Summer 2021 Grades
The national DfE/Ofqual consultation has concluded and the outcome has been published.
Click here to read the letter for parents dated 23/3/21 regarding grades for Year 11 and Year 13 students.
We have compiled a series of FAQs regarding how the grades are awarded this summer.
Do teachers award the grades?
Simply: no. The grade students achieve will start with their teacher’s assessment of their performance across a range of evidence. This is against a nationally-defined standard, not the teacher’s own opinion. This assessment is then subject to both internal and external quality assurance before the final grade is awarded by the exam body as usual.
What about loss of learning / impact of Covid?
Students will not be disadvantaged if they have been unable to complete the full course. However, grades can only be submitted on the basis of the evidence we have of students’ performance
Will grades be different between different schools and colleges?
No, the standard against which teachers will be assessing students is set nationally by the exam boards. This is the standard that will be used during external quality assurance and appeals to ensure consistency and fairness across the system.
What should students do to improve their grades?
The best thing students can do is to continue to attend classes, learn, act on feedback from their teachers, revise, and read around their subject. Their grade will be based on their performance, and so their outcomes are ultimately in their hands.
Can students discuss their grades with teachers?
Teachers will be able to discuss which evidence they are using to inform their judgement with students. However, we are not allowed to disclose their final submitted grade we give to the exam board. Students should not attempt to second-guess the grade submitted, as teachers will be using a range of evidence to inform their final judgement. Students must not ask teachers to reveal the grades they are submitting, or to increase the grades, as doing so may be considered exam malpractice
Students who have agreed access arrangements for exams will have the same arrangements in teacher assessments
Where and when will the assessments take place?
Assessments will most likely be completed in class. However, some tasks will be completed at home. Assessments will take place during lesson time for those completed in school. Students will be given advance warning as to when assessments will take place.
Will there be grade boundaries?
Exam boards will produce grade descriptors. This means that assessment will be judged against these benchmarks and grades will be awarded accordingly. There will be no grade boundaries.
Can students and parents make the case for why a student should get a higher grade?
Our teachers are already using their professional expertise to assess students’ assessments. Teachers are unable to submit higher grades for students unless they have the evidence that they are consistently working at this level. If teachers submit higher grades without evidence they are committing exam malpractice. In 2020, any undue pressure by student or parent who placed undue pressure on teachers to increase grades was also considered exam malpractice. It is likely to be the same for 2021. If students or parents are found to be putting teachers or leaders under undue pressure to increase grades, then this matter will be referred to the exam boards and an investigation into malpractice may ensue. This may result in the student’s certificate being removed entirely if malpractice is deemed to have taken place.