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Schools and colleges will handle grade appeals instead of pupils


CCEA chief Justin Edwards

CCEA chief Justin Edwards

CCEA chief Justin Edwards

Northern Ireland's exam board CCEA has confirmed that this year's GCSE, AS- and A-Level results can only be appealed by schools and colleges.

It means students will not simply be able to appeal on the basis they are unhappy with the grade their teacher has given them.

With GCSE, AS- and A-Level exams cancelled this summer due to the coronavirus pandemic, calculated grades will instead be provided by teachers and schools this year.

Teachers have been asked to provide predicted grades for pupils based on past work and to rank each pupil in each subject area. Education Minister Peter Weir had also instructed CCEA to develop an appropriate and robust appeals process.

CCEA said yesterday that their decisions were based on the outcomes and analysis of a recent two-week public consultation on the issue. The consultation received 753 responses with 55% coming from parents and students, 42% from educationalists and the remainder from interested individuals.

Overall, over 82% of respondents agreed that CCEA should be able to run a different appeals process this summer.

It was also a strongly held view by 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 a CCEA awarding organisation (AO) not be satisfactory.

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

CCEA chief executive Justin Edwards said: "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," Mr Edwards added.

CCEA said 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 a CCEA awarding organisation may have failed to apply its procedures consistently, properly or fairly.

It was also agreed that a CCEA AO would not be required to obtain the consent of a candidate whose result may be affected 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.

"The consultation attracted a comparatively large response and we are very grateful to all those individuals and organisations who contributed," Mr Edwards said.

"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," he added.

Belfast Telegraph