Summer 2021 Appeals process

As you know, students’ grades have been determined by schools and colleges this year as the Government believes that teachers are best placed to do this. The appeals process is a critical safety net in the event that anything goes wrong to ensure that each learner has an individual right to appeal their grades via a transparent process of review.

Students who would have been sitting exams this summer have been through a process to reach a Teacher Assessed Grade (TAG). They have details of which pieces of work have been used to make a holistic judgement of the standard they have reached by May this year, to give them a TAG. They have had information about how their grades were to be determined this summer, so they can be assured the process has been fairly and consistently applied.

Reasonable adjustments, exam access arrangements and special consideration have been logged and considered, where appropriate.

The grades have been through internal quality verification processes involving the teachers, course team leaders, Faculty Heads as well as the Senior Leadership Team and have been submitted to the awarding bodies by the deadline of 18th June 2021.

Our policy determining this process is available here

The appeals process for summer 2021 only allows students to appeal their grade where they believe there has been an error. The JCQ student guidance for appeals will be found at JCQ-Guidance-for-Students-and-Parents-on-Summer-2021.pdf

Awarding organisations have indicated that an appeal is an exceptional response, rather than the norm.

Please be aware that, as part of the appeals process, a grade may stay the same, or could be moved up or down as a result of a stage 1 or stage 2 review.

Only a student may appeal their own case. A parent, guardian or other representative of the student is not permitted to appeal a TAG grade on a student’s behalf.

If you think there has been an error, you can ask us to do a centre review ahead of results day.

Results days are:

Publication of GCE AS and A-level and Level 3 BTEC/CTEC/C&G results – 10 August 2021

Publication of GCSE and Level 2 vocational results – 12 August 2021

 

Key Dates for priority appeals*
10 August to 16 August 2021 Window for students to request a centre review
10 August to 20 August 2021 Centres conduct centre reviews
10 August to 23 August 2021 Centres submit appeals to awarding organisations

* A priority appeal is 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

 

Key dates for non-priority appeals
From result day to 3 September 2021 Window for students to request a centre review
From result day to 10 September 2021 Centres conduct centre reviews
From result day to 17 September 2021 Centres submit appeals to awarding organisations

First, consider the stages in the information below. If you consider you have a case to appeal, you need to complete the form here. Please complete all of the student sections on pages 2, 4 and 5, covering both stages of appeal, and email to quality@cirencester.ac.uk. Please note, we will only accept these forms by email. There are no fees payable for this appeal. We will come back to you with the result of the centre review and will then proceed with stage 2, if you have indicated that you wish to do this.

Please note that you have to do the centre review first and may then proceed to the awarding body review.

To help you decide whether to appeal, the College will make available to you the following information on results day, if not before:

  • the Centre Policy is here
  • the sources of evidence used to determine your grade along with any grades/marks associated with them – this will be available on CCO
  • details of any special circumstances that have been considered in determining your grade, e.g. access arrangements, mitigating circumstances such as illness – this will be available on CCO

You must first ask your centre to review whether an administrative or procedural error has been made.

What constitutes an administrative error or procedural error?

✓ The incorrect grade has been uploaded to the awarding body site ie a typographical error

✓ The centre has not followed the process for determining and quality assuring grades (eg internal standardisation, authentication of student work) as outlined in the policy

✓ The centre has not considered relevant mitigating circumstances at the time of the assessment

✓ The centre has not put in place agreed access arrangements/reasonable adjustments for an assessment.

You cannot appeal your TAG grade if your only reason is:

✗ You are unhappy with your grade

✗ You wanted/needed a higher grade than you have been awarded

What if the centre identifies an error?

Cirencester College’s procedure has already been checked and approved by the awarding organisations; the focus of a review on procedural grounds will therefore be whether the centre followed its procedure properly and consistently in arriving at the grade being challenged.

In the event that there has been an error, the College will decide whether the procedural failure has affected/had an impact on the grade submitted. The outcome may be that the grade stays the same, is raised or lowered.

If the centre identifies an error with the grade it submitted, it is required to submit a revised grade with rationale for the grade change to the awarding organisation. At this point, we will ensure that the student concerned has a copy of the submission to the awarding organisation. If the awarding organisation is satisfied with the rationale presented by the centre and it considers it is appropriate to correct the result, it will issue a revised grade

If you still don’t think you have been awarded the correct grade, you can appeal to the exam board who will evaluate the evidence to determine whether:

  • the centre has 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.
    (A reasonable judgement is one that is supported by evidence. An exercise of judgement will not be unreasonable simply because a student considers that an alternative grade should have been awarded, even if the student puts forward supporting evidence. There may be a difference of opinion without there being an unreasonable exercise of judgement. The reviewer will not remark individual assessments to make fine judgements but will take a holistic approach based on the overall evidence.)
  • the centre did not apply a procedure correctly, e.g. they did not follow their Centre Policy, did not undertake internal quality assurance, did not take account of access arrangements or mitigating circumstances, such as illness.
  • the exam board made an administrative error, e.g. they changed your grade during the processing of grades.

The onus is on the student to provide evidence that the grade they have been awarded is ‘unreasonable’. However, the College as your centre, will need to appeal to the awarding body for you and will provide all of the information they require relating to your TAG.

At both stages of the process you will need to submit your appeal to College and give them your written consent to conduct the appeal or submit it to the exam board on your behalf. You can do this on the appeal form here.

It is important to remember that your grade can go down, up or stay the same through either stage of the process. There is no option to remain at the current grade if the outcome of the review gives a lower grade.

The awarding organisation will decide whether the appeal will be accepted for evaluation or not. They will check whether the grounds you have indicated are within the remit of the appeals process and that the previous stages have been completed.

If you have a place at university that is dependent on your appeal, you should tell the university you are hoping to go to so they can decide how to handle your offer. You should also tell us so we can ask the exam board to prioritise your appeal. See ‘When can I appeal’ above for key dates and timelines for priority and non-priority appeals.

Finally, if you believe the exam board has made a procedural error in handling your appeal, you can apply to Ofqual’s Exam Procedures Review Service to review the process undertaken by the exam board.

There is no route to Ofqual’s Exam Procedures Review Service (EPRS) for BTEC students. However, a complaint may be submitted to Ofqual once the appeals process has been completed, where there is reason to believe the awarding organisation has not followed its procedures in handling the appeal.

If you are unhappy with anything to do with TAGs, the process or your awarded grade, you will go through the appeal process outlined above.

If you are unhappy with anything peripheral to the TAG process, you should submit a complaint. Our complaints policy can be found here.

Get the best place you can at University with the grades you have

If you are planning to go to University and your firm choice university make you an offer, whether your grades are in line with your original offer or not, accept your place. If they are short of your offer but your insurance choice is making you an offer, then accept your insurance offer.

If your grades meet neither of these, you can go through Clearing to find a suitable place. The process is outlined on the UCAS website and you will enter Clearing and be able to apply for courses through your UCAS track login. The Pastoral Team can help guide you through this process and will be here at college on results day to support or advise you if you need help.

Sit the exam as a ‘resit’

If you have completed this process and are still unhappy with your grade, you have the option to sit the exam during the November series. The College can help you to do this. The key dates are as follows:

Deadline for entries

 

GCE – 08/09/2021          GCSE – 04/10/2021
Exam Dates

 

GCE – 04/10/2021          GCSE – 01/11/2021
Results Published

 

GCE – 16/12/2021          GCSE – 12/01/2022

 

Please be aware that the exam boards charge fees for resits, they are quoting between £120 and £160 for an A-level resit.
if you would like to resit your exam in November, please email exams@cirencester.ac.uk in the first instance.