Shelley Monk - 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, I’ve summarised the questions asked at our geography Q&A event.
Yes, there should. However it really doesn’t need to be extensive in most cases. Given the requirement for consistent sources of evidence across a class or cohort, what many centres are doing (and it seems a very sensible approach) is making a record at class or cohort level of what evidence they have used and why, and then for each student just confirming that they have used that evidence.
If they have moved away from consistency (e.g. because someone was ill for a mock or similar) they have noted that for the student in question. They would also note if they had needed to take into account a failure to provide access arrangements, or special consideration, or anything like that. Finally, if the student was in anyway borderline in their grade, centres would explain why they went for one grade and not another.
So effectively in some cases you will have very little to write because the student had the same evidence as everyone else, there were no circumstances to take into account and nothing much to say on the grading determination as it was very straightforward. In others there will be a longer record.
It is completely up to the centre how they want to record the information about the grading determination, but JCQ has produced guidance and templates that you may find helpful.
Consider the quality of the evidence before making a holistic judgement. When was the work completed? What level of control? What type of work? What is the profile of the student and what characteristics do they share with grade descriptors? Look at the worked examples that JCQ provide. These can help you to determine the final teacher assessed grade.
For general qualifications (GCSE, AS and A Level), a ‘range’ means that different types of evidence can be used, such as a topic test, essay, mock exam, NEA or homework, as well as evidence of different parts of the specification being covered, such as a topic test or geographical skills tasks. The JCQ guidance has much more on this.
There are a couple of key things to bear in mind. Whilst 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.
Grade descriptors will help you identify how the range of evidence for each student aligns with the expected performance standards. You are therefore reviewing the evidence holistically.
There are a number of steps:
It’s a holistic approach and you need to use your professional judgement in order to come to an overall grade. Consider the quality of the evidence that you have and the level of control etc. Review the evidence. Read through the grade descriptors. Match the student’s evidence to the suitable statements within the grade descriptors.
A student’s collection of evidence may contain characteristics from different grade descriptors. For example, a student may show characteristics of a Grade 6 in one area, and characteristics of a Grade 2 in another area. For assistance with making grading decisions in such situations, please refer to the worked examples from JCQ. We have also provided advice and guidance on this.
Yes, you can do this for the geography NEA as it will form part of the range of evidence that centres will include for students. The marks must not be shared when the work forms the sole source of evidence (e.g. EPQ) but this is not the case for geography.
No, exam boards are not moderating the NEAs this year. You do not have to offer students the right to an internal appeal of the mark by the centre before the submission of teacher assessed grades.
Yes, you can if you wish. There is JCQ guidance on this if you wish to use it. It could be that elements highlight skills in different assessment objectives and sections of the investigation, so it could be used on this basis.
If you have further questions about this summer’s grading process, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, call us on1223 553998 or tweet us @OCR_Geography. You can also sign up for email 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.
Shelley Monk joined OCR six years ago after teaching geography for 16 years. She has considerable experience in delivering GCSE, IGCSE, A Level and the International Baccalaureate qualifications, as well as leading departments in secondary schools in the UK and internationally. Shelley has eight years’ experience as Head of Year 12 and 13, supporting students both pastorally and academically.
At OCR Shelley worked with the geography team to reform the GCSE, AS and A Level qualifications and she currently supports teachers through the development of a variety of resources, the CPD programme and subject communications. Beyond this role Shelley is clearly a geographer, as she loves walking her dog, exploring distant places and finding new recipes to trial on family and friends.