Year 11 Assessments 2021
Centre-Assessment Approach for Qualifications in 2021
In November 2020, the Education Minister announced that there would be no summer examination series for students taking GCSEs, AS levels or A levels in 2021. In January 2021, it was confirmed that these qualifications would be awarded using Centre Determined Grades. This means that individual examination centres, such as schools and colleges, would determine the actual grades awarded for each qualification.
This webpage sets out the school's approach to applying the 'Guidance on Alternative Arrangements for Approved GCSEs, AS and A levels’ provided by Qualifications Wales, the examination regulator, to help determine grades in 2021. By sharing this approach, we hope to clarify how decisions will be made regarding the awarding of grades, what evidence will be used to determine the grades and outline the key dates for our learners going forward.
A Centre Determined Grade is the grade awarded by the school, as an examination centre, on the basis of attainment which has been demonstrated in the areas of the qualification content that a student has covered. For each qualification, teachers will make use of WJEC Assessment Frameworks which include descriptors for key grades to support the accurate distribution of awards. Each grade awarded by the school must be underpinned by robust evidence to demonstrate a student’s attainment across key themes and skills. These will vary per qualification, as determined by the requirements of each WJEC Qualification Assessment Frameworks.
It will not permitted for Centre Determined Grades to be issued based on professional prediction or the potential of a student. Teachers will be required to apply their professional judgement and decide whether the knowledge and skills demonstrated meets the usual standard for a specified grade. In determining grades, the school will be required to make ‘best-fit’ judgements. This means that students are not required to demonstrate all aspects of a grade descriptor to be awarded the grade; students should be awarded a grade which supports evidence of attainment across sufficient breadth of content, within the specified qualification, as determined by WJEC; and may achieve the same grades by demonstrating different combinations of knowledge, skills and understanding. This ensures that strengths in some areas counterbalance shortcomings in others. As a result, the ‘best-fit’ grade may be awarded. Where there is insufficient evidence, or where evidence suggest attainment is below that required of the lowest grade for a qualification then a student will be awarded a Centre Determined Grade of U.
While the standard expected for any particular grade will not be lowered in 2021, the use of Centre Determined Grades acknowledges that the volume of work completed by a student will be less than in previous years, owing to the ongoing impact of the global health crisis. Therefore, the use of Centre Determined Grades seeks to ensure students are not unfairly disadvantaged by the process. At the same time, they are designed to enable all students to progress to their next stage of learning and/or employment.
Centre Determined Grades will be generated using evidence of work completed by a student, using the adapted specification content. These adaptations were made by the examination board to account for the impact of the pandemic on students’ educational experience. The following types of evidence will be used where applicable:-
1) Adapted past-paper questions
The school will use WJEC adapted past-paper assessments when setting tasks to determine Centre-Determined Grades. There are recognised benefits of using these materials. The adapted past-papers have already been externally quality assured; are fully supported by clear mark schemes; and are familiar to both students and staff. Teachers will ensure these past-papers, which will form a key part of the evidence, will be incorporated within their delivery of teaching and learning, in replacement of other activities undertaken in lessons.
2. Non-Examination Assessment (NEA)
Where NEA remains part of an adapted qualification, teachers will use the performance of students in this element to contribute towards the determination of a grade alongside the adapted past paper assessments. Teachers will consider the weighting of the NEA, in relation to the qualification as a whole as per the specification.
3. Other contributing evidence
Other assessments deemed appropriate by the school, undertaken prior to or after the publication of the school approach, may be used to help confirm a grade judgement. However, this evidence cannot be used in isolation to determine grades. This type of evidence will not be used to lower grades. Types of evidence that could be used include:
- evidence from previously completed WJEC past-paper questions, which have been completed under controlled conditions over the course of study;
- mock examinations carried out under controlled conditions.
At the completion of each assessment task, learners will be required to complete a declaration to state that the work recorded is their own and that they have not gained an advantage from their peers or plagerised work.
The following schedule indicates when assessments are planned to take place. These are assessments which will provide students with opportunities to provide evidence of their skills and understanding. Due to the continued uncertainty and unpredictable nature of the pandemic, these dates are subject to change.
All assessments will be carried out in classrooms under controlled conditions during the pupil's normal timetabled lesson. Pupils will continue to attend lessons as normal and attendance to these lessons is extremely important, even if there is not an assessment taking place at that particular time as teachers will be revising the necessary work.
