Qualifications 2021

Centre-Assessment Approach for Qualifications in 2021

In November 2020, the Education Minister announced that there would be no summer examination series for students taking GCSEs. In January 2021, it was confirmed that these qualifications would be awarded using Centre Determined Grades (CDGs). This means that individual examination centres, such as schools and colleges, would determine the actual grades awarded for each qualification. 
Our Centre Assessment Policy is designed to outline how the school, as an examination centre, will apply the ‘Guidance on Alternative Arrangements for Approved GCSEs provided by Qualifications Wales, the examination regulator, to help determine grades in 2021. By sharing our approach, we are seeking to offer clarity and confidence to students, staff and families. Furthermore, the Centre Assessment Policy provides an overview on the decisions teachers will make, how teachers will make these decisions, and the processes that are in place to ensure that all grades are awarded fairly and consistently, across our school.  While this page is designed to provide a ‘high-level’ understanding of the approach, a copy of the Centre Assessment Policy will be made available to parents/carers and students. 

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What are Centre Determined Grades?

A Centre Determined Grade is the grade awarded by the school, as an examination centre, on the basis of attainment which has been demonstrated in the areas of the qualification content that a student has covered.  Centre Determined Grades are based on robust evidence – not a prediction of achievement.  

For each qualification, teachers will make use of WJEC Assessment Frameworks; these include descriptors for key grades to support the accurate awarding of grades. Each grade awarded by the school must be underpinned by robust evidence that demonstrates a student’s attainment across key themes and skills. These will vary per qualification, as determined by the requirements of each WJEC Qualification Assessment Framework.  

It will not be possible or permitted for teachers, or the school, to attempt to issue a Centre Determined Grade based on professional prediction or the potential of a student. Teachers will be required to apply their professional judgement and decide whether the knowledge and skills demonstrated meets the usual standard for a specified grade.  In determining grades, the school will be required to make ‘best-fit’ judgements, using a holistic judgement, based on the evidence that students have produced during their assessments. 

Where there is insufficient evidence, or where evidence suggest attainment is below that required of the lowest grade for a qualification (G grade at GCSE) then a student will be awarded a Centre Determined Grade of U. 

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What Evidence is used for Centre-Determined Grades?

Centre Determined Grades will be generated using evidence of work completed by a student, using the adapted specification content. In determining a grade, the following types of evidence will be used in each qualification:

Anchor Assessments: capture very recent learning and cover the range of Assessment Objectives 

Anchor Assessments
WJEC Adapted Past Papers
The school will make use of WJEC adapted past papers when setting tasks to help determine a grade for each qualification. There are recognised benefits of using these materials. The adapted past papers have already been externally quality assured, are fully supported by mark schemes and are familiar to both learners and staff. Teachers will ensure that these past papers, which will form a key part of the evidence, will be incorporated within their delivery of teaching and learning.
Non-Examination Assessment
Non-examination assessment (NEA) still exists in many qualifications. Where NEA remains as part of an adapted qualification, teachers will use the performance of learners in this element to help contribute towards the determination of a grade. When considering the contribution that NEA makes in determining a Centre Determined Grade, teachers will consider the weighting of the NEA in the adapted specification.

Subsidiary Assessments: QMAs that have been summatively assessed

Subsidiary Assessments
Previously completed WJEC past paper and questions (which have been externally quality assured and published with an approved mark scheme and completed under appropriately controlled conditions)
Trial examinations
Other centre devised assessments which meet the requirements outlined in WJEC’s Centre Assessment Creation Guide.

The number of pieces of evidence required to determine a grade will vary per qualification. Teachers will ensure that there is sufficient opportunity for learners to provide clear evidence to demonstrate competency against the key areas to support progression and assessment objectives, outlined in the WJEC Qualification Assessment Frameworks.

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Quality Assurance Processes 

In line with usual practices, WJEC will require internal processes to be undertaken to promote consistency. The school will undertake quality assurance processes, within subjects and across subjects, to ensure the grades determined are valid, reliable, equitable and fair, while seeking to avoid discrimination.

Recording Decisions

The school will keep a record to document clearly the rationale for grade decisions. Learner Decision Making Records will outline how each grade has been awarded, for each student, in each subject. On submission of a Centre Determined Grade, the school will be required to make an overall declaration in relation to the processes carried out.

Review of Centre Determined Grades and Appeals

The school will be required to submit Centre Determined Grades to WJEC by the specified date. At this point, students will be informed of the grades awarded. Where a student is satisfied with the grades determined by the school, there is no further action. 

There will be an opportunity for students to request a review of the centre’s judgement of their grade and/or correct any factual errors. The process undertaken by the school will be similar to the internal moderation process. Where a review has been requested, it will be considered by a member of staff who was not the original assessor. The Deputy Headteacher will also review that the school’s processes have been followed, in terms of associated decision-making records. New or additional evidence will not be considered as part of the review process. Where a review has been upheld, the Centre Determined Grade will be amended.  

The WJEC will implement a process to permit students to appeal a Centre Determined Grade on the grounds of procedural error only, where a review of grade has been unsuccessful. Similarly, Qualifications Wales will also implement an Examination Procedures Review Service. At each stage of the review/appeal process, students will need to be aware that a centre determined grade may be improved or be lowered.

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Public Sector Equality Duty and Data Processing 

In developing an approach to centre determined grades in 2021, the school has taken steps to ensure it meets its Public Sector Equality Duty. This is a legal requirement and forms part of the Equality Act (2010), which ensures due regard to the need to: 

The school will ensure it meets data protection and processing regulations. This may result in modifications to existing policies and practices.


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