The College is committed to ensuring that all examination and assessment practices are conducted fairly and equitably in line with Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ), Federation of Awarding Bodies (FAB) and individual awarding body requirements.
It is the responsibility of everyone involved in examination and assessment processes at the College to read, understand and implement this policy.
This policy applies to all students of Optimal Tutors seeking assessment and/or examination certification and staff involved in and/or responsible for managing that assessment.
For the purpose of this policy, "Coursework" is defined as any piece of assessed work where the mark contributes to the final grade of a course undertaken at the College. "Formative Assessment" is defined as any piece of assessed work where the mark does not directly constitute a final grade for examination purposes.
To ensure the planning and management of examinations and assessment is conducted efficiently and in the best interest of candidates with clear guidelines for all staff and students.
The Principal has overall responsibility for the College as an examination centre.
The designated Assistant Principal is responsible for:
-Ensuring that all staff are familiar with the policy
-Ensuring that quality assurance procedures effectively monitor the quality of formative assessment and coursework assessment
-Monitoring the quality of examination organisation and that effective arrangement are in place to ensure equality of access to examination and assessment.
The Information Manager and the Examinations Officer are responsible for the management of external examinations and the provision of accurate data on examination results. They will:
-Manage the administration of public examinations and analysis of exam results.
-Advise the Senior Leadership Team (SLT), Heads of Department, Tutors and other relevant support staff on annual examination timetables and procedures as set by the various examination boards.
-Publish an annual calendar for all examinations in which candidates will be involved.
-Ensure that candidates are informed of and understand those aspects of the examination timetable that will affect them and that all students are informed of the time and place of any examinations they need to sit.
-Consult with Heads of Department to ensure that necessary coursework is completed on time and in accordance with JCQ guidelines.
-Be responsible for reporting all suspicious or actual incidents of malpractice and will refer to the JCQ document Suspected Malpractice in Examinations and Assessments.
-Collect, provide and confirm detailed data on estimated entries.
-Receive, check and store securely all examination papers, live assessment materials and completed scripts.
-Administer examination access arrangements and make applications for special consideration in liaison with the Additional Learning Support team, using the JCQ access arrangements and special considerations regulations and Guidance relating to candidates who are eligible for adjustments in examinations.
-Identify and manage examination timetable clashes.
-Account for income and expenditures relating to all examination costs/charges.
-Organise the recruitment, training and monitoring of a team of examination invigilators responsible for the conduct of examinations.
-Ensure timely and relevant reports are available to the SLT and curriculum managers showing results achieved in relation to expected grades and comparable data for previous years, indicating where future procedural improvements might be made.
-Ensure proper systems are in place for the submission of candidates' coursework marks, the despatch and storing of coursework and any other material required by the appropriate awarding bodies correctly and on schedule.
-Arrange for dissemination of examination results and certificates to candidates and forward, in consultation with the SLT and Directors of Faculty, any appeals/re-mark requests.
-Maintain systems and processes to support the timely entry of candidates for their examinations.
-Liaise with Estates regarding the setting up of rooms for examinations.
Directors of Faculty are responsible for monitoring Heads of Department, who are in turn responsible for:
-Ensuring compliance with this policy.
-Additions or removals from candidate lists.
-Ensuring that the current specification for a course is being taught.
-Ensuring all students in their care are aware of the requirements of coursework and external examination and that they are properly prepared.
-Guidance of candidates who are unsure about examination entries or amendments to entries.
-Ensuring that all coursework is marked and submitted in accordance with the requirements published by the Awarding Body.
-Involvement in post results procedures and offering advice and guidance to students.
-Ensuring that learner outcomes from examinations are effectively analysed and appropriate improvement actions put in place where needed.
-Accurate and timely completion of coursework mark sheets and declaration sheets.
-Accurate completion of entry sheets and adherence to deadlines.
-Standardisation and verification processes for all coursework and controlled assessments including the authentication of the work.
-Ensuring that any specification changes are checked with the Information Manager.
-Referral to Additional Learning Support where appropriate.
The Finance Office is responsible for taking fee payments from candidates.
The Additional Learning Support Manager is responsible for:
-Identification and testing of candidates requirements for access arrangements.
-Provision of additional support (for example scribes, assistive technology needs, etc.).
