UPDATE: Wed 6 May 2020 // 16:00
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 (COVID-19) and that students due to sit the exams would be awarded a grade based on a judgement of the grade they would have been most likely to achieve had exams gone ahead.
On 3rd April 2020, Ofqual released guidance outlining the process for AS and A Levels, GCSEs and EPQ. On 24th April, Ofqual announced a public consultation on the awarding of vocational and technical qualifications. This consultation ends on Friday 8th May.
As of 23rd March, our plan was to keep running an online college with online lessons, tutorials and college activities. We are also looking at increasing our offer of optional additional activities to keep you learning and developing your knowledge and skills. Completing the learning is a far more important process than sitting any exam. You will get a grade for your course, but your ability to use your knowledge and skills is what will allow you to succeed in whatever you do next. Therefore, completing the activities given to you by your teachers will better prepare you for your futures. This all remains true.
Updated guidance by course:
Below is some updated information and guidance by course type, recently published by The Department of Education for students affected by the cancellation of exams:
- 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.
- 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 following quotes from the guidance are important and are aligned with our previous advice.
“Centres must not, under any circumstances, share the centre assessment grades nor the rank order of students with students, or their parents/carers or any other individuals outside the centre, before final results have been issued.” Grades and ranking are required to be confidential by Ofqual and so teachers are not allowed to discuss these with students or parents/carers under any circumstances.
Ofqual have also said “There is no requirement to set additional mock exams or homework tasks for the purposes of determining a centre assessment grade and no student should be disadvantaged if they are unable to complete any work set after schools were closed.” We agree with this, but we want to encourage you to keep learning and completing work where possible to support your enjoyment of learning, your progression opportunities and to provide you with structure and guidance in these difficult times. This is also important because if you are unhappy with your calculated grades then they may be required to sit an exam in the autumn or next summer; completing no work between now and then will not support you with this. Teachers will ensure that their judgement reflects the work you have submitted over the entire period they have worked and supported you throughout your time at college.
For further guidance from Ofqual please use the following links:
On 24th April, Ofqual announced a public consultation on the awarding of vocational and technical qualifications. This consultation ends on Friday 8th May. We are making our views clear at national level, particularly our expectation that any grading system, when finalised, will reflect the same outstanding results as in previous years at Callywith College.
Ofqual are working urgently with Awarding Organisations to develop an approach for vocational and technical qualifications. Awarding Organisations (such as BTEC and UAL) are regulated by Ofqual, but it appears that each Awarding Organisation will be able to determine their own approach to the awarding of their qualifications providing that they can have confidence in their approach and that it is in line with the Ofqual guidance.
Three main approaches have been identified:
i. Award of calculated grades
ii. Adjustments or modifications to assessments
iii. Delay to assessment (last resort option)
Each Awarding Organisation will provide updates for their specific qualifications in due course which we will communicate to students and parents through the Programme Team Leaders, Course Coordinators and Personal Tutors. Students must regularly check their college email to stay up to date with the latest developments. However, lecturing staff will not be able to discuss centre assessed grades with students as these are required to be kept confidential by government regulations.
We hope students are finding participating in the online support useful; however, we do understand some students may be at a considerable disadvantage, particularly with regard to study environments that may not be ideal and without the access to college quiet study areas, face to face support and IT facilities. Therefore, we are committed to ensuring that all students whether they are able or not to engage with lesson activities, will neither be unfairly advantaged nor disadvantaged during this period of remote learning.
We continue to encourage engagement in teaching and learning, where possible, during for the remainder of the college term. We believe that structured activities and supportive communication between lecturers and students at this challenging time is beneficial to students for their mental health and wellbeing. In addition, we aim to continue to provide meaningful activities that will support students in their progression and transition, for example from level 2 to level 3, or to university, apprenticeships or employment.
It is extremely important that you continue with your studies as directed by your teachers and complete any assignments that you have started and submit any outstanding work. Any assignment work that you have at home must also be kept and stored safely for the time being. At this stage it is not clear what evidence the awarding bodies will request, but we anticipate that they will continue with a standards verification process and will ask for samples of student work in the normal way. Therefore, it is in your best interests to complete assignments and units where at all possible. You have produced a wide variety of evidence over your time at college which will be taken into account by the awarding bodies.
