Ofqual confirmed on Wednesday 5 May, that, given the “lack of any credible alternatives identified”, exam boards will only be allowed to issue calculated grades to students where the head of centre has provided an assessed grade and ranked order.
However, this does not mean that students studying their ‘mother-tongue’ or heritage language at a supplementary schools can not be assessed.
Examination boards have confirmed: If the school [examination centre] making the entry has access to relevant evidence e.g. from a supplementary school or Saturday school and is happy to authenticate the evidence that is available from that source, then the school can award a centre assessment grade.
STOP PRESS: NRCSE is holding a webinar for supplementary schools and community teachers on how they can provide supporting evidence to the schools where their pupils are entered for home / heritage language. Book your place here
Further important information for students attending supplementary schools
The second decision announced today is that grades will not be restricted by age or year group, meaning pupils in year 10 and below who were entered for GCSEs this summer can now get a grade. Exam boards will now be allowing schools to amend their entries.
Ofqual received 12,623 responses to the consultation on plans to assess GCSEs and A-levels this summer, after exams were cancelled because of the coronavirus outbreak. The full report will be published later this month but Ofqual today released their decision on the specific issue of ‘early’ entry for language exams which NRCSE raised with the support of Baroness Coussins, Co-Chair of the APPG on Modern Languages, to enable calculated grades to be submitted.
The majority of respondents agreed that we should not restrict eligibility to a calculated grade by age or year group. Most of those who responded in favour of the proposal broadly argued that if younger students were not able to receive a grade they would be disadvantaged because their school would not continue to teach them the subject. Some argued specifically that disabled students and students with special educational needs who were planning to spread their GCSE entries over a number of years would be particularly disadvantaged if they were unable to receive a calculated grade this summer. We also received arguments that students who had planned to take exams in community languages would be disadvantaged if we restricted eligibility by age or year group because these students often take their GCSEs in these languages at a younger age. It would be disruptive to their plans if they could not receive a grade this summer.”
Full text available on the Gov.uk/Ofqual website
Another decision confirmed last week and particularly relevant to students entering as private/external candidates is that exam boards will allow for “some private candidates to transfer to another centre, ahead of the grading process this summer, if the centre where they had registered decides it cannot submit a centre assessment grade”.
“In this case, some other centres, such as those with experience of working with distance learners, may be able to work with some more of those private candidates who need a grade this summer in order to progress.”
They add to ensure the grading process is fair, the head of centre must have the same level of “confidence” in the grade and rank order position as for all other students.
“The exam boards will expect centres who are willing and approved to work with private candidates in this way to utilise any capacity to prioritise candidates who need to receive a grade to progress this summer.”schoolsweek.co.uk
Any evidence being relied upon for the submitted grade should be kept. Guidance on what evidence is acceptable is available on the Joint Council for Qualifications website.
Sally Collier, chief regulator at Ofqual, said it is “vital all grades are determined using a robust and consistent process so that everyone can have confidence in them”.
She added: “We welcome the additional guidance exam boards have set out which will provide further opportunities for private candidates to be graded this summer, and support them in moving on to the next stage of their lives.”
Ofqual said students who have not already been in touch with the centre where they were registered should contact the centre now – or talk to their exam board for information about working with a new centre.