1. The purpose of the policy
The centre is committed to ensuring that the exams management and administration process is run effectively and efficiently. This exam policy will ensure that:
- all aspects of the centre’s exam process is documented, supporting the exams contingency plan, and other relevant exams-related policies, procedures and plans are signposted to
- the workforce is well informed and supported
- all centre staff involved in the exams process clearly understand their roles and responsibilities
- all exams and assessments are conducted according to JCQ and awarding body regulations, guidance and instructions, thus maintaining the integrity and security of the exam/assessment system at all times
- exam candidates understand the exams process and what is expected of them
This policy is reviewed annually to ensure ways of working in the centre are accurately reflected and that exams and assessments are conducted to current JCQ (and awarding body) regulations, instructions and guidance.
This policy will be communicated to all relevant centre staff.
2. Examination responsibilities
Head of Centre
- Understands the contents, refers to and directs relevant centre staff to annually updated JCQ publications including:
- General regulations for approved centres (GR)
- Instructions for conducting examinations (ICE)
- Access Arrangements and Reasonable Adjustments (AA)
- Suspected Malpractice in Examinations and Assessments (SMEA)
- Instructions for conducting non-examination assessments (NEA)
- Ensures the centre has appropriate accommodation to support the size of the cohorts being taught including appropriate accommodation for candidates requiring access arrangements for exams and assessments.
- Takes responsibility for responding to the National Centre Number Register annual update by the end of October each year confirming they are both aware of and adhering to the latest version of the JCQ regulations and signs and returns the head of centre’s declaration which is then kept on file for inspection purposes.
- Ensures the exams officer (EO) receives appropriate support from relevant centre staff and enables the EO to attend appropriate training and other events in order to facilitate the effective delivery of exams and assessments within the centre.
- Ensures a named member of staff acts as the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO).
- Ensures centre staff are supported and appropriately trained to undertake key tasks within the exams process.
- Ensures centre staff undertake key tasks within the exams process and meet internal deadlines set by the EO.
- Ensures “that a teacher who teaches the subject being examined, or a senior member of teaching staff who has had overall responsibility for the candidates preparation for the examination, is not an invigilator during the timetabled written examination or on-screen test…”
- Ensures confidentiality and security within the examination process is compliant with and managed according to JCQ and awarding body regulations, guidance and instructions including:
- the location of the centre’s secure storage facility in a secure room solely assigned to examinations for the purpose of administering secure examination materials
- appropriate arrangements are in place to ensure that confidential materials are only delivered to authorised members of centre staff
- access to the secure room and secure storage facility is restricted to the authorised 2-4 key holders
- the relevant awarding body is immediately informed if the security of question papers or confidential supporting instructions is put at risk
- that arrangements are in place to check that the correct question paper packets are opened by authorised members of centre staff only
- Takes all reasonable steps to prevent the occurrence of any malpractice (which includes maladministration) before, during the course of and after examinations have taken place.
- Ensures irregularities are investigated and informs the awarding bodies of any cases of alleged, suspected or actual incidents of malpractice or maladministration, involving a candidate or a member of staff, are reported to the awarding body immediately.
- Ensures risks to the exam process are assessed and appropriate risk management processes/ contingency plans are in place (that allow the Head of Centre to act immediately in the event of an emergency or staff absence). The Exam Contingency Plan is located on the staff VLE and college website.
- Ensures required internal appeals procedures are in place and drawn to the attention of candidates and their parents/carers in the Student and Parent Guidance document (FAQs page) on the college website. These internal appeals procedures are located on the staff VLE.
- Ensures a complaints and appeals procedure covering general complaints regarding the centre’s delivery or administration of a qualification is in place and drawn to the attention of candidates and their parents/carers in the Student and Parent Guidance document (FAQs page) on the college website. This complaints and appeals procedure is located on the staff VLE.
- Ensures the centre’s disability policy demonstrating the centre’s compliance with relevant legislation is in place and details the processes followed in respect of identifying the need for, requesting and implementing access arrangements. The SEN Disability policy is located on the staff VLE.
- Ensures the centre has a child protection/safeguarding policy in place, including Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance, which satisfies current legislative requirements.
- Ensures the centre has a data protection policy in place that complies with General Data Protection Regulation and Data Protection Act 2018 regulations.
- Ensures the centre has documented processes in place relating to access arrangements and reasonable adjustments.
- Ensures staff are only entered for qualifications through the centre as a last resort where the member of centre staff is unable to find another centre.
