I am writing to share with you the information we have so far about assessment arrangements this year and our initial approach to it as a school. It is worth noting that whilst some details were published last week, further information is expected through this term and therefore it may be that elements of our approach will change.
In 2020 the school put in place a rigorous and evidence-based process to determine our Centre Assessed Grades. This approach was moderated by the Trust and deemed to be highly effective. It is largely in keeping with the instructions that have been issued for this year and therefore a very similar process will be followed.
Heads of Department will be asked to include a range of evidence in their calculations, this will include the results of mock / internal examinations, classwork and homework done through the year, any coursework that has been produced and then the results of the governments ‘mini-tests’ that are likely to be sat during Term 5. Each of these elements will then be weighted – for example 40% for the mock exam, 10% classwork and homework, 20% coursework and 30% mini-tests. An overall percentage score will then be determined. Department weightings will vary depending on the different components of their course.
A rank order of students based on their overall score will be created in each subject, ranging from students whose evidence base has resulted in a very high overall percentage score, down to those with lower overall scores. Whilst a rank order is not required by the exam board this year it is imperative to ensuring the fair awarding of grades.
Once this rank order has been created, departments will use exam board materials and marks schemes to decide the grade boundaries for this rank order. Previous school performance will be considered so that we follow the exam board instructions to keep results broadly in line with previous years. This is not to say that grades are limited by previous performance. If a cohort is judged to be stronger they can receive better grades, however, given how strong the school’s performance has been at both GCSE and A level over the last few years we would anticipate results largely in keeping with previous years and not dramatically higher.
Any student who is due to have ‘special consideration’ will have their circumstances reviewed. Special consideration is usually applied after exams and is for students who have had significant medical or personal trauma through the year that has inhibited their preparations. In the case of 2020 and 2021 this is applied to the Centre Assessed Grades before their submission.
I hope this will give both students and parents a clearer understanding of how this process will proceed. It is important that I emphasise that nothing about what I have outlined is irrevocable at this stage. If further announcements come out and require a change in approach we will clearly follow them.
Equally, from a pupils’ perspective they are still able to impact their grades by the work they do between now and May half term. Year 13 have internal exams beginning on the 15th March and will then do some of the governments’ ‘mini-tests’ in Term 5, as determined by the Head of Department.
Year 11 who did their mock exams in November will have further internal exams at the start of Term 5 and then the opportunity to provide further evidence through the term. It is vital that students continue to work hard and take every opportunity to demonstrate themselves at their best.
The school must submit grades to the awarding bodies by the 18th June, but due to the moderation and quality assurance process it is unlikely we will be able to include any work completed after the end of Term 5.
Finally, I would like to draw both pupils and parents’ attention to the instruction made to teachers not to discuss Centre Assessed Grades with pupils or parents. This is to ensure the objectivity of the process and to make sure staff are not unduly influenced by external pressure. Students should by all means discuss what they need to do to get better but indications are that schools are not allowed to share Centre Assessed Grades either before or after their submission until they are published on results days in the summer, which occur on 10th and 12th August this year.
Mr E Hodges