Further information for schools and colleges on the appeals process in summer 2021 

Monday 17 May 2021

Qualification Wales has  today published  Information for centres on the centre review and appeals process in summer 2021. The document provides further information about how appeals will work this year. WJEC is also publishing its guidance today.     

This year, learners can request that their school or college reviews their provisional Centre Determined Grade if they believe an error has been made in the determination of their grade.  Learners must briefly explain why they believe there has been an error when asking for a Centre Review. 

The second stage of the process will be undertaken by WJEC after results day in August. It will check whether the judgement that the centre has made is unreasonable, and/or if a procedural error has been made.  

Stage 3 is an Exam Procedures Review Service (EPRS) from Qualifications Wales. The EPRS checks  whether WJEC has followed the required procedures in how it considered the appeal.  

Philip Blaker, Chief Executive of Qualifications Wales, said: “Schools and colleges are being asked to do a lot this year, in difficult circumstances, and I thank them for their hard work. Our priority is to have a fair appeals process in place that respects learners’ rights and puts their needs first.   

“The appeals process is intended to correct an error in the determination of a grade.  Errors should be rare, but where identified they must be corrected. 

The centre review is not an opportunity for learners to try and improve grades that have been determined fairly. It's also important to understand that it is not about re-marking of work as it would be in other years  the focus is on the overall grade. 

The approach to appeals has been considered carefully by the Design Delivery and Advisory Group, who - as school heads and college leaders - are aware of the implications for workload and have balanced this against the need for an effective process for learners.” 

Qualifications Wales will be publishing a guide for learners, parents and carers about the assessment process for 2021, and will also be publishing further detailed information to support learners’ understanding of the appeals process before the half-term break.  

Mair Hughes, Headteacher at Ysgol Penglais School in Aberystwyth, said: It’s right for learners to be able to request a centre review of their grade if they can identify that an error has been made – this is their legal and moral right. 

Throughout this process, we have maintained openness and transparency with learners and parents and following this through to the centre review stage is important.  We have very thorough and rigorous processes in place for the assessments and the quality assurance. 

However, should a learner identify an error has been made, it is important that we as a school have the opportunity to review the grade internally first and make right any errors. This is important because we have a good understanding and overview of the learners and their work and the processes the school has been through to determine the grades. Ownership of the centre review closes the circle in the whole process before it is passed on to the external stage.” 

Kay Martin, Principal at Cardiff and Vale College, said, “Once exams were cancelled, it was imperative to create an assessment structure that worked for learners in schools and colleges. 

The centre determined grading process has been designed in the best interest of learners.  It is a robust system, based on fairness from assessments and grading through to appeals. 

At the appeals stage, it is appropriate that centres play a part in initially reviewing the decisions taken in the awarding of grades. This will enable centres to ensure that these grades have been awarded in line with their approved assessment models. 

Replacing examinations at GCSE, AS and A Level has presented a number of challenges. However, during this global pandemic, adjustments have been made in the best interest of learners, whilst maintaining the integrity of the qualification.” 

Key information included in the document is: 

  • The centre review is an opportunity for learners to request a review where they consider an error has been made in the determination of their grade – the focus is on the overall grade not on the marking of individual assessments. There is no expectation that centres re-mark assessments.  
  • The centre review is an opportunity for the school or college to check they have not made an error in the determination of the grade.    
  • Learners should briefly explain the nature of the error when requesting a centre review. WJEC will provide templates for centres and learners to use.  
  • The centre review is not an opportunity for learners to try and improve grades that have been determined fairly in accordance with the centre’s assessment and quality assurance processes and are supported by the evidence and the decision-making record 
  • A Stage 2 appeal to WJEC can be made after completion of the centre review, if the learner still believes there has been a procedural error or that the grade is unreasonable.  
  • WJEC will only uphold an appeal on the grounds of unreasonable academic judgement at Stage 2 if it is well outside the bounds of reasonable academic judgement and that the evidence cannot reasonably support the grade.  
  • Grades can go up or down, or stay the same, following the centre review and appeal.