Sarah Phillips, Business and Economics Subject Advisor
Whether you are new to our courses or new to non-exam assessment (NEA) style work, many of you will have just started or will be about to start the assessed work. I thought it might be helpful to share some information about guidance in NEA; specifically over-guidance, as we have had a few queries about this in recent weeks.
Just like external exams, NEA assignments are summative assessments, so therefore all students’ work must be their own. NEA offers a great opportunity for learners to express their creativity and present their work and evidence for assessment in a unique and individual way. This evidence will vary from student to student depending on their interests and preferred style of working. Therefore, we must be careful to ensure that any tasks set for NEA units are not too prescriptive.
Students should decide for themselves which resources to refer to, and what to include in their NEA, based on the knowledge and the skills they have been taught. Therefore, at the start of their assignment, teachers should provide them with the set assignment (including the Information for Learners section), a copy of the marking criteria and any pre-approved OCR templates, if relevant.
Providing students with additional resources beyond these could be classed as ‘over-guidance’ or ‘over-direction’, giving them an unfair advantage. This could lead to the integrity of the qualification being compromised and would therefore be malpractice, as it would be a breach of the regulations of the assessment.
When we see anything that suggests the teacher/assessor has led students to the answer, we become concerned because it suggests they have not worked independently to produce their assignment work.
If you have a query or are not sure whether you should use a resource, contact us: we’ll be more than happy to help.
Moderators’ reports provide useful comments and advice from the series. These are produced after every summer series and can be found on Teach Cambridge.
You should prepare students through learning tasks and practical activities to help apply, analyse and evaluate information, in the same way that you might prepare them for examined assessment. Students need to be prepared for the set assignment but cannot do a replica ‘mock’ version beforehand. This is because in mock exams, questions are different from one series to another. Therefore, any feedback given is not a direct preparation for the live assessment.
When the tasks are so similar in nature in NEA, giving students replica tasks and providing feedback on them would be directly relevant and applicable to live assessment in a way that a mock exam is not. This would give students an unfair advantage and would therefore be malpractice.
Feedback can be provided but it must not provide specific advice and guidance that could be considered as coaching, as this would compromise the students’ ability to independently perform the tasks they are doing and would be classed as malpractice.
Feedback must not:
If moderators cannot see differences in content between students’ work in the sample they are moderating, they will report suspected malpractice. An exception is when students have only used and referenced technical facts and definitions.
We organise “Ask the moderator” CPD events regularly for each qualification. You can find more information and book events on our professional development website.
Our guide to referencing explains how and why to acknowledge sources correctly.
We also produce a useful classroom poster.
If you have any questions you can email email@example.com, call us on 01223 553998 or tweet us @OCR_BusEcon. You can also sign up to subject updates and receive information about resources and support.
Sarah joined the Business and Economics team in September 2022. She has over 20 years’ experience as a teacher of Business, Economics and Finance and in leadership roles including Head of Department, Head of Sixth Form and Assistant Principal. She has been an assessor for A Level Economics and holds a degree in Business Economics and the RSA Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA).