Essential Exam Information

Changes to GCSE grades from 2017

The latest change to the GCSE process is the switch away from the traditional GCSE grades of A*, A, B, C, D, E, F and G. These will gradually be replaced by numeric grades 9 to 1 starting with Maths, English Language and English Literature GCSEs in summer 2017. More details about these changes can be found on the Government’s website.

What are “Controlled Assessments”, “Non-Examination Assessments” and “NEAs”?

They are all largely the same thing. They are part of the GCSE, completed in class, the marks are not submitted to the exam board until summer of Year 11. The work is marked by the student’s teacher but the marks are verified by the Exam Board through a process called “moderation”. The Exam Board’s moderator can change the teacher’s marking if they see fit.

These non-examination assessments are subject to rules and regulations governed by the Joint Council for Qualifications or JCQ in just the same way that the written exams are. Consequently, there are disciplinary procedures for misconduct. There are a number school documents regarding this (all of which can be downloaded).

  1. JCQ’s Information for Candidates – Non-Examination Assessments (make this a link to the document)
  2. Disciplinary Procedures for Academic Misconduct (an extract from Tiverton High School’s Non-Examinable Assessments Policy) (make this a link to the document)
  3. Non-Examinable Assessments – Appeals Policy (make this a link to the document)

SPaG (Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar)

As you might expect students are marked on their spelling, punctuation and grammar in the English Language exam. What you may not know, however, is that they are also marked on it in the following GCSEs as well:

  • English Literature
  • Geography
  • History
  • Religious Studies

Guidance can be found about how the marking is applied can be found via a number of sites but a useful summary can be found on AQA’s website. Science students are also expected to be able to demonstrate accurate spelling of subject specific terminology.

Attendance v. Achievement in Year 10 and Year 11

There is a clear link between the level of attendance and achievement in exams. The data below is from the results of Tiverton High School students.

  • 90% attendance means missing the equivalent of half a day of school every single week.
  • 80% attendance means missing the equivalent of a whole day of school every single week.
Attendance Level Average Grade “Best 8” Qualifications Achievement 5+A*-C incl English & Maths
above 90% B 67%
between 86-89% C 60%
below 85% D 20%

Attendance dos and don’ts during Year 10 and Year 11

  • Doctors or Dentist appointments ideally should be after 3.25pm or during the lunch break if they’re local.
  • Being off ill can’t be helped but catch up any work that was missed.
  • Taking time off during term time WILL have an impact on achievement. It is unlikely that
  • holidays will be authorised by the school and there can be financial penalties for taking unauthorised time off.

When do exams happen?

Written Exams

  • Mock exams are in January of Year 11 with Mock Results Day approximately 3 weeks afterwards.
  • Between May and June. Exams cannot be taken on a different date.
  • Re-sits are in November (after students have left school) but ONLY for English and Maths GCSEs.

GCSE Controlled Assessments (Non-Examination Assessments or NEAs)

  • At any time in either Year 10 or Year 11 but normally in Year 11. The class teacher can provide details about timings of these assessments.

Whole school timetable

This shows all the exams the school is holding during May and June. It also gives an indication of which rooms will be used for each exam plus some reminders about important information. It will be displayed around the school.

Seating plans

These will be on display on the Exams Notice Board and outside every exam room.

Exam clashes

This is when two or more exams are scheduled to take place on the same day and at the same time. This happens sometimes because it is NOT the school that organises the timings of exams. Arrangements will be made to stagger any clash exams but here are some points to remember:

  • Clash students have to remain under supervision between ALL of their clashed exams papers and cannot communicate with other students outside of the “clash group”
  • Access to phones is not permitted during the supervised break between the exams
  • Bring refreshments to have between exams
  • There will be access to toilets during the supervised break
  • Finalised start times (showing the staggered starts) will be on the detailed timetable.

Student ID Cards (also known as Morrison’s cards)

These must be displayed on the top right hand corner of the exam desk clearly visible to the invigilating staff.

Legal name and candidate ID number

Exam entries are made using a legal name. This is because exam certificates are legal documents; they can only be issued in the legal name at the time of the exams. Potential employers or Colleges may ask to see the exam certificates together with a birth certificate or passport to prove that the qualifications belong to the correct person. The preferred surname can only be used if it is made legal e.g. by Deed Poll or Change of Name Deed. A certified copy of the Deed must be supplied to school before exam entries are made. ONLY use a legal name on exam answer booklets/papers.  The candidate ID number identifies each individual to the exam board. It is unique within the school. It must be written on ALL answer booklets/scripts/controlled assessments. It must be used accurately.

Colour blindness and overlays

Colour blind students are permitted to ask an Invigilator to name colours for them. Overlays must be brought to all exams. A spare can normally be supplied but as the specific shades of overlay can be important, it is preferable not to borrow one.