How were my/my child’s 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.
What do I do if I am not happy with my/my child’s 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 going down, staying the same, or going up. So, if a student submits an appeal and their grade is lowered, they will receive the lower mark.
There is also the option to resit GCSEs, A levels and some AS levels in the autumn, which may be preferrable 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 have not properly followed our own process, as approved by the exam board. An example of this would be where you have been told you should have received extra time for assessments but this did not happen 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 same, or go down. When submitting 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 is a priority appeal?
Priority appeals will be handled more quickly than other appeals, where possible before UCAS’s advisory deadline of 8 September.
Priority 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 do not get into my first choice of university?
Speak to Mr McKeating/Mr Turnbull 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). If you wish to discuss the Appeals process, please let us know.
You know my child’s grades. Why can’t you tell us? What if you know he/she has not met a 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.
Although students may have been given marks or grades on single pieces of evidence, we cannot disclose the final submitted TAG.
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.
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?
You may find the attached flow chart useful to explain the Appeals process. All appeals, on any of the grounds above, must first go through a Stage 1 Centre Review. The form for this stage of the process is on our school website on the TAGs page. 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 via their school email account.
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 a Stage 2 Exam Board Appeal. They must fill in the Stage 2 Appeal form on the TAGs page on the school website, which we will then send on their behalf to the appropriate exam board, along with scanned copies of all student evidence. 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 as soon as it is received.