Exams

Qualifications – summer 2021

The coming weeks and months will be unusual for us all as we are not working to prepare you for summer exams as we would normally.  This is because the Department for Education (DFE) have stated that exams are to be cancelled and, instead, for each subject you are studying you will be awarded grades based on “teachers’ judgements of your performance in each subject based on a range of evidence”. 

 

Your teachers already have lots of evidence about your performance in each subject – they keep tracking sheets where all your scores and marks to date are recorded.  Most importantly, they will add to these over the coming weeks.  This means you and your teachers will be working together to both consider the evidence that they already have for you in each subject and to produce further evidence.  We will not be spending time covering aspects of the courses that you have not already studied.  Instead, we will spend time:

  • Identifying your strengths and areas for development on content already covered

  • Revising and ‘closing the gap’ on these areas to enable you to show your best knowledge and skills

  • Providing further opportunities for you to develop your bank of evidence for every subject

 

We think this approach will enable you to provide your teachers with a range of evidence showing your best possible performance in each subject area, thus allowing your teachers to award you with the highest grades they can.  

 

Your grades are in your hands – attendance and engagement are key:

To achieve this, you need to attend school every day and engage with your lessons and your teachers and try your very best with all work, assessments, homework and revision set.  Teachers will also provide revision materials, homework tasks and after school lessons. All of this will ensure you have every opportunity possible to provide them with the best evidence you can. 

 

Final decisions on the grade to award you for each subject will be based on as wide a range of this evidence as possible.

 

Ensuring rigour and consistency:

To ensure that the teacher judgements are fair and rigorous, we have already started working with our colleagues across Arden Multi-Academy Trust.  All four schools within the Trust are going to follow the same processes and procedures.  We have already started talking to and with your teachers about what evidence might be comprised of in each subject area and we have lots of checks and balances planned with a range of staff across the Trust and in school to enable us to ensure a fair and consistent approach to this. We understand our processes are going to be checked by the exam boards too.  

 

As well as keeping detailed tracking sheets, we have already asked your teachers to collate pieces of your best work for each subject so we can not only share our marks but also ‘prove’ the grade we award to you for anyone who asks.  Your teachers will need your help to collate this. 

 

If you have old exercise books or mock papers or the like at home (from year 10 onwards) then now is the time to start gathering these things together ready to give your teachers – anything will be of use!

 

All of this means we are very confident that we can help you get the best grades possible this summer in each of your qualifications.

 

Reporting:

Whilst we cannot tell you what those final grades are going to be, your teachers will communicate with you every step of the way so you know exactly what evidence they have for you and what sort of grade or marks each piece of evidence is approximately equivalent to. That means there should be no surprises about what grade you are going to receive in each subject. 

 

The report you received recently, which can be found on INSIGHT, shows Working at Grades (WAGs) for each subject.  This provides you with an indication of the grade level that we already have evidence for.  However, there should be no cause for concern as there is both time and opportunity to improve these grades through additional evidence which will continue to be gathered.

 

Given the arrangements we face, we do not believe it would be useful to hold a Parent/ Carer Consultation Evening in March as originally planned.  Instead we plan to hold a webinar which all students, parents and carers can log in to and have questions answered live.  This will be held on Thursday 01 April 2021, time to be confirmed.   However, parents/ carers can contact subject teachers as they require as normal, via office@lodeheath.org.uk or by calling our reception on 0121 704 1421.

 

Key dates:

  • We are required to submit all grades to the exam boards by Friday 18 June 2021 so we will stop collecting evidence a short while before this. 

  • The last official school day for year 11 students this year is Friday 25 June.  We await further instruction from the Government about when you will last be expected to attend school. 

  • Results day is Thursday 12 August.  We will be publishing results remotely and will be available for support and queries over email and by telephone. 

  • Webinar – Thurs 01 April 2021, time to be confirmed.  Further communication will follow. 

 

Appeals:

If you are unhappy with your grade on results day, you will be able to request us to check for errors and to ensure the process has been followed correctly.  We hope that there will be little need for this as we are sharing with you the evidence on which our judgements will be made so there should be no surprises.  However, further details on appeals will follow nearer the time. 

 

We understand that exams are being planned for the Autumn term should you wish to sit them if you think you can secure a higher grade. 

