Centre Assessed Grades 2021

Information about grades and appeals for GCSE’s and A-level’s in 2021

Please read the following carefully before submitting an appeal

How were my grades arrived at this year?

Grades this summer were based on Centre Assessed Grades (CAGs). CAGs were submitted to the exam boards by us as a holistic assessment of pupils’ performance in a subject, following a rigorous process of assessment, moderation and quality assurance.

Our processes and the grades awarded were then approved by the relevant exam board, following external quality assurance checks.

In some cases, the CAGs we submitted may have been reviewed by the exam board, who may have asked us to submit an alternative grade. However, any changes to the grades we submitted were done by professional teachers or reviewers; this year no grades have been changed as a result of an algorithm.

What do I do if I am not happy with my grade?

All pupils and students have the opportunity to appeal their grade if they meet the eligibility criteria (see below). It is important to note that an appeal may result in a grade being lowered, staying the same, or going up. So if a an appeal is submitted and the grade is lowered, the lower mark will be awarded.

There is also the option to re-sit GCSEs in the autumn, which may be preferable to some pupils. The design, content and assessment of these papers will be the same as in a normal year.

What are the grounds for appeal?

There are five main grounds for appeal, as dictated by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ). They are:

  1. You think we have made an administrative error: an example of this would be putting the wrong information into a spreadsheet.
  2. You think we have made a procedural error: this means we have not properly followed our own process, as approved by the exam board. An example of this would be where you have been told you should have received extra time for assessments but this was not given in a certain subject/s.
  3. You think the academic judgement on the selection of evidence was ‘unreasonable’: you think the evidence used to grade you was not reasonable.
  4. You think the academic judgement on the grade you were given was ‘unreasonable’

What does ‘unreasonable’ mean?

‘Unreasonable’ is a technical term in this context and means that no educational professional acting reasonably could have selected the same evidence or come up with the same grade.

This means that just because other forms of evidence may have been equally valid to use, the selection of evidence is not unreasonable. Because of the flexibility of the approach this year, every school and college will have used different forms of evidence.

It also means that the independent reviewers will not remark or grade pupils’ evidence. Instead, they will look to see whether any teacher acting reasonably could have arrived at the same grade.

What will be the outcome of an appeal?

At either stage of the appeals process (see ‘What are the two stages of an appeal?’ below), a grade may go up, stay the stay, or go down. When placing an appeal the pupil/student will have to sign a declaration saying that they accept the fact their grade may go down and they may get a lower grade than their original CAG.

What is a priority appeal?

Priority appeals will be handled more quickly than other appeals, where possible before UCAS’s advisory deadline of 8 September.

Priory appeals are only open to A-level students starting university this autumn, who have missed out on the conditions of their firm or insurance offer. JCQ cannot offer priority appeals for GCSE pupils.

What should I do before appealing?

Pupils and students must read this JCQ Student Guide before appealing.

We may not be able to offer as much advice and guidance on the likely success of an appeal this summer as we would in normal years, as we have already moderated and quality assured all the grades ourselves.

What are the two stages of an appeal?

All appeals, on any of the grounds above, must first go through a centre review via the school. At this stage, we will check for any administrative errors, and check that our policies and procedures were followed correctly. Our policy has already been approved by the exam boards, so we are only ensuring that we followed this properly.

The outcome of the centre review will be communicated to pupils when made.

At the centre review stage, if we find that a grade should go up or down, we will ask the exam board to change it. They will then consider this request.

Following the outcome of a centre review, pupils/students may still choose to pursue an awarding organisation appeal. They must fill in the form below, which we will then send on their behalf to the exam boards. Pupils/students or parents cannot send appeals directly to the exam board themselves – it must come from us.

The outcome of the awarding organisation appeal will be communicated to pupils/students when made.

How do I make an appeal?

Following results days, pupils/students should fill in the first section of the school appeal form which can be downloaded here, and send it to:  exams@st-christophers.org

What are the deadlines for priority appeals?

The suggested deadline for requesting a priority appeal is 16 August (students cannot appeal before results day).

We will attempt to complete the centre review by 20 August*. If students wish to progress this to an awarding organisation appeal, they must send the completed form to us by 23 August for priority appeals.

*At both stages of the appeals process, there may be the need for specialist, expert knowledge (e.g. subject teachers, SEND knowledge). This may not be possible in August. In such cases, we may have to wait until the start of term, but priority appeals will still be treated as a priority.

What are the deadlines for non-priority appeals?

Non-priority appeals are any A-levels or GCSEs or vocational qualifications, where a firm or insurance university place is not pending.

The deadline for submitting a centre review is 3 September; and the deadline for submitting an awarding organisation appeal is 10 September.

Appeals received after these dates may still be considered.