GCSE and A level exams How will exams be handled in 2021?
This page was updated on 6th May 2021.
Arrangements for the awarding of qualifications - summer 2021
In January 2021, the Government announced their decision to cancel all public examinations this summer. In their place, schools are being asked to support Awarding Organisations by recommending a Teacher Assessed Grade (TAG) for each student in each subject.
Teacher Assessed Grades will be based on:
- The content of the course that has been taught only.
- The standard at which each pupil is performing currently.
- A holistic judgement on a specific, named portfolio of evidence.
NEC will work to support our students to gain results which are fair and representative of the level they are working at. We will provide detailed guidance so that the process is clear and manageable.
FAQs: Summer 2021 Examinations A level and GCSE - updated 6th May 2021
The following FAQs are correct as of 6th May 2021 and have been developed in good faith using the information that we have to date. Please be aware that NEC has to follow the guidance provided by Ofqual and the awarding bodies.
No. If you think that the work you have submitted to NEC does not reflect your true potential then we would strongly advise you to defer your exams until the next available session. Awarding organisations will be offering an additional session this autumn. Should you need to extend your course enrolment to cover you until the autumn, we will do this free of charge. Just let us know!
An administration fee will now be required to defer.
An assessment team comprising the subject lead tutor, the staff tutor, your subject tutor and the Head of Centre. Your subject tutor will be closely involved because they will have marked your assignments, but the grade will go through a rigorous process of standardisation and moderation overseen by the Head of Centre to ensure fairness and validity. In addition the awarding organisations will quality assure the work of centres and are responsible for determining final grades.
No. Any instances of pressure from a candidate or their parent/guardian to try and influence the decision-making will be reported to the exam board(s). If you have any concerns or questions you should direct these to email@example.com.
Unfortunately not. Although you are no longer physically sitting exams at a centre, the process of grading will require significant administration. In addition, an exam entry still has to be in place for you to receive a grade.
You should not consider a predicted grade to be indicative of the TAG you may be awarded: TAGs may be lower or higher than the predicted grade you have received previously, as the eligibility criteria determined by the academic staff will be different than the criteria for awarding predicted grades.
For CAIE subjects (combined science and geography IGCSE) students will complete a past paper under exam conditions. These students have already been contacted.
For other subjects, these will be in the form of ‘academic conversations’. These conversations will focus on the knowledge and understanding of the subject which you displayed in your course assignments and/or the application of your knowledge and understanding through discussing or solving one or more exam-style questions. Students will be contacted by 4th May if they have been selected.
Any access arrangements that were in place for summer 2021 examinations will be taken into consideration.
Additional assessments will be used to validate and confirm judgements based on academic course assignments.
Above all, they are an opportunity for you to discuss and/or demonstrate your knowledge of content which you have already studied. As such, it balances the evidence of the assignments and adds to the basket of evidence used to award you a grade. They will only cover areas of subject content which you have previously studied in your assignments and are not graded.
We will be sending you the Terms and Conditions for the grading of your TAG and as part of that we will be asking you to sign a declaration to confirm that the evidence is all your own work. For the avoidance of doubt, submitting work that has been done by someone else and persistent borrowing of other people’s work without citation are obvious instances of plagiarism and are regarded as cheating. Copying answers from social networking sites or paying for work/answers from other sources and submitting it as your own is also classed as cheating.
It is essential that you read the Summer 2021 NEC Malpractice Policy which can be found on the Exams and Assessment page of learn@nec and under 'Key documents' listed at the top of this page.
No. The NEA increases the amount and breadth of evidence which can be used to determine a fair grade for you and is beneficial in this sense. You are not penalised by not completing this.
No. However, they may be used to strengthen your evidence.
No, you should not assume this. TAGs will be based on a wider range of evidence and will be guided by the awarding organisation grade boundaries. Your TAG may therefore be higher or lower than your average assignment grades.
To determine your TAG we will only use the evidence we have of your performance during your course. This is true for all students. Depending on your particular course, the types of work which we will use as evidence are: your academic course assignments, NEA, practical endorsements, Independent Research Project (IRP), past papers and additional assessments. Course assignments designed for the notional first year of study will be weighted at 45% and those for the notional second year will be weighted at 55%. The amount and range of evidence may differ between students and between courses. In accordance with JCQ Guidance on the determination of grades for A/AS Levels and GCSEs for Summer 2021 you will be made aware of the evidence that is going to be used and should understand that the range of evidence used to determine a grade is not negotiable.
The percentage marks you see in the reporting on your course in learn@nec are made up of a number of activities e.g. quizzes, and do not represent your grade or assignment progress on the course. You should not use the percentage marks for Grades or Grade Weighting in the Grades Overview report, or any other percentage mark as an indication of your course grade or likely TAG. The marks shown against the course list on the Courses I am taking page on learn@nec are not an indication of your grades, but an indication of how much of the course you have looked at or worked through, including the quizzes and activities. Again this is not an indication of your course assignment marks or grades and should not be used as an indication of your TAG.
Your course assignment mark will be indicated in the Grade Overview report in the Grade column as a numeric mark, for example 24.00 and the grade range is in the column next to it so that you can see what the mark is out of.
Yes. You should expect to see your endorsement result on your Statement of Results and certificate as normal.
No. However, our assessors will take into account any circumstances they are aware of when grading. If you haven’t already alerted us, please do so before 4th May.
No, this information will be confidential. We will not be allowed to share this with you and you must not ask your tutor or NEC for this information.
You should complete any practical endorsement sessions as planned and this will not need to be repeated. There is currently an Ofqual consultation in place to finalise the details of the autumn exam session and what this means for Non-Examination Assessments. Once we know more we will update you.
There will be an appeals process. Further details will follow once the official guidance is published.
Yes, if you are resitting exams, please let us know and we will discuss this further with you.
Yes. However, you would need to pay again to be entered and both grades would stand.
- Ofqual - A message from Simon Lebus, Chief Regulator, on exams 2021 (published 06/01/21) - https://www.gov.uk/government/news/a-message-from-simon-lebus-chief-regulator-on-exams-in-2021
- Ofqual - Simon Lebus responds to the Secretary of State's letter of 13 January 2021 (published 13/01/21) - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/simon-lebus-responds-to-the-secretary-of-states-letter-of-13-january-2021
- Ofqual - How qualifications will be awarded in 2021 (published 25/02/2021) - https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/how-qualifications-will-be-awarded-in-2021
- Ofqual - Decisions on how GCSE, AS and A level grades will be determined in summer 2021 (published 25/02/2021) - https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/964597/6747-1_decisions_-_GQ_consultation_on_awarding_grades_in_2021.pdf