St Dominic’s Sixth Form College - Teacher Assessed Grades - 2021
The College has followed all the national guidance from Ofqual, JCQ and the relevant Awarding Bodies to formulate the Teacher Assessed Grades for the Summer 2021 submissions in the light of the cancelling of examinations in January this year. Recent information from Ofqual can be re-read by clicking the link below.
Our Centre Policy, which was shared with all second year students and their parents was approved by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) and is available on the website under Our College, Teacher Assessed Grades 2021. This policy has been the guide by which we have formulated the TAGs.
Awarding of Grades this year
It is important to note that the grades we have awarded for the April/May exams will be the most significant component of your TAG for the vast majority of subjects where examinations took place. This is in line with JCQ guidance.
The results of the April/May internal examination series are on SiD under the Reviews tab. We put a greater emphasis on the April/May exams as they are the most recent internal exams and show the candidate's performance at the end of the two-year course, in line with JCQ guidance.
Furthermore, they were carried out in highly secure conditions and students entitled to extra time or specific access arrangements, received them. We have mainly avoided using half-term grades (apart from Mock Examinations) as the HT grades are often formulated from tests which students do not take at the same time, so the results are not as secure. Please see the Centre Policy for more information.
Your Teacher Assessed Grade is not an average of the grades in the evidence basket as some assessments are more significant for judging your current performance than others. The exam boards will check our grades and may change them before results day.
UCAS predicted grades, or any trajectory grades, were not allowed to be used in the Teacher Assessed Grade process. The Teacher Assessed Grades are about performance not potential.
On May 20th and 21st College was closed for students. Staff used this time to check all your exam papers extremely carefully, ensuring that all marks were counted accurately and carefully transferred to the Awarding Body spreadsheets. We have already carried out a full administration check and all subject team leaders have signed a document to confirm all this has been done accurately.
The results this year (provisional) are the highest the College has ever had. We have been as fair as possible to you, our students. We strongly advise you to take these results and to move forward with your education/employment in the Autumn Term.
If you are not happy with your results you can take your exams in the Autumn Series 2021 in late October. Should you wish to do this please email Exams@stdoms.ac.uk by September 1st, stating which subject(s) you wish to take in October. A refundable deposit will be required. It is important to note that when the results from the October series are published you will keep the higher grade out of the TAG or the Autumn exam series result. It is important to consider very carefully whether it is wise to take an exam in the Autumn series. Only 3% of the cohort of students nationally took advantage of this opportunity last October.
The Appeals Process
Please read the document above from Ofqual which has a section on appeals. Also read the documents on the website on appeals. Your grade could go down if you appeal. The document from Ofqual clearly states that grades will not be changed if the grade awarded is reasonable. Another grade could reasonably have been awarded, but the current grade could also be reasonable. If so, it will not be changed as it is considered by the Awarding Bodies as reasonable. It is important that you note the following points:
- "the appeal questions whether the original decision was a reasonable one, and not whether other reasonable decisions could have been made
- a grade will only be changed if there was an error when determining or submitting the grade, or if the grade given could not have reasonably been reached based on the evidence presented”
The Awarding Bodies and JCQ have set a very high bar for an appeal to be successful. On Results day, if you wish to discuss an appeal, please email TAG2021@stdoms.ac.uk. Please see the form Appendix B on the website, which JCQ says you will have to complete. Stage One is called “Centre Review” and is an administration and procedural check. Once this has been completed there is Stage Two which is called “Appeal to awarding organisation”.
Please note that you cannot appeal because you are unhappy with the evidence that was used. JCQ and Ofqual both state that “Your college alone will decide which evidence to use to assess the standard at which you’re performing. They will try to use the same sources of evidence for everyone in your class/cohort.” “It is not a negotiation.”
You are advised to tell your university if you are appealing. The evidence used for each subject is recorded on a document from JCQ called an Assessment Record. These are available on the website and students were told what evidence would be used during their lessons after lockdown in March 2021. It also contains a rationale for the choice of evidence and how it was used. Remember, the government asked teachers to award grades based on a holistic, objective judgement of performance, using their professional judgement. They emphasised that evidence should be secure and that recent assessment is a better reflection of a student’s current performance. See note below:
Ofqual April page 7 “More recent evidence is likely to be more representative of student performance”. Page 8 “Centres should be confident that work produced is the student’s own and that the student has not been given inappropriate levels of support to complete it” Page 7 “mock exams taken over the course of study”, “Student work produced in centre-devised tasks that reflect the specification, that follow the same format as exam board materials and have been marked in a way that reflects exam board mark schemes” can be used as evidence.
Once again, and finally, please read the Centre Policy and review the process flowchart and the other information already emailed to you by the Principal and that is on the website including the Assessment Record for each subject and JCQ guidance on Special Consideration. If you have any questions about the TAG process, you can email TAG2021@stdoms.ac.uk.
A level Results day is Tuesday 10th August. College is closed but you can email us on TAG2021@stdoms.ac.uk. Your results will be on SiD under the Exams tab from 8.30am. It is not possible to receive results over the phone. Check UCAS Track to see if you have got your place.
If you need any help with UCAS or Clearing, please email UCAS2021@stdoms.ac.uk. If your question is for a particular tutor, please put their name in the subject line.
Thank you for taking time to read this and all the other related documentation. We have followed the process as prescribed by the Government and hope that you are assured that we have done the very best we can for you all after such a period of unprecedented disruption.
