CCEA Regulation Publishes Decisions on Appeals Process for Summer 2020 Awarding of GCSE, AS and A Level qualifications

Published: 23/06/2020, 5:15pm
CCEA Regulation Publishes Decisions on Appeals Process for Summer 2020 Awarding of GCSE, AS and A Level qualifications

Due to the Minister’s announcement on Monday 17 August, some material in this section will change. We will work to update as soon as possible.

On 16 April, the Education Minister, Peter Weir MLA, outlined the awarding arrangements for GCSE, AS and A Level qualifications in response to the cancellation of exams as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of this statement, the Minister instructed CCEA to develop an appropriate and robust appeals process.

CCEA Chief Executive, Justin Edwards, explains:

Under normal circumstances, after the issue of results, a school or college can request the marking of a script to be reviewed. If after the review of marking, the school or college feels that the issue is not resolved it can use the appeals process.  With no examination scripts to mark this year, this process will not be possible. The Minister asked us to develop an alternative appeals approach to address this exceptional situation and one that would be in line with similar processes being developed by Ofqual and Qualifications Wales. In order to inform this work, we carried out a two week public consultation to gather as much commentary as possible on a number of principles being considered to determine a final appeals approach.

The consultation received 753 responses with 55.1% coming from parents and students; 42.3% from educationalists and the balance from interested individuals. Overall, the majority of respondents (82.9%) agreed that CCEA should be able to run a different appeals process this summer.

It was also a strongly held view (over 85%) that the Exam Procedures Review Service provided by CCEA Regulation would be available to exam centres should any final appeal decision given by CCEA Awarding Organisation (AO) not be satisfactory.

A number of other areas proposed in the Consultation also recorded broad consensus. These included that in the alternative appeals process, exam centres should be allowed to appeal to CCEA Regulation on the basis that CCEA AO may have failed to apply its procedures consistently, properly or fairly. It was also agreed that CCEA AO would not be required to obtain the consent of a candidate whose result may be impacted by an appeal but who did not initiate it. Almost two thirds of respondents felt that CCEA personnel who were involved in the original statistical modelling should be allowed to be involved in any appeals, because of their knowledge and familiarity with this year’s unique approach to the calculation of results.

In line with other awarding organisations and in keeping with normal practice, CCEA has decided that appeals will only be accepted from exam centres (schools/ colleges) and not directly from students. It was felt that centres would be the best informed to register an appeal on behalf of a student.

Mr Edwards concluded:

The consultation attracted a comparatively large response and we are very grateful to all those individuals and organisations who contributed. It was a very valuable exercise and the findings further reflect CCEA’s goals of maintaining fairness for all students and consistency across the cohort whilst protecting the integrity and standards of the process. The decisions CCEA Regulation has taken in respect of the alternative appeals process fully embrace those goals.

The decisions set out in this report have been approved by the CCEA Council. The decisions document will now be reviewed by the Awarding Organisations, who will then finalise a process with the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ).

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