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Summer Term Mocks and Assessments - Years 11 and 13 - Letter to Students
Dear Year 11 and Year 13 students,
As the Easter holidays approach, we wanted to update you on where we are so far with exam replacements.
Firstly, we would like to acknowledge the worry and concern some pupils are understandably feeling because of the national uncertainty around the new system. Planning for how the country replaces exams rests with the Department for Education (DfE) and Ofqual. This is a complex task. Examination boards are working right now on their guidance for schools on how to grade and the extra assessment materials that they will provide. That information will be sent to schools after Easter.
We want to make sure your grades are a fair reflection of your ability and the effort that you make and will give you the grades that you deserve. We are not just tackling this alone but are working together with all of the other academies in the Harris Federation.
Let us sum up what we already know:
- Grades will be determined by teachers, on the basis of what you have been taught rather than any content you may have missed;
- To decide on your grades, teachers will use a combination of mock exams and extra assessment materials. These could be set by your teachers or from a set of resources that exam boards will publish after Easter;
- The national deadline for submitting your grades to the exam boards is 18th June 2021. Once the exam boards have the grades, they will be rigorously checked and analysed by them to make sure that they are fair, before being awarded to students. It is therefore essential that we have strong and robust evidence to justify why particular grades have been given.
Mock examinations will begin after the Easter holidays for year 11 and are currently being taken by year 13. We want you to put your best foot forward in your mocks, which you can do by revising carefully over the holidays as would be expected of Year 11 and Year 13 in any normal year. Your mocks will then indicate to your teachers where there are gaps in your learning that need to be filled. Once we know these gaps we will be able to plan to teach you what you need to know to make the best possible use of the time between the mocks and the start of the assessments we will receive from the examination boards where you will have another chance to show what you know.
While individual circumstances will always be taken into account, for most students your mocks will also provide us with a baseline of what grades you should be aiming for. In addition, the mocks will be helpful in justifying a particular grade to an exam board, so we will use them for this purpose too, alongside all of the other assessments.
We really would like to emphasise that, while your mocks are undoubtedly important, you should not be feeling disproportionately worried or anxious about them. They will only test you on what you have been taught and there will not be any ‘bad’ surprises in the papers for you, and in any case there will be another chance to demonstrate what you know later on in the term as part of the assessments being provided by your teachers or the exam boards.
Once we know how your CAG grades will be calculated your teachers will speak with you to make sure you know exactly how the various assessments will be used. In the meantime, we hope this letter has helped to encourage you about the rest of the process.
All of your teachers have been impressed and feel very proud of the way you have dealt with this unprecedented situation so far. They will be doing everything they can to ensure you are awarded the grades you deserve this summer and just as importantly support you in choosing from the many options you will have for your next steps.