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Year 11 Exam Q & A

Covid-19 | Student

No GCSE exams this summer. Centre assessed grades will be used instead but we have no information as to how they will yet be allocated.

Does that mean that my mocks have become my GCSEs? The answer is no, your mocks will not solely determine your CAG. Mr Howarth asked students to not add pressure on themselves in assuming that the mock exams are now taking on a greater significance than they were at this time yesterday. Mocks are diagnostic and are designed to assess what you know, what you don’t know and what you need to do to improve.

Mr Howarth outlined that your mock exams will be referred to in your reports but that you will not have a likely to achieve grade as we currently do not know what the CAGs will be based on and therefore we cannot accurately predict what the grades will look like until this is released by the government.

Everything you do is a small piece of the puzzle that will inform your final grade. Accumulation over time builds up the picture of your GCSE grades.

Mr Howarth outlined that what you do now is really important. You have the great opportunity now to show your teachers what you can do, to look at how you’ve done in your mocks and ask what you can do to improve. We want you to achieve the very best grade you can and your teachers will continue to work with you to achieve this.

You won’t be able to ask your teachers what they will give you as a CAG. Teachers won’t currently know what the assessment will be based on and, as per last year, teachers will not be able to discuss this with you once they do know.

Ordinarily there would be a beginning of study leave, an end point for exams and a beginning of a long and well-deserved summer holiday. However, this is all now unclear.

The situation in Jersey is currently very different to that in the UK. We need to keep in mind that the system being put in place in the UK will be the one that we are following. We will share info as soon as we are aware of it.

Questions from students

Will international GCSEs be going ahead? We haven’t heard from Cambridge International at the moment as they too were waiting for the announcements today. We are expecting announcements later from exam boards.

Are we definitely going to school next week? At the moment yes you are. You will be in school doing your mocks on Monday. Make sure you wear masks and warm clothing. If the government changes its view we will change too.

What grade boundaries will be used for JCG students (mocks)? We will be using grade boundaries from 2019 as a guide. They are the most recent that we have as there are no grade boundaries from 2020.

What will we do for the rest of the year, will we just start A levels early? Your GCSEs don’t stop now. You have at least a term, if not more, of course content to cover. Teacher assessed grades will be based on an accumulation of everything up to now and moving forward to the end of each course.

Will there be any internal exams instead of GCSEs or will it all be based on mocks and work throughout the year? We need to wait to see what the process is that we’re told to follow by Ofqual. We need to remember that although you will be in school, schools across the UK are closed and that will have an impact. We will wait to see what we are asked to do.

At the end of the day are these grades still considered GCSEs? Yes, they are. The grades will be based on evidence. Hard work, diligence and determination will yield positive results. Your GCSE will not have a lower currency because you have not done examinations. They will carry the same weight as any other year.

Is there any chance that mocks will be moved so that we have more time to revise? The only way that mocks will be moved is if we do not go back into school on Monday. Mocks are important but they are no more important today than they were yesterday. They are one piece of the jigsaw.

Will we have to wear masks during our mocks? Yes, we are encouraging you to wear a mask.

Are we wearing school uniform on Monday/can we dress down next week? You need to dress warmly; you may wear your own clothes.

What if teachers are biased, will there be something to stop teachers from projecting personal opinions onto your grade? Last year the moderation process was there to ensure that there wasn’t any deliberate, or unconscious, bias. The process last year was that teachers allocated grades, which was challenged by Heads of Department and Heads of Faculty, and then interrogated by Miss Hopkins, then Mr Marett and Ms Rollo and finally Mr Howarth. We wanted to make sure that every grade was backed up by very clear evidence and was scrupulous in order to be able to withstand any challenge. I have absolute confidence in all our staff that they will be professional in their judgements.

What do we do if we don’t have an exam during the school day? You will be in a study room and will have directed study time.

Will the exam content cuts/changes to the exam still stay the same in terms of what we will be learning next term? Courses won’t be cut down, what was going to be examined had been adjusted but that is now irrelevant. We need to wait for the guidance from Ofqual. We need to remember that you don’t learn to pass exams; you learn to make your appreciation of the world more vivid and your understanding of your place in the world much clearer. No learning is a waste of time.

Is our English language exam still going to relevant or does it not count anymore? Yes, you have banked it and the result will be available during mock week. You will be able to collect it on results day or wait and collect it after your mocks. The grade will be your final grade unless you chose to re-enter for the summer.

What will we do in subjects in which we have finished the course such as French? I would be very surprised if your French teachers ever said you were finished. They will still need evidence of the accumulation of your progress for the CAGs so there will still be work for you to do.

Are our mocks the same times as they were before but just on the different days now? Yes, a new timetable is on the school website and will be sent to you from Mrs Goldhawk.

Coursework – when we are back at school will we still be able to carry out practical activities, for example the DT work? Yes, this will continue and will form part of the evidence gathering.

If we are not happy with our teacher assessed grades will we be able to take the exam and/or appeal? There will be an appeals process. Last year, you could not challenge the CAG but you could challenge the process. Last year there was the possibility for students to sit an exam in the autumn; we don’t know the same possibility will be open this year.

Are they taking into account the fact we have been disadvantaged through the year? Yes, you’ve been hit hard over the last 12 months. Any system is going to take account of that. You will not be expected to be in the same place a students in other parts of the country.

Will Year 10 work be taken into account for our final grade? Yes, all evidence is relevant.

Will this lower our chances on getting into 6th form? No, the entry criteria will remain the same and support will be in place to help you meet the criteria.

Will there be a parents evening at some point so we are able to talk to our teachers about what we need to do? No, parents evening has happened already and academic mentoring post-mocks will be more valuable. If we need to speak to your parents we will invite them to meetings as usual.

Will we be receiving GCSE results later than we usually would if we did exams? We need to wait to hear about this from Ofqual.

Do we still get a long summer? We don’t know the timescale for assessments this year but we’re not planning of keeping you until the end of July. We don’t want to give you false hope for a longer summer than planned. Until we get clarity I don’t want to speculate.

Who will be marking our mock exams? Is it the teachers or actual exam marker people? Marking will be internal (your teachers).

Are there any new social distancing measures for when we return? The guidance hasn’t changed; outside of your year group the distancing in 2 metres. If you’re moving around college you need to wear a mask and if the teacher requests that you wear one in the classroom.

Where is the cohort testing happening? Ring 445566 make an appointment for at the harbour or the airport.

If my first mock isn’t until 11am, do I still have to be at school at 8.30am? Yes, you need to be in school by 8.25am as per usual.

Will GCSE Drama performances still go ahead? Yes, you have worked hard towards them and they will form part of the gathered evidence.