The Examinations Team, including the Senior Invigilator, is responsible for:
-Collection of examination papers and other material from the Examinations Office before the start of the examination.
-Ensuring rooms are equipped correctly.
-Collection of all examination papers in the correct order at the end of the examination and their return to the Examinations Office.
-The timely start and end of examinations.
-Ensuring that examinations are conducted in accordance with JCQ regulations.
-Assisting in the provision of access arrangements as and when required to meet individual student needs.
The Candidate or Student is responsible for:
-Informing the Examinations Office of any individual needs, for example dietary or religious requirements during examination periods.
-Checking their examination entries and timetable carefully and notifying the Examinations Office of any discrepancies.
-Reading all the JCQ notices and information for candidates and adhering to those regulations.
-Providing appropriate supporting evidence in cases where they are unable to attend an examination or complete an assessment.
-Punctual attendance at examinations and ensuring they arrive with the necessary equipment.
The College will only operate as an examination centre for other organisations, or accept entries from external candidates, in exceptional circumstances and with the agreement of the designated Assistant Principal.
In such circumstances, the College will not normally accept candidates for coursework, practical’s, speaking tests or controlled assessments, unless these are for former Prestige students.
The College will not provide additional remuneration for any teacher who conducts external examination assessment for any student who is a member of the College.
Further details about the College’s examinations procedures are contained in the Examinations Procedures on the College Hub.
Registration and examination fees for all courses, which form part of the College’s curriculum offer, are normally paid by the College. The College will normally pay for one entry per examination / module per student throughout the duration of their course unless circumstances are exceptional (e.g. missed examination due to genuine illness, bereavement, etc.). Examination fees for Adult Learning courses will vary.
Reimbursement of fees will be sought from candidates who fail to sit an examination or do not meet the necessary coursework requirements without medical evidence or evidence of other mitigating circumstances.
Any re-sit fees will paid for by the candidates unless a specific agreement has been made with the designated Assistant Principal. In cases of financial hardship, students can request help from Student Services.
Candidates who have to prepare coursework should do so by the required deadline. Students will have access to a College Coursework Deadlines booklet during the autumn term. Failure to meet published deadlines, internally or externally set, may have serious consequences for students remaining on their course. Students‟ coursework will usually not be marked or processed by the College if it is submitted late, unless there are exceptional circumstances, and this will mean failure of that component of the course and subsequent withdrawal from that course and all its examinations. Occasionally, an earlier draft of coursework may be accepted. If there are exceptional circumstances, such as illness supported by a medical certificate from a doctor, a Head of Department may, in consultation with appropriate staff, agree to extend a deadline.
If a student fails to submit examined coursework they will normally be withdrawn from that course.
Students who wish to appeal against a mark or grade they have been awarded for coursework, should refer to the College’s Internal Appeals Procedure. Students who wish to appeal against a decision regarding their coursework should be directed to the College’s Complaints Policy and Procedures. (See Appendix).
Heads of Department are responsible for ensuring that all coursework is marked and submitted in accordance with the requirements published by the Awarding Body. Heads of Department will also ensure all coursework is ready for despatch at the correct time and the Examinations Officer will keep a record of what has been sent when and to whom.
Students will not receive information on the mark(s) for their coursework if it is subject to either internal or external moderation.
All incidents of plagiarism will be dealt with in accordance with the College’s Plagiarism Code of Conduct and in line with the JCQ document "Suspected Malpractice in Examinations and Assessments".
The Examinations Officer and the ALS staff must ensure that the access arrangements and special consideration regulations and guidance are consistent with the Equality Act 2010.
Additional Learning Support (ALS) and a doctor and/or an educational psychologist or specialist teacher in accordance with JCQ regulations will determine a candidate’s access arrangements.
ALS will inform subject teachers of candidates with access arrangements who are embarking on a course leading to an exam, and the date of that exam. ALS will also inform individual staff of any access arrangements that individual candidates may be granted during the course and in the exam.
Making access arrangements for candidates to take examinations is the responsibility of ALS and the Examinations Officer. The Examinations Officer will arrange rooming for access arrangement candidates. Invigilation for access arrangement candidates will be organised by the Examinations Officer. Support for access arrangement candidates will be organised by ALS.
External invigilators will be used for the supervision of all external examinations. The recruitment of invigilators is the joint responsibility of the Examinations Office and the HR department.
