

‘Unreasonable’ is a technical term in this context and means that no educational professional acting reasonably could have selected the same evidence or come up with the same grade.

This means that just because other forms of evidence may have been equally valid to use, the selection of evidence is not unreasonable. Because of the flexibility of the approach this year, every school and college will have used different forms of evidence.

It also means that the independent reviewers will not remark or grade students’ evidence. Instead, they will look to see whether any teacher acting reasonably could have arrived at the same grade.

What will be the outcome of an appeal?

At either stage of the appeals process (see ‘What are the two stages of an appeal?’ below), a student’s grade may go up, stay the stay, or go down. When placing an appeal, the student will have to sign a declaration saying that they accept the fact their grade may go down and they may get a lower grade than their original TAG.

What’s a priority appeal?

Priority appeals will be handled more quickly than other appeals, where possible before UCAS’s advisory deadline of 8 September.

Priory appeals are only open to A level students starting university this autumn, who have missed out on the conditions of their firm or insurance offer.

If you decided not to confirm a firm conditional offer and to go through clearing instead, JCQ cannot offer you a priority appeal.

JCQ cannot offer priority appeals for GCSE students, unfortunately.

When making a priority appeal, students will have to include their UCAS number so it can be confirmed that it is a genuine priority appeal.

What should I do if I don’t get into my first choice of university?

First, don’t panic. Speak to Ms Denny about your options. You may wish to go through clearing or sit the autumn exams or summer exams next year to try to improve your grade.

If you are going to appeal your grade, you must let your university know you are appealing. They will then let you know whether they will hold a place for you pending the outcome of an appeal (note that universities are not obliged to hold a place for you; this is at their discretion).

What should I do before appealing?

Students must read the JCQ Student and Parent guide before appealing, which will be available on the JCQ website by results days and we will also put a copy on our website.

We may not be able to offer as much advice and guidance on the likely success of an appeal this summer as we would in normal years, as we have already moderated and quality assured all the grades ourselves.

What are the two stages of an appeal?

All appeals, on any of the grounds above, must first go through a centre review. At this stage, we will check for any administrative errors, and check that our policies and procedures were followed correctly. Our policy has already been approved by the exam boards, so we are only ensuring that we followed this properly.

The outcome of the centre review will be communicated to students when made.

At the centre review stage, if we find that a grade should go up or down, we will ask the exam board to change it. They will then consider this request.

Following the outcome of a centre review, students may still choose to pursue an awarding organisation appeal. They must fill in the form below, which we will then send on their behalf to the exam boards. Students and parents cannot send appeals directly to the exam board themselves – it must come from us.

The outcome of the awarding organisation appeal will be communicated to students when made.

How do I make an appeal?

Following results days, students should fill in the first section of the JCQ form here and send it to our Exams Officer, Mrs C Hawker (examsoffice@burford.oxon.sch.uk).

What are the deadlines for priority appeals?

The deadline for requesting a priority appeal is midday on 16 August (students cannot appeal before results day on 10 August).

We will complete priority centre reviews as soon as we can so if students wish to progress this to an awarding organisation appeal, they must send the completed form to us by midday 20 August for priority appeals.

What are the deadlines for non-priority appeals?

Non-priority appeals are any A levels, GCSEs or vocational qualifications, where a firm or insurance university place is not pending.

The deadline for submitting a centre review is midday 3 September; and the deadline for submitting an awarding organisation appeal is midday 10 September. Appeals received after these dates may still be considered.

You know the grades. Why can’t you tell us? What if you know we haven’t met our university conditional offer?

We are forbidden from disclosing the Teacher Assessed Grades to any third party, including students and parents, until results days. Any teacher or member of staff who does this is committing exam malpractice.

We only know what a student’s conditional offer is if they have chosen to share that information with us. It has not formed part of our objective grading of students. Where we do know this information, we must not let students know their submitted TAGs, even if they haven’t met the conditions of their offer.

 

 

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