What do I do if I’m not happy with my grade?
All students have the opportunity to appeal their grade if they are not happy with it. It is important to note that an appeal may result in a grade being lowered, staying the same, or going up. This means if a you put in an appeal and your grade is lowered, you will receive the lower grade.
There is also the option to resit GCSEs, A levels, Core Maths and some AS levels in the autumn, which may be preferable to some students. The design, content and assessment of these papers will be the same as in a normal year.
For BTEC and Cambridge Technical courses there will be the option to take external units in January 2021. The exact details of how this will relate to the Q-TAGs awarded in summer 2021 is not be expected to be provided by the exam boards until during the Autumn Term.
What are the grounds for appeal?
There are four main grounds for appeal, as dictated by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ). They are:
- You think we have made an administrative error: an example of this would be putting the wrong information into a spreadsheet.
- You think we have made a procedural error: this means we haven’t properly followed our own process, as approved by the exam boards. An example of this would be where you’ve been told you should have received extra time for assessments but this wasn’t given in a certain subject.
- You think the academic judgement on the selection of evidence was unreasonable: you think the evidence used to grade you was not reasonable.
- 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. For instance, if the exam board considers that either an A or a B were reasonable and we gave you a B, then the grade will not be changed. The very likely outcome of this is that few appeals can expect to be successful.
In addition, 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 students’ 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, a student’s grade may go up, stay the stay, or go down. When placing an appeal, you will have to sign a declaration saying that you accept the fact that your grade may go down and you may get a lower grade than your original TAG. There is a form, available on the College website, that you will need to send to the College should you wish to appeal.
What is a priority appeal?
Priority appeals will be handled more quickly than other appeals, where possible before UCAS’s advisory deadline of 8th September. Priority appeals are only open to students starting university this autumn, who have missed out on the conditions of their firm offer, or for students who have the offer of an apprenticeship place dependant on their results. If you decided not to confirm a firm conditional offer and to go through clearing instead, JCQ cannot offer you a priority appeal. JCQ cannot offer priority appeals for level two students.
When making a priority appeal, students will have to include their UCAS number so it can be confirmed that it is a genuine priority appeal.
What should I do if I don’t get into my first choice of university?
First, don’t panic. Speak to the College about your options. You may wish to go through clearing, or sit the autumn exams or summer exams next year to try to improve your grade.
If you are going to appeal your grade, you must let your university know you are appealing. They will then let you know whether they will hold a place for you pending the outcome of an appeal (note that universities are not obliged to hold a place for you; this is at their discretion).
What should I do before appealing?
Students should read the following guidance before appealing. These are also available on the JCQ website:
What are the two stages of an appeal?
All appeals, on any of the grounds above, must first go through a Centre Review. 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.
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. The outcome of the Centre Review will be communicated to you.
Following the outcome of a Centre Review, you may still choose to pursue an awarding organisation appeal. You must fill in the form referred to below, which we will then send on your behalf to the exam boards. Students and 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 you when made.
What are the deadlines for priority appeals?
The suggested deadline for requesting a priority appeal is 16th August (you cannot appeal before results day on 10th August).
We will attempt to complete the centre review by 20th August. If you wish to progress this to an awarding organisation appeal, you must send the completed form to us by 23rd August for priority appeals.
What are the deadlines for non-priority appeals?
Non-priority appeals are any A levels, GCSEs or vocational qualifications, where a firm university place or apprenticeship offer is not pending. The deadline for submitting a centre review is 3rd September; and the deadline for submitting an awarding organisation appeal is 10th September.
We are forbidden from disclosing the Teacher Assessed Grades to any third party, including students and parents, until results days. Any teacher or member of staff who does this is committing exam malpractice.
During the external quality assurance process taking place in June or July, our submitted TAGs may be moved up or down (although this will always be done through human agency, not by an algorithm).