Securing the necessary Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance for new invigilators is the responsibility of the Human Resources department. DBS fees for securing such clearance are paid by the College.
Invigilators will be trained and timetabled by the Examinations Officer.
The College sets invigilators rates of pay.
The Examinations Officer will book all examination rooms after liaison with other users and make the question papers, other examination stationery and materials available for the invigilator.
The lead invigilator or Examinations Officer will start all examinations in accordance with JCQ guidelines.
The relevant Head of Department or a designated teacher will be present at the start of the examination to assist with identification of candidates and entry queries, but must not advise on which questions are to be attempted.
Examination papers must not be read by any subject teacher or removed from the examination room before the end of a session. Papers will be distributed to Heads of Department on the following day.
In practical examinations, subject teachers must be on hand in case of any technical difficulties. JCQ regulations on staff present in the examination room must be adhered to.
Results can be accessed from the College Hub, in person and by post (for external candidates). Different arrangements may apply for adult students.
Enquiries about results from external examinations may be requested by teaching staff or candidates if there are reasonable grounds for believing there has been an error in marking.
When the College does not uphold an enquiry about results, a candidate may apply to have an enquiry carried out. If a candidate requires this against the advice of subject staff, they will be charged.
After the release of results of general qualifications, candidates may ask the Examinations Office staff to request the return of scripts.
Heads of Department may also request scripts for investigation or for teaching purposes, once approval from the Director of Faculty or the designated Assistant Principal has been received. It is essential that candidates also give their permission before scripts are requested.
Certificates will be presented in person and collected and signed for. Certificates may be collected on behalf of a candidate by a third party, provided they have been authorised to do so. The College will not post certificates unless it is at the request of the candidate with payment and we accept no responsibility for loss in the post.
Certificates may be withheld from candidates who owe fees. A transcript of results may be issued if a candidate agrees to pay the costs incurred.
The College will retain uncollected certificates for two years. If they are not collected by this time then they will be securely destroyed. The College will not pay for replacement certificates where they have been lost or destroyed.
The College will not pay for the cost of replacement certificates where there is an error in the candidate’s information or a legal name change that they did not notify to the Examinations Office before the certificate was issued.
For the purpose of this policy, "Formative Assessment" is defined as any piece of assessed work where the mark does not directly constitute a final grade for examination purposes.
Assessment at the College should normally take place in relation to the student’s previous performance and the assessment criteria of the awarding body.
Each curriculum department will maintain its own assessment procedure which will be made available to students. Within each department separate courses may have their own subject specific assessment procedures, which meet the needs of the learner and the specification.
All curriculum departments will adhere to the standards for assessment as set out in the College’s, Assessment Protocol which refer to the regularity of assessment and the quality standards for marking and feedback.
All curriculum departments will maintain either a written or an electronic record of each student’s progress. These records will inform progress as recorded on the Hub so that students and parents/carers are able to discuss progress and plans for future improvement with teachers.
All students will be given a summary of the content, structure and timing of assessments. They will have access to the departmental policy with regard to drafting, internal and external deadlines and opportunities to re-submit work. They will also be made aware of the methods of assessment and the assessment criteria used to determine their final grading and will be given practice assessment opportunities where appropriate.
Students will be made aware of any grades they are predicted for the purposes of improvement and progression. At the scheduled reporting points during the academic year, students will have an opportunity to comment on their own work as part of a review process and their teachers‟ comments relevant to their progress, abilities and potential will be shared with them. These comments will also be shared with parents/carers.
The effectiveness of the policy will be monitored by the designated Assistant Principal who will report to the Senior Leadership Team should any amendments be required.
This policy will be reviewed every three years (or earlier if required) taking into account any changes in awarding body procedures, JCQ regulations, national curriculum requirements or legislation.
-Educational Visits and Field Trips Policy and Procedure
-Equality and Diversity Policy
-Financial Principles and Regulations
-Instruments and Articles of Government
-Internal Appeals Procedure
-JCQ rules and regulations
-Plagiarism Code of Conduct
-Quality Standards for Teachers
-Risk Management Policy
-Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy
-Staff Code of Professional Conduct
-Student Management Policy (proposed)
-Teaching and Learning Strategy (including the Assessment Protocol)