As we move towards results days (10th August for A levels and 12th for GCSE) we now know how the appeals process will work this year. If your feel that your grade is incorrect then please read the following carefully.
How were student grades arrived at this year?
Grades this summer were based on Teacher Assessed Grades (TAGs). TAGs were submitted to the exam boards by us as a holistic assessment of students’ performance in a subject, following a rigorous process of assessment, moderation and quality assurance.
These grades were then approved by the relevant exam board, following external quality assurance checks.
In some cases, the TAGs we submitted may have been reviewed by the exam board, who may have asked us to submit an alternative grade. However, any changes to the grades we submitted were done by professional teachers or reviewers; this year no grades have been changed as a result of an algorithm.
What do if students think their grade is wrong?
Students have the opportunity to appeal their grade if they meet the eligibility criteria (see below). It is important to note that an appeal may result in a grade being lowered, staying the same, or going up. So, if a student puts in an appeal and their grade is lowered, they will receive the lower one. Once an appeal is made it cannot be withdrawn if it results in a lower grade.
There is also the option to re-sit GCSEs and A levels in the autumn, which may be preferrable to some students. The design, content and assessment of these papers will be the same as in a normal year.
What are the grounds for appeal?
There are five main grounds for appeal, as dictated by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ). They are:
- You think we have made an administrative error: an example of this would be putting the wrong information into a spreadsheet.
- You think we have made a procedural error: this means we haven’t properly followed our own process, as approved by the exam board. An example of this would be where you’ve been told you should have received extra time for assessments but this wasn’t given in a certain subject.
- You think the academic judgement on the selection of evidence was unreasonable: you think the evidence used to grade you was not reasonable.
- You think the academic judgement on the grade you were given was unreasonable.
What does ‘unreasonable’ mean?
‘Unreasonable’ is a technical term in this context and means that no educational professional acting reasonably could have selected the same evidence or come up with the same grade.
This means that just because other forms of evidence may have been equally valid to use, the selection of evidence is not unreasonable. Because of the flexibility of the approach this year, every school and college will have used different forms of evidence.
It also means that the independent reviewers will not remark or grade students’ evidence. Instead, they will look to see whether any teacher acting reasonably could have arrived at the same grade.
What will be the outcome of an appeal?
At either stage of the appeals process (see ‘What are the two stages of an appeal?’ below), a student’s grade may go up, stay the stay, or go down. If placing an appeal, you must sign a declaration saying that you accept the fact their grade may go down and may get a lower grade than the original TAG.
What’s a priority appeal?
Priority appeals will be handled more quickly than other appeals, where possible before UCAS’s advisory deadline of 8 September.
Priory appeals are only open to A level students starting university this autumn, who have missed out on the conditions of their firm or insurance offer.
If you decided not to confirm a firm conditional offer and to go through clearing instead, JCQ cannot offer you a priority appeal.
JCQ cannot offer priority appeals for GCSE students.
When making a priority appeal, students will have to include their UCAS number so it can be confirmed that it is a genuine priority appeal.
What should I do before appealing?
Students should read the JCQ Student and Parent guide before appealing, which will be available on the JCQ website by results days.
We will not be able to offer as much advice and guidance on the likely success of an appeal this summer as we would in normal years, as we have already moderated and quality assured all the grades ourselves.
What are the two stages of an appeal?
All appeals, on any of the grounds above, must first go through a centre review. At this stage, we will check for any administrative errors, and check that our policies and procedures were followed correctly. Our policy has already been approved by the exam boards, so we are only ensuring that we followed this properly.
The outcome of the centre review will be communicated to students when made.
At the centre review stage, if we find that a grade should go up or down, we will ask the exam board to change it. They will then consider this request.
Following the outcome of a centre review, students may choose to pursue an awarding organisation appeal. You must fill in the form, which we will then send on your behalf to the exam boards. Students and parents cannot send appeals directly to the exam board themselves – it must come from us.
The outcome of the awarding organisation appeal will be communicated to students when made.
How do I make an appeal?
Should you feel that you have a genuine case to request a review of your grades then you must use the form ‘Appeals Summer 2021’ which you can request from firstname.lastname@example.org using your college email address so that we know it is you.
This email address will be used for all communications about appeals. All appeals must come from you through this channel using this form.
What are the deadlines for priority appeals?
The suggested deadline for requesting a priority appeal is 16 August (students cannot appeal before results day on 10 August).
We will attempt to complete the centre review by 20 August*. If students wish to progress this to an awarding organisation appeal, they must send the completed form to us by 23 August for priority appeals.
*At both stages of the appeals process, there may be the need for specialist, expert knowledge (e.g. subject teachers, SEND knowledge). This may not be possible in August. In such cases, we may have to wait until the start of term, but priority appeals will still be treated as a priority.
What are the deadlines for non-priority appeals?
Non-priority appeals are any A levels, GCSEs or vocational qualifications, where a firm or insurance university place is not pending.
The deadline for submitting a centre review is 3 September; and the deadline for submitting an awarding organisation appeal is 10 September.
Appeals received after these dates may still be considered.
We are forbidden from disclosing the Teacher Assessed Grades to any third party, including students and parents, until results days. Any teacher or member of staff who does this is committing exam malpractice.
If you require information about what marks you were given in a subject for the work that contributed to your grade you can request this through email@example.com
Obviously, I hope that none of this is relevant and that you have the grades that you think you deserve and that you need. I do know that overall the colleges expected results look very good at this point in time.
Best wishes for your results and in the future.
Head of Curriculum