Awarding of Grades in 2021
Grades this summer were based on Teacher Assessed Grades (TAGs). TAGs were submitted to the exam boards 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’m not happy with my grade?
All students have the option to resit GCSEs and A levels in the autumn. The design, content and assessment of these papers will be the same as in a normal year.
Students may 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.
What are the grounds for appeal?
The grounds for appeal, as dictated by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) are:
- You think the school has made an administrative error: an example of this would be putting the wrong information into a spreadsheet.
- You think the school has made a procedural error: this means we haven’t properly followed our own process, as approved by the exam board.
- You think the selection of evidence was unreasonable
- 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, it is not unreasonable that they were not used. 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?
A student’s grade may go up, stay the same, 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.
The school is unable to offer any advice on the likely success of an appeal this summer.
What to 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.
Making an appeal
All appeals, on any of the grounds above, must first go through a centre review (stage 1 appeal). At this stage, the school will check for any administrative errors, and check that our policies and procedures were followed correctly. Our policy (available on our website) has already been approved by the exam boards, so we are only ensuring that we followed this properly.
Following results days, students wishing to make an appeal should fill in the first section of the JCQ form here and send it as an attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org . Emails must include the name of the student, the level of the qualification and the subject being appealed in the subject line of the email.
E.G.: Joe Bloggs GCSE Latin
Please do not include any additional information in the email about your reason for appealing or any evidence supporting your appeal. The only information that we will process must be included on the attached form.
The outcome of the stage 1 centre review will be communicated to students once complete using the JCQ form. 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 pursue an awarding organisation appeal (stage 2). To make a stage 2 appeal students must complete the details on the relevant section of the JCQ form, which we will then send on their behalf to the exam boards. Students and parents cannot send appeals directly to the exam board– it must come from the school.
Once we have received the outcome of the stage 2 appeal from the exam board it will be communicated to you by the school. Please be aware that this process can take up to 42 days.
Year 13 priority appeals
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. Priority appeals will be handled more quickly than other appeals, where possible before UCAS’s advisory deadline of 8 September.
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 students decided not to confirm a firm conditional offer and to go through clearing instead, JCQ cannot offer a priority appeal.
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.
In order that your appeal is processed as quickly as possible we strongly advise that you complete the relevant paperwork and submit it to the school by Friday 13th August. This will ensure that the relevant school staff are able to process your appeal in line with exam board deadlines.
At both stages of the appeals process, there may be the need for specialist, expert knowledge (e.g. subject teachers, SEND knowledge). This may not be possible in August. In such cases, we may have to wait until the start of term, but priority appeals will still be treated as a priority.
Non-priority appeals are any A levels, GCSEs where a pending university offer is not involved.
The deadline for submitting a centre review to the school is Wednesday 1st September; and the deadline for submitting a stage 2 appeal to school is 10th September in order that we can submit this appeal to the exam boards on your behalf.