Centre Assessed Grades – Summer 2020
The government published guidance to schools to clarify the procedures that would be put in place for the awarding of GCSE’s, A Levels and equivalent qualifications for 2020.
On 18 March 2020, the Secretary of State announced that the summer 2020 exam series would be cancelled in order to help fight the spread of the coronavirus (Covid19) and that students due to sit the exams would be awarded a grade based on an assessment of the grade they would have been most likely to achieve had exams gone ahead. On 23 March, in a written statement to Parliament, the Secretary of State explained the Government’s intention that results would be issued to this year’s cohort based on a range of evidence and data, including performance on mock exams and non-exam assessment.
For every GCSE, AS and A level subject, exam boards will require each school, college or other exam centre to submit the following information:
• a centre assessment grade for each student – the judgement submitted to the exam board by the Head of Centre about the grade that each student is most likely to have achieved if they had sat their exams. This professional judgement is derived from evidence held within the centre and which has been reviewed by subject teachers and relevant heads of department/subject leads
• the rank order of students within each grade – for example, for all those students with a grade of 5 in GCSE maths, or a grade B in A level biology, a rank order where 1 is the most secure/highest attaining student, and so on.”
The full statement, from which the above extract has been taken, can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/887018/Summer_2020_Awarding_GCSEs_A_levels_-_Info_for_Heads_of_Centre_22MAY2020.pdf
The process for awarding results in vocational subjects such as BTEC, NCFE and other qualifications was similar to that of GCSE and A Levels, although with some differences due to the nature of how those qualifications are assessed.
The process that was undertaken by us, as a school, was in line with the guidance provided to us by Ormiston Academies Trust. Click here to read this guidance
Quality Assurance and Standardisation
Ofqual outlined the standardisation process that takes place once the Head of Centre submits the Centre Assessed Grades on page 9 of the guidance document for parents, carers and teachers. This standardisation process was built into the OAT process to support Academies to produce grades that would not be further moderated by Ofqual. The standardisation process aims to ensure that grades have been awarded fairly and that there is consistency across all centres. Within this document Ofqual pointed to the following sources of evidence:
previous national results in the subject
the prior attainment of its students this year compared to previous years
the school or college results in recent years
A more detailed infographic from ofqual explaining this process can be found here
*For AS/A levels, the standardisation will consider historical data from 2017, 2018 and 2019. For GCSEs, it will consider data from 2018 and 2019, except where there is only a single year of data from the reformed specifications.
**The statistical model will consider prior attainment at school or college level, not at individual student level.
Ofqual state in their guidance that:
“If grading judgements in a subject in some schools and colleges appear to be more severe or generous than others, exam boards will adjust the grades of some or all of those students upwards or downwards accordingly. This means that the centre assessment grades submitted by schools and colleges and the final grade that students receive could be different. It also means that adjustments to centre assessment grades might be different in different subjects”
Within our internal process, as guided by OAT, we took into account the standardisation model outlined by Ofqual. Heads of Department, Heads of Faculty and the Senior Leadership Team all scrutinised the data sets produced as a result of the Centre Assessed Grades process against historic results in line with the timeframes outlined above. This was done at subject level as well as across the whole cohort. The Senior Leadership Team scrutinised grade distribution in comparison to previous years as well as comparing Centre Assessed Grades against expected performance based on prior attainment such as Key Stage 2 and GCSE results. This process was important given that no two cohorts are the same in terms of prior attainment.