Keeley Nolan, OCR Lead Subject Advisor
In the past weeks, we’ve been running online Q&A events to give you a chance to ask subject-specific questions about this year’s grading process. This followed our roundtable video, which gives suggestions on how to use support materials and answers many general grading questions. In this blog, we’ll summarise the questions asked at our Entry Level Q&A event.
Please also refer to our Guidance on grading Entry Level qualifications.
For students who are due to complete an Entry Level qualification this summer, you will need to submit teacher assessed grades to us via our Grade Submission System by 18 June 2021. Teacher assessed grades should be based on a holistic judgement of the evidence you have of each student’s performance in their Entry Level subject.
While this evidence is not being prescribed by exam boards, it does need to be as consistent as possible for all your students, unless there is a good reason why the work would not be representative, e.g. a student or students missed more content than their peers because of self-isolation, or they have experienced adverse circumstances. This is to ensure that your grading judgements are consistent for your students in your centre.
Yes, if adaptations were provided for your Entry Level subject for this summer, you can still follow these arrangements when producing or gathering evidence for your teacher assessed grades. Please refer to Your guide to the changes for 2021 for details of the adaptations in place.
No, grades should only be based on the content that has been delivered to students, either in the classroom or remotely. You don’t need to worry if there are areas you haven’t been able to deliver, for example, the analysis of performance in PE or a practical task in science, but you need to make sure that you have enough evidence of students’ performance in the content you have delivered to determine a grade. Grades must only be based on the knowledge and skills that students have demonstrated, not on their potential.
Your teacher assessed grades for Entry Level need to be based on evidence of the knowledge and skills that students have demonstrated. You can use different types of evidence such as assessments, classwork or homework. The evidence can be taken from across the course of study. In most cases, more recent evidence is likely to be more representative of student performance but there may be exceptions.
No. There is no expectation that the evidence should be consistent across the cohort for Entry Level. You should choose the most appropriate evidence for each student and make sure that your choice does not advantage or disadvantage any students because they have been affected differently by the pandemic.
You should use your professional, holistic judgement based on the evidence you have available. Students do not need to have covered all of the specification content but you need to be satisfied that you have enough evidence across the range of content and skills that have been taught to determine a grade.
If students have not been able to complete all of the required assessments, you can use alternative or supplementary evidence to cover the gaps, for example, by undertaking the OCR Entry Level tests (if available for your subject) or by setting classwork or homework tasks that would provide you with further evidence.
If students have completed all the required assessments, mark the work as you usually would and use the overall grade boundaries in the Entry Level specification to help you determine a grade.
Where students have not completed all the required assessments, the standard marking criteria and grade boundaries can be used to help you judge any alternative/supplementary pieces of evidence before taking a holistic approach to determine the overall grade. If there are no specific grade boundaries given for your Entry Level subject, you should use the 2019 grade boundaries.
Historic data should be used to support your centre’s quality assurance process and to ‘sense check’ your teacher assessed grades. If outcomes are much higher than in previous years, or much lower, you should consider why this might be. There may be good reasons for any changes.
You could identify evidence for any recurring trends in the profile of performance at the centre over previous years, such as strong results for some subjects or specific student groups. You will need to keep a record of these comparisons and the rationale for any variations as part of the internal quality assurance process, so that it can be discussed during any external quality assurance checks. There is no expectation that historic data is used to cap your teacher assessed grades.
The sampling process for our Entry Level qualifications aligns with those of our Cambridge National and Cambridge Technical qualifications. We’ll randomly select schools and colleges for quality assurance checks and will let you know by 25 June if you’ve been selected.
If selected, you will need to electronically submit evidence and records for five students. The evidence required will include:
The deadline for submitting the sample is 30 June (or 28 June for centres in Northern Ireland). More information can be found in our Entry Level guidance on grading and external quality assurance.
If you have further questions about this summer’s grading process, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, call us on 01223 553998 or tweet us at @ocrexams. You can also contact our subject teams for subject-specific Entry Level queries and sign up to subject updates to receive information about resources and support.
All advice and guidance provided by awarding bodies regarding arrangements for summer 2021 undergoes ratification by the JCQ (Joint Council for Qualifications). This is to ensure that awarding bodies provide consistent information to centres. The content of the above blog is currently being reviewed by the JCQ and is therefore potentially subject to some change in wording.
Keeley is a Lead Subject Advisor at OCR and is responsible for a portfolio of English qualifications including Entry Level English.
The Subject Advisor team supports our full suite of Entry Level qualifications. Their work includes the quality assurance of resources, leading sessions at network events and conferences as well as responding to queries from teachers via email, telephone and social media. If you have any queries about our qualifications, please get in touch.