Teacher assessed grades appeals

Overview

Teacher assessed grades appeals will be a cause for concern for teachers and schools this year. Already there are reports of parents contacting lawyers about how to appeal against their children’s grades.

Schools Week explains that students can request that their school reviews their teacher assessment grade for procedural problems or administrative errors.

If they are not satisfied, their school will escalate an appeal to exam boards, which will consider whether the grade was a “reasonable exercise of academic judgement” based on the evidence available.

In this article, we look at the appeals process for teacher assessed grades and what you can do if you are accused of exam malpractice.

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Teacher assessed grades appeals: what is the process?

The Department for Education (DfE) explains that every student will have the right to appeal their grade if they so wish. Before a grade is submitted, teachers should make students aware of the evidence they are using to assess them. Students will then have the opportunity to confirm the evidence is their own work and make their teachers aware of any mitigating circumstances they believe should be taken into account.

If a student wishes to appeal, centres should undertake an initial process review to check all processes were followed correctly and no errors were made. If the school or college finds an error, they can submit a revised grade to the exam board.

If the student still wants to appeal, they will ask their school or college to submit a formal appeal to the exam board for them. The exam board will check the centre followed its own processes and exam board requirements as well as reviewing the evidence used to form their judgement and providing a view as to whether the grade awarded was a reasonable exercise of academic judgement.

If the exam board finds the grade is not reasonable, they will determine the alternative grade and inform the centre.

Ofqual’s Exams Procedure Review Service (EPRS)

In cases of disagreement between the centre and the exam board, or if the student disagrees with the centre or the exam board, the case can be referred to Ofqual’s EPRS. The exam board’s decision on the grade following appeal will stand unless the EPRS finds that the exam board has made a procedural error.

Appeals are not likely to lead to adjustments in grades where the original grade is a reasonable exercise of academic judgement supported by the evidence. Grades can go up or down as the result of an appeal.

Teacher assessed grades appeals: student perspective

GOV.UK has published a blog post providing advice for students on how to submit an appeal. it explains:

An appeal will only be successful if either an error is found or the grade awarded or the selection of evidence are found to be an unreasonable exercise of academic judgement.

The exam boards will not be able to consider appeals that are based solely on differences of opinion. If you want to improve your grade you might want to consider entering for the autumn exam series.

What might happen to my grade during the centre review and appeals process?

If you request a centre review or an exam board appeal, there are a range of possible outcomes:

  • Your original grade is changed, so your final grade will be different than the original grade you received. Your grade can go up or down.
  • Your original grade is confirmed, so there is no change to your grade.

Once a finding has been made you cannot withdraw your request for a centre review or appeal. If your grade has been lowered, you will not be able to revert back to the original grade you received on results day.

When do I need to submit my request?

There are priority and non-priority appeal routes. Priority appeals are only for students applying to higher education who did not attain their firm choice (i.e. the offer they accepted as their first choice) and wish to appeal an A level or other Level 3 qualification result. All other appeals must follow the non -priority route.

You should submit a request for a centre review by 16 August 2021 for a priority appeal, or by 3 September 2021 for non-priority appeals.

Once you have received the outcome of your centre review, if you wish to request an awarding organisation appeal you should do so as soon as possible. Your school or college will submit this on your behalf.

Schools and colleges submitting requests for awarding organisation appeals on behalf of students should do so by 23 August for a priority appeal and 17 September for non-priority appeals.

Does that mean teachers and school staff are working over summer holidays for appeals?

In most cases subject teachers won’t be needed for centre review during the summer holidays, as much of the work needed can be prepared in advance of summer.

In a minority of cases where a previously unforeseen issue or error arises, a teacher may need to input to help to resolve the appeal swiftly. This would only be in the summer for priority appeals – where a student needs the outcome of their appeal to take up their ‘firm’ higher education offer.

We are incredibly grateful for teachers’ hard work to help students get their qualifications and exceptionally for this year, we are providing £75 for each priority appeal which exam centres can use to compensate staff for the work involved in processing those appeals this summer.

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