The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) has today published detailed guidance on the appeals process in place for summer 2021 results which are based on teacher assessment. This summer's appeals process provides an important safety net in the event that a student, including a private candidate, thinks something has gone wrong with the result they receive in August.
The JCQ guide covers appeals for GCSEs, AS and A Levels, FSMQ, Core Maths, Entry Level, EPQ and OCR's Cambridge Nationals and Cambridge Technicals. Endorsements (for GCSE English Language, and A Level Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Geology) are also subject to the same appeals guidance.
The document provides detailed guidance on administering the two-stage process in place for summer 21 appeals, on who can appeal and the reasons for allowing students to appeal their grade where they believe there has been an error. It also confirms the deadlines. Alongside detailed guidance on the process, the JCQ also provides some helpful checklists for schools and colleges on the procedures and the documentation they can check to spot errors and ensure students get the right grades on results day, as well as an infographic summarising steps to help minimise the need for appeals.
A centre review is the first stage of a summer 21 appeal. Students can ask schools and colleges if an administrative or procedural error has occurred. These error checks can also take place before results have been issued where prompted by a school's or college's own quality assurance processes. Requests for a Centre Review post results must be made directly by students to the school or college which submitted the grade. If a school or college finds an error in the grade they submitted, they need to send exam boards a correction request. If we agree with the revised grade, and the reason for it, we'll issue a changed grade for sharing with the student.
Before students can request stage two of the appeals process, students must first have asked their school or college to review whether an administrative or procedural error has been made i.e. completed Stage One of the appeals process. If the school or college does not agree about the error, but the student still thinks there has been an administrative or procedural error, or thinks a teacher has exercised an 'unreasonable academic judgement' in deciding a grade, a student can ask them to submit an appeal to us. All the evidence on which the judgement was made must be submitted with the appeal. We will ask independent reviewers to consider if the original teacher assessed grade was a reasonable exercise of academic judgement. Our independent reviewers would only decide if there had been an unreasonable exercise of judgement if the teacher assessed grade was clearly wrong, i.e. if there was no basis upon which the grade could properly have been given.
16 August 2021 (for priority appeals - for students applying to higher education who did not attain their firm choice, i.e. the offer they accepted as first choice, and wish to appeal an A Level or other Level 3 qualification result)
3 September 2021 (for non-priority appeals)
23 August 2021 (priority appeals - as above)
17 September 2021 (for non-priority appeals)
The JCQ guide sets out appeals in the context of grades determined by teacher assessment this summer due to exceptional circumstances. It provides a reminder of what information to share with students and their parents to minimise the likelihood of appeals on results days, such as the evidence used to determine grades, as well as centre policies. The appeals process is a further safety net, alongside other measures such as quality assurance by schools and colleges and by awarding organisations, to command confidence in grades this year and support student progression.
Today's JCQ guide follows the policy set out by Ofqual and the DfE for this summer and is designed to implement Ofqual's regulations and guidance. The consultation decisions relating to Ofqual's guidance on appeals were also published today by Ofqual.
Standard post results services that are normally in place after exams do not apply to results based on teacher assessment this summer.