Assessing Our Year 13s

5th February 2021

Dear Parent / Carer

Following on from my letter dated 1st February I am writing with more detail about the planned roadmap we have put together about gathering student assessment information in preparation for submitting school-assessed grades to the examination boards. The big caveat to this is the outcome of the Ofqual consultation, which I now believe is due out week beginning 22nd February (not that actual date as I indicated previously).

We are required to provide school-assessed working grades to the examination boards by mid-June. Ofqual have proposed that schools will base school-assessed grades on:

  1. Substantial candidate work, which we are taking to include in-house assessments using exam questions and when available examination board test papers;
  2. Non-examination assessment (NEA) for courses where this is applicable.

To achieve well in these assessments students will need to do the preparation work, so there is a need for them to engage fully in all of their learning.

This week we have spoken to Priory School teachers who teach Year 13 lessons so that they have a clear understanding of what the expectations are regarding the setting of open-book or closed-book assessments. We are due to meet with our Consortium partners (HBS and HGS) this coming Thursday to ensure that there is parity for our students being taught off site.

Assessments will be made up of exam questions with an associated mark scheme to ensure standardisation and support moderation. Further:

  • Students should know what topics the assessments will be based upon before the assessment and have prepared for these assessments as much as possible.
  • Qualitative feedback should be given to students so that they know how to improve.
  • Working-at grades will not be given on individual assessments but will be used to make an overall judgment when reporting back to parents and students.
  • In an identified assessment window students may have more than one assessment on the same day so as much notice as possible will be given to students about the timing of the assessments.
  • Assessments will be stored either in a hard copy or electronic folder for moderation and standardisation prior to submitting school-assessed grades to the examination boards.

In the table below is our initial assessment and reporting time frame for Y13 students taught at TPS. Whether we are in school or doing remote teaching we will work to the framework that has been outlined. The aim is to give all parties involved key anchor points to focus teaching and learning. This assessment and reporting time frame will be reviewed in light of the Ofqual report and further Consortium considerations for those taught off site.

We have built in three progress reporting points for parents to ensure that there is clarity as to what a student’s working-at grade is. This will help meaningful discussion to take place to identify what actions need to be taken where underperformance has been identified. The aim is to ensure that there are no unwelcome surprises for students when the examination boards issue their grades.

Time line

Date Assessment Progress check
Monday 22nd February

Friday 5th March

Open book topic-based assessment
Friday 12th March Student ‘working-at grade’ report 1
We are working on the assumption that students sitting exams this year will be back in school on 8th March. The first week back will be used to prepare students for topic-based tests coming up.
Monday 15th March

Friday 26th March

In-school topic-based assessment
Friday 16th April Student ‘working-at grade’ report 2
Monday 12th April

Friday 23rd April

In-school topic-based assessment
Friday 7th May Student ‘working-at grade’ report 2

We are expecting in May to have at least another round of assessments based on the test papers produced by the examination boards, which we will need to prepare students for. By early June we will be ready to submit our moderated school-assessed grades to the examination boards. It is our understanding that there will be a process of external quality assurance by sampling the work produced by students to justify the grades given, with provisional results being released in early July to allow for an appeals process which has yet to be determined.

Once the Ofqual report has been released I will update you with any changes to the above time frame. The key message to Year 13 is to continue to work hard and stay focused.

Take care,

Geraint Edwards