Centre Assessment Grades - The Process
Along with other schools and colleges, St Dominic's has had to formulate and upload to exam boards a set of Centre Assessment Grades (CAGs) for our students taking A levels this summer.
Departments were asked to draw on everything they know about the student and to try to give an honest, accurate, realistic assessment of the grade they would have got had the exams proceeded. Teachers were asked to do this with professional integrity. Staff were instructed that the judgment should not be based on work since the shutdown but on the whole 18 months from September 2018-March 2020. Teachers were told to use all the assessment information they had including classwork and homework, half term grades, mock results, UPEs, any coursework or other assessments. Teachers were told to use ‘professional experience’ based on their knowledge of the student and how they were progressing to form an overall holistic judgement. Departments were free to vary the weight they gave to different assessments. In some subjects, for example, there was a significant coursework mark to draw upon.
For students with extra time, special needs, access arrangements, etc, teachers judged the grade that these students would most likely have achieved if they had been able to sit their examinations with the intended reasonable adjustment or access arrangement in place. Teachers were aware of those students who are entitled to extra time in exams and this was taken into consideration in the production of the CAGs . Once teachers had completed the CAGS these grades were checked by the Study Plus Department to ensure that all those with special needs/extra time had been accurately and fairly assessed.
A student whose progress and likely exam grade have suffered because of family circumstance or illness, for example, should be predicted the grade they were actually heading for. We would not seek to compensate for their ill fortune by giving them a higher grade.
Departments also had to rank the students at each grade. Some did this statistically by averaging different weighted assessments; others did this through discussion, or a mixture of both.
Heads of Department submitted their grades and ranking to the member of the Senior Leadership Team responsible for their area, and a discussion took place to test their robustness, to compare the grades with results from previous years, and consider any justification for significantly better results than previously.
The grades and ranking were then sent to the Principal for further examination, including uploading to ALPS Connect to assess value added scores. The SLT referred several sets of data back to departments for modification or further discussion before the final grades and ranking were sent off to the exam boards. The exam boards will then moderate and adjust these grades to ensure fairness and integrity across the country as a whole, and final grades will be published by the boards on August 13th.