Alex Orgee – Classics 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’ll summarise the questions asked at our Art and Design Q&A event.
The evidence that can be included within your basket can include:
In the context of the GCSE Latin and Classical Greek qualifications, 8-mark ‘analysis’ and 10-mark mini essay questions can be used to form part of your basket of evidence. The same is true for 15-mark and 20-mark questions within the A Level qualifications.
In terms of coverage, your basket of evidence doesn’t need to cover every aspect of the specification. The aim is to include evidence that shows the student’s ability across the range of content taught and, where possible, all assessment objectives.
We’re not being – and we can’t be – prescriptive on what is minimum evidence threshold because each centre can use different pieces of evidence. It is important that you collect sufficient evidence to ensure that you are confident awarding grades to your students. However, it is worth considering the following points:
If you feel that you don’t have sufficient evidence to make your holistic grading decision, you may wish to consider using some of the additional assessment materials we have released to supplement or help confirm student performance.
The evidence used to make your holistic judgements should be as consistent as possible across your cohort, unless they have experienced adverse circumstances. This includes, where possible, using the same tasks, as outlined in the JCQ Grading FAQ document. This is to ensure that your grading judgements are consistent for your students in your centre.
In cases where a student has missed more content than their peers because of self-isolation, experienced adverse circumstances at the time of producing the work/evidence or was absent at the time, you might wish to use other evidence to come to your holistic judgement.
If you have enough holistic evidence to provide a grade, then you can justify omitting it. If not, you would need a rationale to explain the replacement (which could be just ‘they were absent’). It would be useful in this case if the replacement was similar as this would provide greater confidence in the grade you are providing.
Where different evidence is used, this must be recorded on the Assessment Record, with a rationale provided. The JCQ Summer 2021 page includes a template that you could use.
The grade boundaries for the papers sat in the autumn 2020 series were calculated based on the summer 2020 standard so that it was in theory no easier or harder to gain a particular grade than had been the case through the centre assessed grade route from the summer.
As has been widely reported, the outcomes for the summer 2020 series at a national level were higher than the summer 2019 series. To be as fair as we can to the students taking their exam in the autumn, we, and all other exam boards, carried forward the generosity from summer 2020 grades, the majority of which were based on centre assessment grades. The calculations of the grade boundaries in autumn 2020 were heavily influenced by the last normal examination series, the summer 2019 examination series. The blog from Ofqual goes into a little more detail on what exam boards were required to do.
The policy for the teacher assessed grades this summer is that it should be no easier or more difficult for a student to achieve a grade in summer 2021 compared to the years when examinations took place as normal. The autumn 2020 boundaries were set lower than they would normally and to a different standard and this is why they should not be used.
Once you have collected your basket of evidence, we recommend that you use the grade descriptors in conjunction with the grading exemplars we have released, attempting to match your student’s performance to these materials, to come to a holistic decision on what grade to award.
The JCQ has produced a number of worked examples to help you.
Using the approach detailed above, where your student’s performances consistently meet all the Grade 8 / Grade A descriptors, you can consider awarding a Grade 9 / Grade A*. It’s perfectly legitimate to give an A* or grade 9 where you have a mix of A/A* or grade 8/9 evidence if, on balance and looking at the evidence as a whole, students are more closely aligned to an A* or grade 9 performance.
As was covered in the roundtable discussion, more information about the appeals process will be released in due course.
At a high level, the first stage of the appeal will be the centre checking whether they followed their own centre policy and whether there were any errors, such as a transcription error. If this does not result in a change, the appeal will be escalated to OCR.
We will check to ensure that the centre has followed their centre policy and an assessor will review the evidence you have used to make your holistic judgement. They will review, in light of the evidence used to come to a judgement, the reasonableness of that grading decision.
Entry Level Latin, and all Entry Level qualifications, will follow a different process to GCSE, AS and A Level Latin and Classical Greek. We have produced a guidance document about the process for Entry Level. We have also run a Q&A webinar covering the process for our Entry Level qualifications and will produce a blog summarising the discussions.
If you have further questions about this summer’s grading process, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01223 553998. You can also sign up to subject updates and receive email 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.
Alex has worked at OCR since 2009, first joining the Classics team in 2012. Since then, he has been involved in the redevelopment of all the Classics qualifications. In his spare time, Alex enjoys cycling, watching sport, and gardening.