Qualifications 2021

Assessment Approach for Qualifications in 2021
Please see the attached document for full details on our assessment approach.

Qualifications Wales Guide to Qualifications 2021
Qualifications Wales has released a guide on 2021 qualifications you can find below

A letter was sent to parents and carers of pupils in KS4 and KS5

Centre-Assessment Approach for Qualifications in 2021
In November 2020, the Education Minister announced that there would be no summer examination series for pupils taking GCSEs, AS levels or A levels in 2021. In January 2021, it was confirmed that these qualifications would be awarded using Centre Determined Grades. This means that individual examination centres, such as schools, would determine the actual grades awarded for each qualification.

The assessment approach is designed to outline how the school, as an examination centre, will apply the ‘Guidance on Alternative Arrangements for Approved GCSEs, AS and A levels’ provided by Qualifications Wales, the examination regulator, to help determine grades in 2021.

Centre-Determined Grades
A Centre Determined Grade is the grade awarded by the school, as an examination centre, on the basis of attainment which has been demonstrated in the areas of the qualification content that a pupil has covered. For each qualification, teachers will make use of WJEC Assessment Frameworks which include descriptors for key grades to support the accurate distribution of awards. Each grade awarded by the school must be underpinned by robust evidence to demonstrate a pupil’s attainment across key themes and skills. These will vary per qualification, as determined by the requirements of each WJEC Qualification Assessment Frameworks. It will not be possible or permitted for teachers, or the school, to attempt to issue a Centre Determined Grade based on professional prediction or the potential of a pupil. Teachers will be required to apply their professional judgement and decide whether the knowledge and skills demonstrated meets the usual standard for a specified grade.

In determining grades, the school will be required to make ‘best-fit’ judgements. This means that pupils are not required to demonstrate all aspects of a grade descriptor to be awarded the grade; pupils should be awarded a grade which supports evidence of attainment across sufficient breadth of content, within the specified qualification, as determined by WJEC; and may achieve the same grades by demonstrating different combinations of knowledge, skills and understanding. This ensures that strengths in some areas counterbalance shortcomings in others. As a result, the ‘best-fit’ grade may be awarded. Where there is insufficient evidence, or where evidence suggest attainment is below that required of the lowest grade for a qualification (ie. G grade at GCSE) then a pupil will be awarded a Centre Determined Grade of U.

The evidence used for Centre-Determined Grades
Centre Determined Grades will be generated using evidence of work completed by a pupil, using the adapted specification content. In determining a grade, the following types of evidence can be used in each qualification

For each qualification, WJEC will provide subject staff with a Qualification Assessment Framework, which will set out the requirements to support the evidence to inform a Centre Determined Grade.  These frameworks provide a degree of flexibility to support the school’s local context.  However, they will ensure there is a degree of consistency to maintain public confidence in the qualification system and the approach taken in Wales in 2021.

The Centre Determined Grade will be generated using evidence of work completed by a pupil, using the adapted specification content.

In determining a grade, the following types of evidence will be used in each qualification

Contributing evidence

A. Teachers may use evidence from previously completed WJEC past-paper questions, which:

  • have been externally quality assured, with a published mark scheme; and
  • where they have been completed under controlled conditions; and

B. Pre-public exams that were sat in November 2020, as pupils were written to, to be made aware that the outcomes of these mock exams would contribute to their Centre Determined Grade in the event of examinations being cancelled in the summer 2021. Where these were complete WJEC examination papers, the outcomes will have a greater weighting when determining the Centre Determined Grade.

Adapted past-paper questions
The school will make use of WJEC adapted past-papers when setting tasks to help determine a grade for each qualification.  There are recognised benefits of using these materials.  The adapted past-papers have already been externally quality assured, are fully supported by clear mark schemes and are familiar to both pupils and staff. Where necessary, due to time constraints, teachers will have the option of amending these papers to reduce the content, however, this will then be reflected in the weighting in relation to the Centre Determined Grade awarded. Teachers will ensure these past- papers, which will form a key part of the evidence, will be incorporated within their delivery of teaching and learning, in replacement of other activities undertaken in lessons.

