GCSE & A Levels Summer 2021
What you need to know about this year’s appeals and Autumn resits
Ofqual and the JCQ (Joint Qualifications Council) have confirmed their appeals and resits process for the Summer 2021 Centre Assessed Grades schools have been asked to produce.
The rules schools have had to follow this year to produce Centre Assessed Grades for GCSE and A Level mean that it is not possible for students to appeal their results if they are unhappy with their grade. Appeals can only be made if students believe there has been an administrative error with their grade.
Students will have been told by their teachers which pieces of work their teachers will be using to determine their grades this summer. They will have signed a declaration to say all of these pieces of work are their own independent work so they will be aware of what evidence has been used by staff to produce their grade.
Administrative errors might include, for example, mixing up two students with similar names, or accidentally copying across the wrong data. But importantly it does not relate to the professional judgements of schools in assigning grades.
Key guidance for students:
Students cannot challenge their school or college under the appeals process on the centre assessment grades it submitted or their rank order positions.
The grounds for appeals at this stage can only be:
Centre-assessed Grades Summer 2021
Appeals process at Benfield
The summer 2021 exams could not take place because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The following information is designed to support students and families understanding of the process for determining centre-assessed grades (CAGs) and the options available to them if they are not happy with the grade awarded.
How were my / my child’s grades arrived at this year?
Grades this summer were based on Centre Assessed Grades (CAGs). CAGs 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.
In some cases, the CAGs we submitted may have been reviewed by the exam board, who may have asked us to submit an alternative grade. However, any changes to the grades we submitted were done by professional teachers or reviewers; this year no grades have been changed as a result of an algorithm.
You know my / my child’s grades. Why can’t you tell us? What if you know we haven’t met our university conditional offer?
We are forbidden from disclosing the Centre 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 CAG.
During the external quality assurance process taking place in June or July, our submitted CAGs may be moved up or down (although this will always be done through human agency, not by an algorithm).
We only know what a student’s conditional offer is if they have chosen to share that information with us. It has not formed part of our objective grading of students. Where we do know this information, we must not let students know their submitted CAGs, even if they haven’t met the conditions of their offer.
What do I do if I’m not happy with my / my child’s grade?
All students have the opportunity to appeal their grade if they meet the grounds for appeal (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.
There is also the option to resit GCSEs, A levels and some AS levels in the autumn, which may be preferable 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 five main grounds for appeal, as dictated by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ). They are:
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 the selection of evidence is not unreasonable just because other forms of evidence may have been equally valid to use. 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 stay, 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 CAG.
What’s a priority appeal?
Priority appeals will be handled more quickly than other appeals, where possible before UCAS’s advisory deadline of 8 September.
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.
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 don’t get into my first choice of university?
First, don’t panic. Speak to Mrs Hall or Mr Anderson 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).
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?
All appeals, on any of the grounds above, must first go through a centre review. 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 when made.
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 an awarding organisation appeal. They must fill in the form below, which we will then send on their behalf to the exam boards. 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 when made.
We will do all we can to support students to move on to their chosen destination.
On results day senior staff and specialist careers advice will be available to discuss results with students and provide advice on next steps.
Deciding whether to request an appeal
The Centre Policy sets out the procedures followed by the school to determine centre-assessed grades.
To help you decide whether to request a centre review you can request access to the following additional information:
You can request this information using the Examination Results Information Request 2021 form. This will be available on results day and staff will be able to guide you through the process. You can get a copy of the form after results day by contacting the main school office. The completed form should be returned to the main school office by post or hand-delivery. Office staff will acknowledge receipt of the form and advise how your request will be fulfilled.
How do I make an appeal?
Students who decide to appeal against a grade following results days should fill in the first section of the JCQ Student Request Form for Centre Reviews and Appeals to Awarding Organisations. Completed forms should be submitted to Mrs Hall by post or hand-delivery to the main school office who will acknowledge receipt of the form.
What are the deadlines for priority appeals?
Students cannot appeal before results day on 10 August The deadline for requesting a priority appeal is 16 August.
We will attempt to complete the centre review by 20 August*. Mrs Hall will advise students of the outcome of the centre review and how to submit an awarding organisation appeal. If students wish to progress to an awarding organisation appeal, they must send the completed form to us by 23 August for priority appeals.
*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.
What are the deadlines for non-priority appeals?
Non-priority appeals are any A levels, GCSEs or vocational qualifications, where a firm or insurance university place is not pending.
The deadline for submitting a centre review is 3 September; and the deadline for submitting an awarding organisation appeal is 17 September.
Appeals received after these dates may still be considered.
What are the deadlines for appeals?
Students cannot appeal before results day on 10 August, The deadline for requesting an appeal is 3 September.
We will attempt to complete the centre review by 30th September. Mrs Hall will advise students of the outcome of the centre review and how to submit an awarding organisation appeal. If students wish to progress to an awarding organisation appeal, they must send the completed form to us by 17 September.
Appeals received after these dates may still be considered.