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Exam appeals 2021

This page contains information about exam appeals for both Year 11 and Year 13 students - for the summer of 2021 only.

 

Collecting results

  • Year 13 students will receive their exam results on Tuesday 10 August 2021.
  • Year 11 students will receive their exam results on Thursday 12 August 2021.

You can read more about arrangements for collecting results on our dedicated webpage here.

 

The appeals process

Schools have worked tirelessly to ensure the awarding of exam grades is both thorough and robust. Teachers have ensured that the evidence they have used is the most supportive in making a professional and holistic judgement. Nevertheless, JCQ and OFQUAL have put in place an appeals process for students.

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 which are outlined below.

 

Important information:

Please be aware that, in making an appeal your grade can go down, up or stay the same through either stage of the process. In addition, all appeals must be made and completed by the student. By signing the appeals forms you are consenting to your grade being raised, being lowered or staying the same.

In addition, please note that the school will not enter into discussions about grading whilst processing appeals.

 

Stage 1: centre review

If you do not think you have been issued with the correct grade, you can appeal to school. You need to fill in the 'Stage one - centre review' section of the Appeal Form (which can be downloaded from this page; you can also collect paper copies at school on results day).

You can appeal for a centre review if you think:

  • there has been an administrative error by the school (e.g. the wrong mark/grade was recorded against an item of evidence)
  • and/or a procedural error by the school (e.g. we did not follow our centre policy, such as not implementing a reasonable adjustment/access arrangement for an eligible student; or we did not undertake internal quality assurance).

Please ensure that:

  • you only complete the section 'Stage one - centre review'
  • the student signs the form 
  • you do not post or hand over any forms in person as our reception will not be staffed all summer
  • instead please email to: exams@silverdale.chorustrust.org 

The result of your stage 1 appeal will be emailed back to the email address you used to send us your form.

Please be aware that you can withdraw your request to appeal before the investigation by school is closed; however, you cannot withdraw it once we have investigated.

 

stage 2: appeal to the exam board

If, following the result of the school review, you still believe you do not have the correct grade, you can ask school to appeal to the exam board. In making an appeal you will need to go back to your Appeal Form and complete 'Stage two - appeal to awarding organisation'

On the form you will need to specify the precise reasons behind your decision to appeal. You can appeal to the exam board if you think:

  • there has been an administrative error by the awarding organisation i.e. the exam board, (e.g. they changed the grade during the processing of grades)
  • there has been a procedural error by the centre i.e. the school, which was not corrected at stage one; or you believe the centre did not conduct its review properly and consistently, (e.g.  we did not follow our centre policy, such as not implementing a reasonable adjustment/access arrangement for an eligible student; or we did not undertake internal quality assurance)
  • the school 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.
    Please be aware that requests for appeals on the grounds of academic judgement will only be considered by awarding organisations (at Stage Two) and not by school.

Please ensure that:

  • you only complete the section 'Stage two - appeal to awarding organisation'
  • the student signs the form 
  • you do not post or hand over any forms in person as our reception will not be staffed all summer
  • instead please email to: exams@silverdale.chorustrust.org 

The result of your stage 2 appeal will be emailed back to the email address you used to send us your form.

Please be aware you can withdraw your request to appeal before the investigation by the exam board is closed, however, you cannot withdraw it once a finding has been made.

Please also note where a student submits an appeal on more than one ground (e.g. the awarding organisation is asked to review both procedures and the exercise of academic judgement), the appeal process is likely to take longer. This could be an important consideration for students who urgently need the outcome of their appeal.

 

priority appeals: key dates

JCQ and Ofqual have clearly stated that priority appeals are exclusively for students who have not attained their firm university place.

Students completing priority appeals will need to use their UCAS personal ID on their appeal forms and they will need to let their university place know that they are awaiting the outcome of an appeal. All other appeals will be dealt with as non-priority. 

The deadline for requesting a priority appeal is 8am on 16 August 2021 (students cannot appeal before results day on 10 August).

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 8am on 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.

ACTIVITY DATE
A-level results day Tuesday 10 August 2021
Deadline for you to submit priority appeal (stage 1 - centre review) 8am on Monday 16 August 2021
Deadline for school to complete priority appeal (stage 1) Friday 20 August 2021
Deadline for you to submit priority appeal (stage 2 - awarding body) 8am on Thursday 23 August 2021

 

non-priority appeals: key dates

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

ACTIVITY DATE
A-level results day Tuesday 10 August 2021
GCSE results day Thursday 12 August 2021
Deadline for you to submit non-priority appeal (stage 1 - centre review) 8am on Friday 3 September 2021
Deadline for you to submit non-priority appeal (stage 2 - awarding body) 8am on Friday 10 September 2021

 

 

Frequently asked questions

How were my / my child's grades arrived at this year? 

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

These grades were then approved by the relevant exam board, following external quality assurance checks.

In some cases, the TAGs 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’m not happy with my / my child’s grade? 

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

There is also the option to resit GCSEs, A-levels 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.

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 board. 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.

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 (see ‘What are the two stages of an appeal?’ below), a student’s grade may go up, stay the stay, or go down. When placing an appeal the 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 TAG.

What’s a priority appeal? 

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

Priority 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.

If you decided not to confirm a firm or conditional offer and to go through clearing instead, JCQ cannot offer you a priority appeal.

JCQ cannot offer priority appeals for GCSE students, unfortunately.

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 Mr Naylor or Mrs Food 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 i appeal? 

Students must read the JCQ Student and Parent guide before appealing, which will be available on the JCQ website by results days.

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. 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 students 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, 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. 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 students when made.

How do I make an appeal? 

Following results days, students should fill in the first section of the JCQ form here and send it to exams@silverdale.chorustrust.org

What are the deadlines for priority appeals? 

The deadline for requesting a priority appeal is 8am on 16 August (students cannot appeal before results day on 10 August).

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 8am on 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, GCSEs or vocational qualifications, where a firm or insurance university place is not pending.

The deadline for submitting a centre review is 8am on 3 September; and the deadline for submitting an awarding organisation appeal is 8am on 10 September.

You know my  / my child’s grades. Why can’t you tell us? What if you know we haven’t met our university conditional offer? 

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.

Although students may have been given marks or grades on single pieces of evidence, we cannot disclose the final submitted TAG.

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).

We only know what a student’s conditional offer is if they have chosen to share that information with us. It has not formed part of our objective grading of students. Where we do know this information, we must not let students know their submitted TAGs, even if they haven’t met the conditions of their offer.

 

 

useful documents

Below you can find some useful documents which have been published previously.

national guidance & forms 
exam centre policy 
Assessment strategy information booklets 

These were sent out, detailing the assessment strategy for each subject:

Letters sent home to date