Students who would normally be entitlement to access arrangements such as extra time, will continue to receive these arrangements. This has already been communicated with these pupils.
Please note that this schedule presently does not include vocational qualifications or the oral assessments in Welsh. We hope to have further information on these qualifications from the exam boards soon and we will update you with further information in due course. On the timeline, you will see that some assessments include the letters 'W.C.'. This indicates that the assessments will take place during the week commencing this date.
WJEC require quality assurance processes to be undertaken to ensure accuracy and consistency. The school will undertake a rigorous standardisation and quality assurance process to ensure the grades determined are valid, reliable, equitable and fair. In developing an approach to centre determined grades in 2021, the school has taken steps to ensure it meets its Public Sector Equality Duty. This is a legal requirement and forms part of the Equality Act (2010), which ensures due regard to the need to:
- Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct that is prohibited by the Equality Act (2010);
- Advance equality and opportunity between people who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who do not; and
- Foster good relations between people who share relevant protected characteristics and those who do not.
Review of Centre Determined Grades and Appeals
Once the internal moderation process has been completed, Centre Determined Grades will be shared with the learners. The current plan is for this to happen on 21st June (dates may alter). The school will then be required to submit Centre Determined Grades to WJEC by 2nd July.
Where a pupil is satisfied with their Centre Determined Grades, there will be no further action. However, if a pupil is not satisfied, will be able to appeal this grade within the time period specified in the timeline. Again, these dates are subject to change. The appeals process will have three stages:
- Stage 1 – the centre review stage will allow learners to request a review of the school’s judgement of their grade and/or correct any errors. SLT will conduct a review into the assessments and processes used to determine the Centre Determined Grade. New or additional evidence cannot be considered as part of the process. Please note any grade adjustments could be up or down. Learners will receive notification of the appeals decision in writing prior to results day.
- Stage 2 – after results day, pupils can appeal to WJEC on the grounds that the academic judgement that the centre has made is unreasonable and/or a procedural error has been made. WJEC will conduct a review into the processes used to determine the Centre Determined Grade. Please note any grade adjustments could be up or down.
- Stage 3 - Qualifications Wales will implement an Exam Procedures Review Service (EPRS) to allow learners to request a review on the grounds that WJEC has not followed its stated process.
Frequently Asked Questions
I am worried we haven’t finished the course in some of my subjects – how will this impact on my grade?
You will only be assessed on work that has been covered prior to the Easter break, therefore all assessments will be adapted to take that into account.
I am entitled to extra time, a reader or a scribe – will this still happen?
Yes – we will ensure that any access arrangements are catered for during the assessments. This has been communicated with you via a letter from Mrs Archibald.
What if I miss an assessment due to illness or because I have to isolate?
You should make every effort to attend all lessons, especially the assessment periods. However, sometimes this is not in your control and your health is our most important concern. If you are unable to attend the assessment sessions, please inform us as soon as possible. Depending on your individual circumstance, we will then look at how best to arrange a time and method for you to complete the assessment, whilst ensuring the necessary standards of control are met.
Will I know my grades from my assessments?
You will not be told the grades and marks from your individual assessments. Once assessments are complete, they will be moderated, following the school's moderation process, and in line with WJEC guidance. You will though receive your Centre Determined Grade on or around 21st June.
How can I prepare for my assessments?
The work you have completed prior to and during blended learning has been focused on preparing you for your assessments. Your teachers will spend the remaining time in lessons to further prepare you. As with normal exam years though, you will need to take ownership for your preparation. We suggest you use the timeline to plan out a revision timetable. Use the resources provided and suggested by your teachers to practice exam questions and continue to develop your skills. As well as the resources provided by your teachers, the WJEC have developed a wide range of resources to help you. Click here to visit their exam walkthrough content.
I'm anxious about these assessments. Who can I ask for help?
We understand that this is an anxious time for you. However, the work you have been doing all year, both in school and during blended learning will have prepared you for these assessments. You also still have time to prepare, both in school with your teachers during your lessons and through revision at home. Our wellbeing team are on hand to support you also and we have launched the wellbeing functionality on Class Charts for you to alert us if you are feeling under pressure. You can also visit support agencies and charities, such as Mind Cymru.
I'm studying vocational qualifications. How will these be graded?
Presently, we are still awaiting final confirmation regarding vocational qualifications. Until we are told differently, you should continue with your normal arrangements in your vocational subjects.