- Ensures the relevant awarding bodies are informed of any declaration/conflict of interest where a candidate is being taught, prepared, entered or sitting exams where a relevant member of centre staff has a personal connection to the candidate.
- Ensures other relevant centre staff where they may be involved in the receipt and dispatch of confidential exam materials, are briefed on the requirements for maintaining the integrity and confidentiality of the exam materials.
- Ensures members of centre staff do not forward e-mails and letters from awarding body or JCQ personnel without prior consent to third parties or upload such correspondence onto social media sites and applications.
- Ensures members of centre staff do not advise parents/candidates to contact awarding bodies/JCQ directly nor provide them with addresses/email addresses of awarding body examining/assessment or JCQ personnel.
- Manages the administration of public and internal examinations, including the provision of suitable accommodation, facilities and supervision.
- Advises on annual examination timetables and procedures as set by the various awarding bodies.
- Oversees the production and distribution to staff, students and parents of examination information.
- Maintains systems and processes to support the timely entry of students for their examinations.
- Obtains annual confirmation of specifications, awarding bodies and planned entries from Curriculum Leaders.
- Requests from staff examination registrations, entries, estimated grades and results where relevant, and processes these according to awarding body requirements.
- Liaises with teaching staff to ensure that all necessary coursework/controlled assessment is completed on time and in accordance with JCQ & CIE guidelines.
- Has a process in place to demonstrate the receipt, secure movement and secure storage of confidential exam materials within the centre.
- Ensures a log is kept at the initial point of delivery recording confidential materials received and signed for by authorised staff within the centre and that appropriate arrangements are in place for confidential materials to be placed in the secure storage facility.
- Ensures the secure storage facility contains only current and live confidential material (including live confidential exam stationery provided by the awarding body for the use of candidates in their assessment).
- Dispatches completed scripts and coursework/internal assessments to relevant awarding bodies.
- Administers access arrangements and makes applications for special consideration using the JCQ/CIE published access arrangements, reasonable adjustments and special consideration.
- Identifies and manages arrangements for scheduling examination timetable clashes and support of students affected.
- Accounts for income and expenditures relating to all examination costs/charges.
- Line manages the invigilators, providing relevant training according to the JCQ’s regulation on the conduct of examinations.
- Submits students' coursework /controlled assessment marks, tracks despatch and stores returned coursework/internal assessment and any other material required by the appropriate awarding bodies correctly and on schedule.
- Arranges for dissemination of examination results to students and staff, and forwarding of certificates to students.
- Organises and provides a post results service to students and staff, and forwards, in consultation with the SLT, any appeals/re-mark requests.
- Circulates the confirmed examination timetable for external examinations to staff and students.
- Recruits, trains and deploys a team of internal/external invigilators annually; appoints lead invigilators, as required and keeps a record of the content of training provided to invigilators for the required period.
- Updates staff annually in the JCQ regulations, college examinations policy and procedures.
- Supports the head of centre in ensuring that awarding bodies are informed of any declaration/ conflict of interest involving candidates and relevant members of centre staff before the published deadline for entries.
- Briefs other relevant centre staff where they may be involved in the receipt and dispatch of confidential exam materials on the requirements for maintaining the integrity and confidentiality of the exam materials.
- As the centre administrator, approves relevant access rights for centre staff to access awarding body secure extranet sites.
- Inform EO, in September, of specifications and planned session entries.
- Meet deadlines for entries, registrations and the submission of estimated grades and coursework/ controlled assessment marks.
- In conjunction with the SENCO and Learning Support Teachers, identify and refer students who potentially require additional learning support, as soon as possible after the start of the course.
- Complete coursework/controlled assessment marks and estimated grade sheets either manually or on-line submission directly to awarding bodies as appropriate, by the set deadline.
- Advise students as necessary after publication of results.
SENCO/Assistant to the SENCO
- Draws up access arrangement applications for students which provide a profile of students’ learning difficulties, disabilities or medical conditions. These applications are submitted to the examinations office, which applies for individual access arrangements, i.e. additional examination time, readers, writers, prompters, word processors and separate room facilities, via awarding bodies’ on-line facilities.
- Presents when requested by a JCQ Centre Inspector, evidence of the assessor’s qualification.
- Collect mobile phones/prohibited equipment from candidates.
- Supervise students during examinations to ensure compliance with JCQ/CIE procedures.
- Assist with the set-up of the examination room on large exam days, under the guidance of the exams officer.
