Dear Year 11 students and parents of Year 11 students,
I am writing to update you with the latest information that we have with regards to exams, grading and future learning for Year 11 students. I have also included a link below to the Department for Education website, which I would advise you to check regularly.
The information on exams and grading is largely unchanged since we spoke to Year 11 last Thursday in the hall school. We continue to await the specific guidance from the government on how teacher judgements should be derived and submitted. Please be reassured that, whilst we don’t yet know what this will look like, we will continue to act in our students’ best interests within the rules set out for us. The most up to date information from the Department of Education can be found here. I have also included some of the most pertinent information from this link at the bottom of this page.
In terms of what happens right now and in the very near future, at Prospect we are aware that different schools are taking varying approaches. At the start of last week (which seems a very long time ago now!) all Year 11 teachers set work for their classes in case of school closure and to prepare them most effectively for their upcoming exams whilst at home. This work can and should still be completed by Year 11 students so that they can develop their knowledge and skills to finish the Key Stage 4 Curriculum. We believe that the biggest risk to students’ education at this point is standing still and risk losing vital academic study skills and routine. It is crucial that students keep up their good study habits and learning, ready to begin their Key Stage 5 or other post 16 courses in September. The leap to Sixth Form study is already a considerable one without a six-month break in learning.
As a result, we will continue to provide work for all Year 11 students and highly recommend that they undertake this in all subjects. This may come in the form of continued completion of work already set or of any outstanding coursework tasks. Your son/daughter’s teachers will be able to provide more details of this.
In addition, all departments will shortly be providing an extended curriculum offer to all Year 11 students. This will come in the form of an extended enrichment task and will encourage a deeper dive into and around their subject. It will include independent research work to both inspire and excite our Year 11 students and, in the final summer term be an introduction to Key Stage 5 study. These tasks will appear on class Charts from next week.
At this current time, we have no other information other than what I have provided in this letter and the link to the Department for Education website. Year 11 teachers are unable to respond to specific questions regarding predicted grades so we would advise against students e-mailing them directly to request this information. We also strongly advise all Year 11 students to continue to follow the advice on social distancing and to think of additional things to do to keep their body and brain active and look after their mental and physical health. Please do contact me at the school should you have any further questions or queries and we will endeavour to keep you updated with the latest news, guidance and advice from the Department of Education.
Mrs S McCavish
Assistant Headteacher – Progress and Outcomes
What will happen to those who have already done some non-exam assessment?
The calculated grade process will consider a range of evidence including, for example, non-exam assessment and mock results, and the approach will be standardised between schools and colleges. Ofqual is working urgently with the exam boards to set out proposals for how this process will work and will be talking to teachers’ representatives before finalising an approach, to ensure that the approach taken is as fair as possible.
How will you address the fact that students from disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to have their grades under-predicted?
We are not awarding students their predicted grades. Ofqual, the independent qualifications regulator, will develop a fair and robust process that considers a broad range of evidence, including teacher assessment and prior attainment. Ofqual will make every effort to ensure that the process agreed does not disadvantage any particular group of students.
Pupils who do not feel their calculated grade reflects their performance will have the opportunity to sit an exam, as soon as is reasonably possible after schools and colleges open again.
Is this an entirely new system?
Exam boards have experience of using moderated teacher assessment to award grades to a number of students, such as those who fall ill immediately before an exam. Ofqual will draw on this experience when developing the process to be used this year.
Will universities/colleges/sixth forms accept these calculated grades?
The calculated grades awarded will be formal grades, with the same status as grades awarded in any other year.
University representatives have already confirmed that they expect universities to be flexible and do all they can to support students and ensure they can progress to higher education.
What if I am unhappy with my grade?
We will work closely with Ofqual and awarding organisations to ensure candidates are awarded a fair grade that recognises the work they have put in. If a student does not believe the correct process has been followed in their case, they will be able to appeal on that basis. In addition, if they do not feel their calculated grade reflects their performance, they will have the opportunity to sit an exam, as soon as is reasonably possible after schools and colleges open again. Students will also have the option to sit their exams in summer 2021.
What about vocational and technical qualifications?
No exams will be taking place in schools and colleges this summer.
There is a very wide range of different vocational and technical qualifications as well as other academic qualifications for which students were expecting to sit exams this summer. These are offered by a large number of awarding organisations and have differing assessment approaches – in many cases students will already have completed modules or non-exam assessment which could provide evidence to award a grade. We are encouraging these organisations to show the maximum possible flexibility and pragmatism to ensure students are not disadvantaged. Ofqual is working urgently with the sector to explore options and we will work with them to provide more details shortly.