 

We hope this information helps you understand how this process will work although we appreciate that the coming weeks are likely to cause some worry and concern for many of you.  We do hope, however, that the supportive and transparent nature of the process means this will be less difficult than the original exams would be.  Nonetheless, we will do what we can to support you all so please maintain communication with your teachers and let us know if you are struggling; we will do whatever we can to support you. 

 

Lastly, we are also here to support you as you prepare for life after Lode Heath. Please don’t forget, we recommend that you make applications to several post-16 providers, so you have a range of offers from them to consider on results day. We have access to independent Information Advice and Guidance and can also provide support on progression routes and related issues.  You can contact Mr Davies on gjdavies@lodeheath.org.uk

 

FAQs:

 

  1. I’ve not finished studying the course.  Is that a problem?

    1. No. you will not be penalised for not finishing a course.  Instead a wide range of evidence will be used to assess your knowledge/ skills across the content of each course you have studied.

  2. I’ve got coursework/ NEAs to complete.  Should I finish them?

    1. Yes.  Since there is time left, every effort should be made to complete unfinished coursework or NEAs.  This would provide excellent evidence on which your teachers can (at least in part) base their judgements.  However, you may not get them completely finished.  That’s ok too. 

  3. Will there be more mock exams in school?

    1. No.  But there will be assessments and other opportunities in class for you to show your knowledge/ skills to add to the evidence base your teachers already have, but there will be no full mock exams. 

  4. What does a ‘range of evidence’ mean?

    1. Evidence can be everything – previous mock papers, interim assessments, end of topic tests, class/ book work, homework tasks etc.  Teachers keep tracking sheets which details your marks, scores and grades over time.  They will add to this evidence bank over the coming weeks.

  5. I am not happy with my WAG.  Is that the grade I am going to be given?

    1. No.  The evidence production and gathering is not over.  You still have time to add to the evidence teachers already have to prove the grade you think you should be awarded. 

  6. I don’t think my mock exams (or other evidence) shows my true potential.  Can I give you more evidence?

    1. Yes, definitely.  Teachers will plan opportunities for you to demonstrate your knowledge and skills to prove the grade you think you should be awarded.

  7. Can I do work at home and bring it in for my teacher to look at?

    1. Yes, you can. However, the grades decided on by teachers must be underpinned by a range of evidence.  This means that can’t all be based on work you did at home/ outside of school because we must sign to say we know that they work is your own – we can’t do that if it’s all work you have produced at home, away from your teacher who makes the decision. 

  8. How can I be sure that my teacher will be fair?

    1. Teachers will be working together to standardise and moderate the work for you that they mark to ensure a consistent standard between teachers. This will also be checked across our Trust.

    2. Senior leaders at Lode Heath will check the work on each department to ensure that the grades being suggested match the evidence we have access to.

    3. Arden Multi-Academy Trust senior leaders as well as exam board staff will also check this too.

  9. Will I be disadvantaged if I have been isolating or need to isolate?

    1. No.  because we are able to consider a range of evidence, we will be able to work around this. 

    2. If you need to isolate in the future, but are well enough to work from home, we will encourage you to do so and continue to submit evidence. 

  10. How will my grade be worked out?

    1. Teachers will consider the range of evidence that they have for you and they will award the grade that ‘best fits’ the evidence available to them.  That does NOT mean that you will be awarded the grade of your highest or lowest piece of evidence. 

    2. For example: just because your lowest piece of evidence is a grade 3, we would not award a grade 3 overall.  Similarly: if your highest piece of evidence was a grade 8, that also does not mean we would award a grade 8 overall.

    3. A range of evidence must be considered and not all pieces of evidence will carry equal merit. 

  11. I am entitled to extra time/ a scribe/ a reader.  How will this be taken into account?

    1. Teachers or support assistants can read to you in lessons for assessments and tests etc as you require. 

    2. You will be able to use extra time as necessary to complete assessments in class. 

  12. Can you tell me (or my post-16 provider) what grade I am going to get or what my predicted grade is?

    1. No.  We are still gathering evidence we cannot tell you the grade.  But you will know what evidence we have so that will give you a good idea.

    2. Our process to ensure fairness and consistency is very thorough so it wouldn’t be fair to tell you a grade before that process was complete.

    3. You can provide colleges and other post-16 providers your WAGs from your AP1 report.  This is also what we provide to them on any references they request. 

    4. We can also work directly with post-16 providers on your behalf to help you secure appropriate offers from them if necessary.