The government has confirmed that students will receive teacher assessed grades this year. GCSE and A level exams will not go ahead in summer 2021 due to the disruption caused by Covid-19.
For those who find exams stressful teacher assessed grades may be welcome, but others might worry that their teachers could award them lower grades than they might have achieved in final exams.
In this post we talk about what steps you can take now to ensure you receive the teacher assessed grades you need and deserve.
What evidence will teachers use to award final grades?
The government has stated that teachers can use evidence of students’ work from any stage in the course to inform their judgement. They must draw upon a broad range of evidence which could include mock exam results, written coursework and test results – the evidence will depend upon the nature of the course. Exam boards will set optional questions that teachers can also use to help them to determine grades.
Teachers do not have to submit grades to exam boards until 18th June. This is so they can gather evidence over as long a period of time as possible to ensure grades are fair and accurate.
For more information about the evidence teachers can use read Ofqual’s, Decisions on how GCSE, AS and A level grades will be determined in summer 2021.
How can I improve my teacher assessed grades now?
From today you need to put as much effort as you can into every online lesson, essay, test and mock exam your teacher sets for you. Make sure you attend every lesson unless you have a very good reason not to do so.
When grades are based on a final exam result it is possible for students to compensate for any weaker assignments they may have submitted by revising extra hard towards the end of the course. In 2021, however, effort must be sustained over a longer time, which takes far greater dedication and focus.
You need to be able to:
- Manage your time effectively. Create a study routine for yourself and stick to it. Make sure your timetable is realistic and remember that work often takes longer than you think when you’re planning. For tips on time management, see our blog post, Ways to teach children time management skills.
- Choose the best place to study. Everyone is different – some people like a bit of background music and other people need total silence. If you live in a noisy house it might be worth investing in some noise-cancelling headphones. Find somewhere where you are less likely to get distracted.
- Balance your time. It is important to get enough sleep, to eat healthily, to spend some time exercising (even a 20 minute walk twice a day makes a difference) and doing the things you love. Spending all day in a bedroom is not good for your mental health and can be counterproductive. See our blog post, 10 stress-busting tips for students.
- Revise effectively for mocks and tests. In our blog post, Exam resits: your guide to a fresh start we share tried-and-tested revision techniques that really do work.
When will I receive my exam results?
A level and AS level students will receive their results on 10th August and GCSE students will receive their results on 12th August.
Can I appeal if I’m unhappy with my teacher assessed grades?
The government has stated that ‘all students have the opportunity to appeal their grade’.
If you are unhappy with your grade the first step is to talk to your school or college to find out whether an administrative error has been made. Should the school or college find a mistake they can submit a revised grade to the exam board. If the exam board agrees with their decision you will be awarded a new grade.
If your school or college stands by the grade they have awarded you then you can ask them to appeal to the exam board on your behalf. Your school or college will submit evidence for the exam board’s judgement and the exam board will decide whether your grade should change.
In the event that you don’t agree with the exam board’s decision, you can appeal to Ofqual’s Exams Procedures Review Service.
It is important to remember that when you appeal your grade it can go down as well as up.
Will I have the option to resit my GCSE or A level exams in the autumn?
The government has not yet announced whether resits will take place in autumn 2021 for those who are unhappy with their teacher assessed grades. However, it is widely expected that they will do so. For more information see, Ofqual’s Decisions on how GCSE, AS and A level grades will be determined in summer 2021, p. 11-12.
In 2020 60% of students who resat GCSE subjects (excluding English and maths) in the autumn term improved upon their grade.
Would you like support to improve your teacher assessed grades?
Your dedication and hard work over the next few months will ensure you achieve the teacher-assessed grade you deserve.
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