- Report any breaches of regulations in the exam room.
- Collect all examination papers/scripts in the correct order at the end of the examination and return to the EO.
- Attend training, update, and briefing and review sessions as required.
- Provide information as requested on their availability to invigilate.
- Sign a confidentiality and security agreement and confirm whether they have any current maladministration/malpractice sanctions applied to them.
- Support the EO/SLT link in the receipt and dispatch of confidential exam materials and follow the requirements for maintaining the integrity and confidentiality of the exam materials.
- Set up examination rooms as requested by the EO, ensuring desks are appropriately spaced in accordance with JCQ/CIE regulations.
- Provide comfortable conditions for students to take their examinations, including adequate heating and ventilation.
- Check all examination entries to confirm that they are correct.
- Understand and comply with coursework /controlled assessment regulations and sign a declaration that authenticates the coursework/internal assessment as their own.
- Understand and abide by all college and JCQ examination regulations and procedures.
3. Qualifications offered
- The qualifications offered at the college are decided by the Principal, Senior Leadership Team and Curriculum Leaders.
- On-demand assessments are scheduled in agreement with the EO and Curriculum Leaders.
4. Entries, entry details and late entries
- Entries are determined by Curriculum Leaders and agreed by SLT.
- Curriculum Leaders provide information requested by the EO to the internal deadline given.
- Curriculum Leaders inform the EO immediately, or at the very least prior to the deadlines, of any subsequent changes to final entry information, which includes:
- changes to candidate personal details
- amendments to existing entries, including any tier changes
- withdrawals of existing entries
- Checks final entry submission information provided by the EO and confirms information is correct.
- Late entries will only be made with SLT approval.
Checking of entries
- Curriculum Leaders will check and confirm entries as requested by the EO.
- Students will be provided with a copy of their examination entries and are responsible for reporting any inaccuracies to the EO.
5. Examination fees
- Initial registration and entry examination fees are paid by the college.
- Students or departments will not be charged for changes of tier, withdrawals made by the proper procedures or alterations arising from administrative processes provided these are made within the time allowed by the awarding bodies.
- Late entry or amendment fees are paid from the exam budget.
- Reimbursement may be sought from students who fail to sit an examination or meet the necessary coursework/internal assessment requirements.
- The exam budget will pay the fees for an enquiry about a result. Fees will be reimbursed by the awarding body where there is a change in grade as a result of the enquiry.
6. Single Equality Duty, special needs and access arrangements
- All college staff are responsible for ensuring that provision and procedures meet the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 as outlined in the Single Equality Duty.
- The college will meet the disability provisions under the Single Equality Duty by ensuring that the examinations accommodation is accessible and facilitates a student experience that is conducive to examinations. This is the responsibility of the Principal, EO and the SENCO.
- Students’ special needs requirements are determined by the SENCO with assistance from relevant agencies where applicable.
- Access arrangements will be organised by the EO and the Assistant to the SENCO, by placing students in suitable accommodation according to their needs, after receiving relevant information from the SENCO or additional Learning Support Assistants.
- Submitting completed access arrangement applications to the awarding bodies is the responsibility of the EO.
- Invigilation and support for students requiring access arrangement will be organised by the EO and the Assistant to the SENCO.
- Where the EO requires changes to timetabled rooms to facilitate access, appropriate advance notice and information will be given to room users via email.
- ICT and technical support will be provided to students where relevant.
7. Managing invigilators and examination days
- Invigilators will be used for external and formal internal (mock) examinations and receive training and guidance from the EO on the instructions for conducting exams and an annual update event for the existing invigilation team so that they are aware of any changes.
- Securing the necessary Disclosure and Barring Services (DBS) clearance for new invigilators is the responsibility of the college Business Manager. DBS fees for securing such clearance are paid by the college.
- Invigilators are timetabled and briefed by the EO.
- Invigilators rates of pay are set by the college.
- The EO will recruit additional invigilators where required to effectively cover all exam periods/ series’ throughout the academic year.
- The EO ensures invigilators supervising access arrangement candidates understand their role (and the role of a facilitator who may be supporting a candidate) and the rules and regulations of the access arrangements.
- The EO ensures that invigilators are briefed on the access arrangement candidates in their exam room (and that these candidates are identified on the seating plan) and confirms invigilators understand what is and what is not permissible.
- The Principal is responsible for investigating suspected malpractice and reporting any incidents to the relevant awarding body. These duties, however, may be delegated to others to investigate.
