Bethan Foulkes, Science Subject Advisor
Here at OCR we’ve had lots of queries from centres in recent weeks about marking non-exam assessment (NEA).
There have been questions about how to apply the mark scheme and the adaptations that have been put in place. We’ve also had questions about administrative requirements, and most particularly about whether any allowances should be made when marking for the abnormal and difficult circumstances many students have had to contend with while completing their assignments.
As the JCQ guidance on NEA marking says:
“When you come to assess your students’ NEA, you should mark all NEA using the published mark schemes, as you did before the pandemic disruption. If you have more than one person marking your NEA, you must carry out standardisation activities as usual in an exam year, to ensure all your markers are marking to the same standard and using the relevant mark scheme.
You must not try to account for disruption your learners have experienced by marking more leniently than you would normally. Teachers should not be making holistic and speculative judgements about overall performance or potential. Your marking should be based solely on the completed work in accordance with the published mark scheme. Exam boards will moderate all NEA in the usual way this year.”
In the light of that recent JCQ announcement, and the queries we’ve had from you, we thought it would be helpful to provide a quick summary of the support available to ensure that you are marking to the correct standard.
There are several resources that will help you have confidence in your application of the mark scheme for both the practical task and the end-of-item tests:
General information on NEA administration is available on our website.
For guidance on access arrangements and reasonable adjustments that can be made for entry level candidates, see pages 95 and 96 of the JCQ adjustments document.
For Entry Level Science specifically there are a couple of points to remember:
We hope that your students enjoy studying Entry Level Science. Remember, there are resources on our website to support you with delivering the course.
We have produced teaching activity packs for each topic. These have made use of resources for the previous version of the Entry Level Science course, which have been updated where necessary. Other resources have been added, alongside a teacher guide with further suggested activities that could be carried out. Each unit has also been mapped to both Gateway Combined Science and Twenty First Century Combined Science.
The principal moderator has produced a series of support sheets for the practical task. These cover six different practicals and enable students to complete the write-up required for the practical task, even if they are unable to carry out the practical itself.
If you have any questions, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, call us on 01223 553998 or tweet us @OCR_Science. You can also sign up to subject updates and receive information about resources and support.
Bethan joined OCR in April 2019 and is a subject advisor for Entry Level Science, GCSE Sciences and Applied Science. Before joining OCR, Bethan taught Biology to 11–18-year-olds for eight years. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Bethan mentored PGCE students and NQTs in science and oversaw all the trainees and NQTs within the school as a professional tutor. In her spare time, she enjoys dressmaking, quilting and many other different crafts.