News

Letter from Headteacher (19.03.2021)

Year 11 Centre Assessed Grades – how we will approach the collection of evidence

Following the guidance that has been issued by the Department for Education and Ofqual we have been working on our plans for how year 11 students can be awarded grades fairly this year. In each subject area this will be slightly different, however we have agreed the broad principles of how students will be assessed over the coming months and I wanted to share them with you and your child as soon as possible to remove as much uncertainty as we can.

Schools are required to collect a body of evidence for each student and this evidence must be used to award the student’s grade. All schools will be carrying out similar processes but each school has the freedom to decide how they want to go about this.

In exam-based subjects, this evidence can come from either assessments produced by the exam boards which are then marked in line with the exam board mark schemes or from materials that we make ourselves that are similar to exam board materials and marked in line with the same standards as they would normally expect. We are still awaiting the release of materials from the exam boards, which is promised before Easter, and then we will be able to give both you and your child the specific details of how they will be assessed in each subject area.

Today in Year 11 Aspiring Futures lessons we have explained this process to students and if you would like to see what we have said to them then please watch the presentation which can be found here: https://youtu.be/0cgzj1uJ0f0

Principles of our assessment model:

No exams in the Hall
Firstly, we have decided that all assessments will be taken in the students’ normal classroom and students will not be doing lengthy exams in the hall. The reason for this is because our current year 11 students did not have an opportunity to take practice exams in the summer of year 10 or in February as we would normally do. Therefore, they are not used to sitting long exam papers in the school hall and performing at their best in such an environment, which does take practice over time.

Lessons will continue until the end of the first week of June
Lessons from now on will be a mixture of normal teaching, revision, practice and rehearsal of exam style questions and assessments. Therefore, between now and May half-term students will have an opportunity to do regular assessments in all their exam-based subjects so we can collect the evidence necessary to support awarding them the appropriate grade. In their assessments, students will have a chance to show that they can perform at a higher level they have previously achieved so we are encouraging them to work as hard both within lessons and in their own independent learning at home.

Students will be told in advance which work counts as evidence towards the award of their grade
Students will be informed exactly which pieces of assessed work will be used as evidence to inform their grade and so they will clearly know when assessments are happening and therefore, they will not be constantly under pressure and worrying whether a piece of classwork counts as evidence or not. Some of the assessed work that can count towards the evidence can come from assessments that have already been done and again we will be clear with students about which bits of evidence are going to be used from their previous assessments.

Many assessment opportunities will be offered for students to provide evidence
To be as fair as possible to Year 11 students we are asking subjects to make sure that students have plenty of
opportunities to show the grade that they are capable of working at throughout the six weeks after half term, but
this needs to be done in a way that is manageable for both students and staff.

Coursework
Some subjects also have elements of non-examined assessment (NEA) which is usually referred to as coursework; in
these subjects, students will continue to work on their coursework to get this assessed work to as high a standard as
they can. For example, in the Art subjects the evidence to support a grade will be 100% based upon the student’s
portfolio.

Moderation & awarding of grades
Assessments will be moderated between teachers in a subject and where possible we will moderate between schools
to ensure that our assessments are accurate and will provide strong evidence to support a grade. No grades will
be decided by individual teachers.

Verifying that all the evidence is the students own work
It is absolutely essential that every piece of assessed work used in the evidence base can be verified as the students
own work. For assessments taken in lessons, these will be done in formal test conditions in silence throughout.
Teachers will not be able to offer any support or help to students; the only exception to this is for those few
students who qualify for exams access arrangements and they will have the additional support that is their
entitlement for each assessment.

Informing students of their awarded grade
We will not be able to tell students the grade that the centre submits for them to the exam board, however in each
of the individual assessments that are being used as pieces of evidence students will be told how they have
performed so they will have a good idea of the grade that they are working at.

Spreading our Assessments used as evidence
Assessments will be spread out over the next 8 weeks of teaching and to avoid too many assessments happening in
any one week, subjects will be in groups so they will be assigned weeks where they can carry out assessments
within some of their normal lessons.

Keeping students and parents informed about the standard of their work
For transparency and openness we have asked teachers to provide a ‘Working At‘ grade for each student in each
subject which is simply the grade that the evidence so far would suggest they are working at now and this is not
the final grade. We intend to issue these Working At grades to you and your child at the end of next week and
alongside this will be guidance regarding how secure this judgement is at this time. We then intend to do exactly the
same halfway through next half-term so that once we have collected more evidence, we will be able to give an
updated Working At grade to keep you fully informed.

Date of submission of grades to exam board & Results Day
The final date for the school to submit grades to the exam board is 18th June; at this stage, all students should
expect to be in lessons in school until that date. The exam boards will publish the grades that students are awarded
in each subject on Results Day which is earlier than usual this year on Thursday 12th August.

Finally, I hope that this information reassures you that we have thought carefully about how we can generate the
conditions for your child to be able to perform at their best in each subject. We are very aware that your children
have had a much more challenging year 11 than usual and our teachers and tutors are here to provide all the
support that we can to your child and yourselves as we prepare for the assessment demands of the next couple of
months. I hope to be writing to you again at the end of next week with further information regarding this process.

Nys Hardingham
Executive Headteacher