 Non-Examination Assessment
NEA exists in many qualifications. Teachers will use the performance of pupils in this element to help contribute towards the determination of a grade. However, teachers will need to consider the weighting of this element to ensure that the grade awarded accurately reflects the overall standard.

All assessments to support the awarding of Centre Determined Grades will be completed by Friday 21st  May 2021.

Quality Assurance Processes
In line with usual practices, WJEC will require internal processes to be undertaken to promote consistency. The school will undertake quality assurance processes, within subjects and across subjects, to ensure the grades determined are valid, reliable, equitable and fair, while seeking to avoid discrimination.

Recording Decisions
The school will keep a record to document clearly the rationale for grade decisions. This will include clarity of explanation which pupils and their parents/carers will understand. Decision records will detail who assessed the evidence and when; the decision taken; identification of any reasonable adjustments or special considerations applied; and where the evidence is safely stored. On submission of a Centre Determined Grade, the school will be required to make an overall declaration in relation to the processes carried out.

Review of Centre Determined Grades and Appeals

As set out in the Minister of Education’s announcement on 20th January 2021, the appeals process will have three stages:

Stage 1 - a school-based review of the provisional Centre Determined Grade on the grounds of judgement and/or a procedural error has been made.
Stage 2 – an appeal to WJEC on the grounds that the judgement that the centre has made is unreasonable and/or a procedural error has been made.
Stage 3 – a request to Qualifications Wales for an Exam Procedures Review Service (EPRS) to review whether WJEC has followed the required procedures.

Stage 1 – the school-based review stage will allow pupils to request a review of the school’s judgement of their grade and/or correct any errors. This will be completed before the submission of Centre Determined Grades to the WJEC. The school will provide an effective mechanism for pupils to request a review of their provisional grade.

Centre Determined Grades are provisional until qualification grades are issued by WJEC on results days.

The school will provide pupils with a provisional Centre Determined Grade by 25th June and submit them to the WJEC by 2nd July. If a pupil wishes their grade to be reviewed, this can be requested before they are submitted to the WJEC. The review of pupils’ grades will be similar to the internal moderation process. Where a review has been requested, it will be considered by a member of staff who was not the original assessor. The Head of School will also review that the school’s processes have been followed. New or additional evidence will not be considered as part of the review process. Where a review has been upheld, the Centre Determined Grade will be amended.

At each stage of the review/appeal process, pupils should be aware that a Centre Determined Grade may be improved or lowered.

Public Sector Equality and Data Processing

In developing an approaoch to the Centre Determined Grades, the school has taken steps to ensure it meets its Public Sector Equality Duty. This is a legal requirement and forms part of the Equality Act (2010), which ensures due regard to the need to

  1. Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct that is prohibited by the Equality Act (2010)
  2. Advance equality and opportunity between people who share a relevant characteristic and those who do not
  3. Foster good relations between people who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who do not

The school will ensure it meets data protection and processing regulations. This may result in modifications to existing policies and practices. However, it is anticipated that joint examination regulators may coordinate this to provide assurances that data is handled appropriately and for the intended purposes.

Final Results Days

AS/A level                                 10th August 2021

GCSE                                           12th August 2021

Timeline – key dates for learners

By Easter

Your school or college will tell you how you will be assessed and graded for your qualification

12th April – 28th May

You should have face to face teaching and some additional assessments

By 25th June

You will receive your provisional Centre Determined Grades and you will have the opportunity to ask for your grades to be reviewed

14th June – 2nd July

Your school or college will submit the provisional Centre Determined Grades to WJEC

10th August

AS and A level Results Day

10th August – 7th September

You will have the opportunity to appeal your AS or/and A level result to WJEC

12th August

GCSE Results Day

24th August – 21st September (provisional)

Post results day

You will have the opportunity to appeal your GCSE result to WJEC

You will have the opportunity to appeal to Qualifications Wales for an Exam Procedures Review Service (EPRS)