Teacher Focus Groups on Non-Examination Assessment

Qualifications Wales hosted a series of focus group discussions asking teachers to share their perceptions and experiences of non-examination assessment (NEA) in a series of GCSEs.

NEA refers to any type of assessment that is not an exam taken by all candidates at the same time. NEA therefore covers a range of assessment activities including coursework, oral assessment, fieldwork, portfolio work and practical assessment. 

Focus group discussions were held across Wales in two phases. 

Phase 1 focus groups were conducted between January and March 2019. The subjects included were as follows: 

  • Art 
  • Computer science 
  • Drama 
  • English language 
  • English literature 
  • Geography 
  • PE 
  • Science 
  • Welsh (first) language 
  • Welsh literature.  

Phase 2 focus groups were conducted between November 2019 and January 2020. The subjects included were as follows: 

  • Media studies 
  • History 
  • Music 
  • Modern foreign languages (French, German, Spanish) 
  • Design and technology 
  • Food and nutrition 
  • Welsh second language 

The focus group discussions centred around the following topics that were common across each of the subjects: 

  1. The principles and purposes of NEA; 
  2. Assessment methods; 
  3. Levels of teacher involvement at task setting, task taking and task marking; 
  4. Experiences of delivering NEA; 
  5. Experiences of addressing NEA. 

To supplement the information gathered during the focus groups and to give all teachers an opportunity to contribute, a follow up online survey was conducted for each subject 

We will publish a summary of the key findings from this research in late 2021. The findings will be used to help shape the future design and development of qualifications, for example when looking at how qualifications can support the new curriculum for Wales. 

For information on how we are using and storing any personal data collected during the focus groups, and participant rights in this regard, the privacy notice can be read on our  website.