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Summer 2021 GCSE Results and Appeals Process
On 4 January 2021, the Government announced that it was no longer fair for the Summer 2021 examination series for GCSEs to go ahead due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The government set out its policy regarding providers submitting students’ grades, in a letter dated 23 February 2021 (Letter from Gavin Williamson to Ofqual (publishing.service.gov.uk)).
This year’s GCSE grades or Teacher Assessed Grades (TAGs) are based on teachers’ assessments of the standard at which students were performing and are based on the student’s demonstrated knowledge and skills.
Teachers decided on an overall grade based on selected evidence and completed assessments (as verified by the College). They did this objectively – so, if a student was performing consistently at a grade 4 standard in a subject at GCSE Level, they would have been awarded a grade 4. It is important to say that much like with exams in normal years, the grades issued by teachers have not taken account of a student’s potential. They are a snapshot of the standard a student was performing at based on a wide range of evidence.
Once a grade was determined by your teacher, it was reviewed by a team in the Organisation to ensure grades were determined consistently, in line with the ‘Teacher Assessed Grades (TAGs) Policy’ (ref BAC-C-09). These results were then reviewed by the exam boards who designed each course, before awarding the final grades.
Full details of the guidance for students and parents issued by Ofqual and the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) are available here on the JCQ website.
Deciding to Appeal
If you have a concern about a grade that you have been awarded, you can appeal. To help you decide whether to appeal, you can request that the college shares with you the following information:
- the Teacher Assessed Grades (TAGs) Policy (ref BAC-0C-09)
- the sources of evidence used to determine your grade along with any grades/marks associated with them
- details of any special circumstances that have been considered in determining your grade, e.g. access arrangements, mitigating circumstances such as illness
You can do this by submitting a Data Subject Access Request (DSAR). To do this please complete and submit the DSAR form or email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, student number, date of birth and post code. Ensure you include the GCSE subject(s) your DSAR relates to and the information you would like us to provide.
If you believe an error has been made in determining your grade, you will have a right to appeal. There are two stages to the appeals process:
Stage 1 Appeal: College Review
If you don’t think you have been issued with the correct grade, you can appeal to the college, who will review whether we have:
- made an administrative error, e.g. we submitted an incorrect grade; we used an incorrect assessment mark when determining your grade.
- did not apply a procedure correctly, e.g. they did not follow our Centre Policy, did not undertake internal quality assurance, did not take account of access arrangements or mitigating circumstances, such as illness.
To make an appeal, please complete and submit the GCSE appeal form and include evidence of the error made. Please see the Time Scales section below for submission dates.
Stage 2: Appeal to Exam Board
If you still don’t think you have the correct grade after the college review is complete, you can ask the college to appeal to the exam board, who will review whether:
- the college made an unreasonable exercise of academic judgement in the choice of evidence from which they determined your grade and/or in the determination of your grade from that evidence.
- the college did not apply a procedure correctly, e.g. they did not follow their Centre Policy, did not undertake internal quality assurance, did not take account of access arrangements or mitigating circumstances, such as illness.
- the exam board made an administrative error, e.g. they changed your grade during the processing of grades.
At both stages of the process you will need to submit your appeal to the college and give us your written consent to conduct the appeal or submit it to the exam board on your behalf. It’s important to remember that your grade can go down, up or stay the same through either stage of the process. Please see the Time Scales section below for submission dates.
If you have a place at university or college that is dependent on your appeal, you should tell the university or college you are hoping to go to so they can decide how to handle your offer. You should also tell the college so we can ask the exam board to prioritise your appeal. The timelines for priority and non-priority appeals will be as follows:
10 August to 7 September: priority appeals window
- 10 August to 16 August: student requests centre review
- 10 August to 20 August: centre conducts centre review
- 11 August to 23 August: centre submits appeal to exam board
10 August to end October: majority of non-priority appeals take place
- 10 August to 3 September: student requests centre review
- 10 August to 10 September: centre conducts centre review
- 11 August to 17 September: centre submits appeal to exam board
Certificates, when received from the awarding body, will be issued to candidates by the College immediately.