(June 14th 2021)
St Dominic’s Sixth Form College
Teacher Assessed Grades 2021
Update on the Appeals Process
We have received further information recently about the appeals process, which is summarised below and is important for second year students to note.
Section 6.25 page 23
"The purpose of the independent review is not to review marking of individual assignments. The independent reviewer will consider whether the original Teacher Assessed Grade decision was reasonable. The independent reviewer will not consider whether they would have given an alternative grade or whether an alternative grade could also reasonably have been given."
The exam board will not be remarking your scripts. This year is not a normal exam year where you can ask for remarks, grade boundaries and find out how close you are to the next grade. This is not available this year as there were no exams nationally. Schools have all done different things to arrive at the TAGs.
Section 6.26 page 24
"The reviewer will only conclude that there has been an unreasonable exercise of academic judgement if the Teacher Assessed Grade was clearly wrong – i.e. there was no basis upon which the grade could properly have been given."
It is tempting to immediately ask for an Appeal, but we need to advise you to be cautious as this year is different to last year. If you appeal you do not have grade protection this year, in other words your grade could go down. Please remember that, as a Centre, we have tried our very best to help you get good grades.
It is important to note the following:
- that our overall grades in 2021 are higher than last year and previous years as we have taken into account the considerable disruption you have had since March 2020 as a result of the pandemic and ultimately to support our students as comprehensively as possible. Hence there is a chance that your grade will actually go down if you decide to appeal and if it does, you cannot withdraw your appeal, you have to keep the lower grade.
- in line with our Centre Policy, which was approved by JCQ, we carried out thorough marking standardisation and moderation, sometimes with other schools / colleges too. A significant amount of time has been spent double checking your exam papers, checking the marking, checking the adding up, checking that no pages were left out. Two teachers from every subject (the Head of Subject plus one other) have signed off all the grades (one teacher plus the Principal / SLT if there is only one teacher like in Music). Subject staff have completed JCQ Head of Department / Subject checklists and Centre Administration check forms too. Furthermore, all grades have been checked by our MIS manager, our Exams manager and the Principal. The ‘checking process’ has been thorough, detailed and comprehensive.
- That any student entitled to extra time had this arranged and these grades have also been checked by our Study+ Manager and the Assistant Principal with responsibility for SEND. And finally, any students who were entitled to special consideration have had this assessed by the Assistant Principal, in line with the strict JCQ guidance, and allowances have been made where allowed.
The Appeal Process
There are two stages to an appeal.
Stage one is a Centre Review (administration check and procedure check). Any Appeal has to do this first so please go to our website and complete Appendix B by clicking the following link
https://www.stdoms.ac.uk/attachments/download.asp?file=735&type=pdf Centre number 12756.
Your grade could go down if we find an administration error that lowers your grade. As a Centre, two full days were allocated for checking marks and transposing them to spreadsheets so an administrative error is highly unlikely. As a Centre, we have followed our ‘Centre Policy’ which was approved by JCQ and followed the guidance from the Awarding Bodies, JCQ and Ofqual (see website).
Please then send it to APPEALS2021@stdoms.ac.uk
Stage two is appeal to the awarding organisation (exam board) - to apply you need to complete Stage 2 of the same form that has your Stage 1 on it, Appendix B. This is complex and you must complete the process accurately.
You must wait for us to complete your Stage 1 appeal before completing the form for Stage 2 (this is the JCQ system). If you are appealing about mitigating circumstances, you had to have told us about these before 11 May (see email from the Principal) and the rules are extremely strict to qualify for this (see website and the JCQ guidance emailed to you by the Principal).
It should be noted that the evidence used by the College to formulate the Teacher Assessed Grade was not a "not a negotiation" and Centres had to use the same evidence for all the class/cohort.
Finally, the determination of the Teacher Assessed Grade itself, as long as your Teacher Assessed Grade is a "reasonable" grade considering the evidence, then it will not be changed. Just because another reasonable grade could possibly have been awarded does not mean that the Teacher Assessed Grade is unreasonable, so it will not be changed. The Awarding Bodies have made it a very high bar for appeals to be successful.
You are advised to tell your university if you are appealing, but they are under no obligation to hold a place open for you. Have your UCAS ID ready should you contact the university.
Autumn Series exams 2021
The Autumn Examination Series will cover the whole syllabus not the reduced syllabus and all the exam papers. If you wish to be entered for the Autumn Series, please email Exams@stdoms.ac.uk but not until Results Day (August 10th), stating which subject you wish to sit. The deadline is September 1st.
The Autumn Series exams will be set by the Awarding Bodies and will cover the full specification just like exams in normal years, unlike the reduced content in the April / May exams 2021. The results are issued on December 16th 2021 so universities will not keep places open. You would have to start university in September 2022. You would have to reapply via UCAS as usual, our internal deadline of November 1st applies except for Vet/Med/Dent/Oxbridge which is September 15th. We can lend you a textbook and provide access to Sharepoint, but there will not be any teaching available. If you prefer to wait for your results on December 16th, please make sure your UCAS form is ready apart from these grades. Then send it to us as soon as possible. We will not be offering predicted grades apart from the Teacher Assessed Grades because we are no longer teaching you.
Students should email Exams@stdoms.ac.uk
Refundable deposit of £50 per subject.
Provisional examination dates October 4th to October 22nd 2021 and it is worth bearing in mind that it would be 6 months since your last lessons. Last year only 3% of students nationally sat the Autumn series with the vast majority moving forwards with the grades they received in August.
We hope that this update is useful for you.
Andrew Parkin - Principal (5th July 2021)