Vinay Thawait, Neil Hateley and Ceredig Cattanach-Chell – OCR Computer Science, IT and Creative iMedia Subject Advisors
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’ve summarised the questions asked at our Q&A events for Cambridge Nationals Information Technologies and iMedia and Cambridge Technicals IT L3 (2016 and 2012 suites).
Yes, you can still use the existing adaptations. In addition, you should only use content that the students have been taught.
If a student has ‘banked’ some units, the grade which they received for those units should not be a cap on the final grade you give them if there is other evidence of stronger achievement.
The 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 Learning Objective (LO) content taught and, where possible, all LOs.
Consider whether the evidence is sufficient. If not, could assessment materials provided by us be used to supplement or help confirm student performance.
Holistically! Grade descriptors will help you identify how the range of evidence for each student aligns with the expected performance standards. There are a number of steps:
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 candidate 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 candidate in question. They would also note if they needed to take into account a failure to provide access arrangements, or special consideration, or anything like that. Finally, if the candidate was in any way borderline, they would explain why they went for one grade and not another.
So in some cases you will have very little to write because the candidate 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 some templates that may be helpful.
There are no constraints on the minimum number of units or percentage of the qualification which a student must have been taught, as long as the grade is based on evidence of their performance. You should make sure that you have taught as much content as you need to make a judgement about a grade.
Consider whether the evidence available is sufficient to support your judgement. If not, what additional assessment evidence might be needed? You could use the assessment materials provided by OCR to supplement or help to confirm performance of previous assessments.
This will help you evaluate the quality of the evidence and ensure you have confidence that outcomes are comparable. If you are a solo teacher, you should refer to your centre policy on how outcomes are standardised. As a solo teacher, your outcomes should be standardised already, but the centre policy will outline what measures are in place in the given circumstances.
Autumn 2020 was an atypical series for all qualifications (including GCSE (9-1) Computer Science). The last ‘regular’ exam series was 2019. Use the grade boundaries as a guide, but remember grades should be determined by a holistic look at the evidence for the student.
There isn’t a requirement to use question papers and turn the result into a grade; the mark might suffice when compared to grade descriptors and exemplification.
You’ll need evidence supporting each grade that you have determined, evidencing that it is the grade that a student is working at. This evidence is not being prescribed by exam boards, but does need to be as consistent as possible for all your students, unless they have experienced adverse circumstances. This is to ensure that your grading judgements are consistent for your students in your centre.
You may use different evidence however if the student has experienced adverse circumstances. Please check the JCQ publication A guide to the special consideration process to see the types of adverse circumstances a student might experience in a normal year of examinations.
JCQ has also published the guidance Special consideration – Summer 2021 and Special Consideration Decision Tree that may help you.
Please note that for students who are not due to complete their Cambridge National or Cambridge Technical qualification in summer 2021, we have provided a separate and detailed set of FAQs about teacher assessed grades (TAGs). You should determine a teacher assessed grade for the units which they were due to take in summer 2021. We’ll collect those TAGs in autumn 2021.
These apply to the units where you had planned that students would be working on the assessment by the end of the summer term in 2021. You can still submit a TAG where this is the case, even if you would not have planned to submit those assessments to us for moderation until next year. Overall, the process for determining a unit level TAG for your non-certificating students is very similar to qualification level TAGs:
If you have any further questions about this summer’s grading process, you can email us at email@example.com, call us on 01223 553998 or tweet @OCR_ICT. You can also sign up to receive email updates 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.
Vinay Thawait - Subject Advisor - Computer Science, IT and iMedia
Vinay joined OCR in July 2014 to support the GQ reform and development of the AS and A Level Computer Science qualifications. Since then, he has been involved in the development of the reformed GCSE (9-1) Computer Science and Entry Level Computer Science and currently with the redevelopment of Cambridge National in IT. Before joining OCR, Vinay spent 20 years in IT and Computer Science teaching and leadership roles, working for several schools as well as local authorities. He was the National Bid Lead for the Building Schools for the Future initiative (BSF) within Capita IT, and also the Head of Operations for an audio visual educational software development company. Vinay has a degree, three post-graduate masters and NPQH from the Warwick, Coventry and Nottingham Universities.