As you are working towards exams next summer, it is extremely important that you continue with your studies as directed by your teachers.
A1 assessments information for students:
During the week commencing 27th April, there will be no online lesson delivery for A1 students; instead, this will be the week that you will complete your A1 assessments. Teachers will be available for revision support from Monday to Wednesday but will not be available on Thursday or Friday. Your teachers will make your assessment materials available to you online from Monday 27th April, and these will also be emailed to you in the morning. You will need to complete all your assessments between Monday 27th and Wednesday 29th April. You should email (or post if required) your completed assessments to your lecturers as soon as possible (by Thursday 30th April at 8am at the latest).
We are aware that some students may not have printing facilities so you will need to follow the instructions on your assessments carefully and will be able to handwrite or word process your answers. You can help your lecturer to give the best feedback by following some guidelines. For example:
➢ Make your answers as clear as possible, whether handwritten or word processed
➢ Leave space between questions and question parts for marking and feedback
➢ Clearly label your answers by question numbers and parts
➢ If posting your responses back to college, clearly label with your lecturer’s name, your subject, and ‘A1 assessment’
We want to reassure all students that we all understand that these are challenging circumstances, but that we want to take this opportunity to support learners with their revision and exam technique. Through carrying out this assessment lecturers will be able to give feedback on what to work on next, and to address any gaps in knowledge or skills. Revision and examinations are an important skill and next year you will sit A level examinations for real.
To perform at your best requires practice at preparing for and sitting examinations, so we ask all students to take this very seriously and prepare just as you would in a college setting. Your teachers will provide useful advice on how to revise and structure your answers but in many ways, this is an opportunity for you to think more about your own self-management and organisation of your study and revision time.
Here are some useful tips to help you make the most out of your upcoming assessments:
➢ Decide when to sit each assessment and choose a time when the chances of you being disturbed are minimal
➢ Create as much of a formal examination atmosphere as you can
➢ Set a timer so that you can keep track of the time allowed for the assessment
➢ Ensure you have all the equipment that you need before you start
➢ Tell the rest of the household when you are doing your assessments and ask them not to disturb you
➢ Try to complete your assessment in the morning or afternoon (rather than in the evening when you may be more tired)
Your lecturers understand the difficult circumstances surrounding these assessments. Summer term assessments are only part of progression considerations; however, practice at examinations and assessments is very important and completion of the assignment is a progression requirement.
Lecturers will take account of a whole range of information in assessing your performance and potential. They will take into consideration the whole of your performance to date and no decision will be solely based on these assessments.
As you are currently completing the first year of a two-year course, it is extremely important that you continue with your studies as directed by your teachers. We will continue to deliver course content as planned and complete the course to ensure that you develop as much of the knowledge and skill possible to successfully build towards your second-year units.
The details released so far from the government on awarding grades for the units you are yet to complete and how this will transform into your Foundation Diploma grade still lacks detail. The advice states that “The calculated grade process will take into account 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.”
For UAL students, your teacher will advise you on how best to continue with your FMP where at all possible. We are working on a college award scheme to celebrate and showcase your amazing work even if Ofqual dictate that the FMPs will not be used for course grades as UAL have suggested.
Your EPQ tutor will be in touch with you regarding your qualification. We are hopeful that all students completing an EPQ will be able to complete their projects remotely. Your EPQ tutor will be in touch regarding deadlines.
If you are in your final year of study at Callywith, then your grade will be generated by the same system as those students completing A-level and GCSE study this year. If you are not in your final year at Callywith, then it is likely that you will submit your EPQ at the beginning of your final year (as intended before Covid-19). Therefore, it is important that all EPQ students attempt to meet the deadlines set by your tutor and complete the fantastic projects that you have started. Completing the work will also put you in a great position to strengthen your university/apprenticeship/job applications in the future.