- Malpractice will be investigated in line with JCQ/CIE procedures.
9. Examination days
- The EO will book all examination rooms after liaison with other users and make the question papers, other examination stationery and materials available for the invigilators.
- Site management is responsible for setting up the allocated rooms and ensuring conditions that are conducive for examinations.
- On the day of the exam, no relevant internal tests, mock exams, revision or coaching sessions for the exam candidates will be held in the designated exam room
- In order to avoid potential breaches of security, the EO ensures prior to question paper packets being opened, that another member of staff or an invigilator checks the day, date, time, subject, unit/component and tier of entry if appropriate, immediately before a question paper packet is opened.
- The EO will start all examinations in accordance with JCQ guidelines.
- Subject staff may only be present at the start of the examination to assist with identification of students but must not advise on which questions or sections are to be attempted.
- In practical examinations subject teachers may be on hand in case of any technical difficulties that may arise, including matters of safety and to help with invigilation in general.
- Examination papers must not be read by subject teachers or removed from the examination room before the end of a session. Papers will be distributed to Curriculum Leaders by the EO once all of the exam papers have been collected (including those papers from students with access arrangements).
- Late students will only be permitted into an examination room under exceptional circumstances and within 1 hour of the examination start time. After which a student may be refused entry into the examination in line with JCQ regulations. Refusal of entry into the examination is at the discretion of the EO.
- In the case of back to back examinations, a short break will be provided.
- A documented emergency evacuation and invacuation procedure for exam rooms is in place. This is located on the staff VLE.
- The EO will ensure any cases of alleged, suspected or actual incidents of malpractice or maladministration before, during or after examinations/assessments (by centre staff, candidates, invigilators) are investigated and reported to the awarding body immediately, by completing the appropriate documentation.
- The EO will ensure any incidents or irregularities are recorded in the exam room incident log (for example, late/very late arrival, candidate or centre staff suspected malpractice, candidate illness, disruption or disturbance in the exam room, emergency evacuation) and any follow-up actioned as soon as practically possible.
10. Students, examination clashes and special considerations
- The college's published rules on acceptable dress, behaviour and students' use of mobile phones and other electronic devices apply at all times.
- Students' personal belongings remain their own responsibility and the college accepts no liability for their loss or damage.
- Disruptive students are dealt with in accordance with JCQ/CIE guidelines. Students are expected to stay for the full examination time. Note: Students may only leave the examination room for a genuine purpose and are required to return immediately to the examination room. They must be accompanied by a member of staff at all times.
- The EO is responsible for handling late or absent students on examination day or subsequently.
- For examination clash students, the supervision of students, identifying a secure venue and arranging overnight supervision is the responsibility of the EO.
- The scheduling of subject clashes will be determined by the EO in a manner that minimises disruption to students.
- Where examination subjects clash, the subject with the longest exam will be scheduled first, in line with JCQ advice and regulations. The only exception to this is where an examination involves listening/audio visual components.
- Should a student be ill before an examination, suffer bereavement or other trauma, be taken ill during the examination itself or otherwise disadvantaged or disturbed during an examination, then it is the student‘s responsibility to alert the EO, year manager or the examination invigilator, to that effect.
- The student must support any special consideration claim with appropriate evidence within four working days of the examination, for example by providing a letter from the student‘s doctor.
- The EO will then apply for special consideration from the relevant awarding body within seven days of the examination.
11. Internal assessment and endorsements
- The Head of Centre provides fully qualified teachers to mark non-examination assessments.
- The Head of Centre ensures an internal appeals procedure relating to internal assessment decisions is in place for a candidate to appeal against and request a review of the centre’s marking.
- The Head of Centre ensures a non-examination assessment policy is in place for GCSE qualifications which include components of non-examination assessment.
- The Head of Centre ensures any irregularities relating to the production of work by candidates are investigated and dealt with internally if discovered prior to a candidate signing the authentication statement or reported to the awarding body if a candidate has signed the authentication statement.
- Senior Leadership ensure teaching staff have the necessary and appropriate knowledge, understanding, skills, and training to set tasks, conduct task taking, and to assess, mark and authenticate candidates’ work (including where relevant, private candidates).
- Senior Leadership ensure appropriate internal moderation, standardisation and verification processes are in place.
- Curriculum Leaders ensure teaching staff inform candidates of their centre assessed marks as a candidate may request a review of the centre’s marking before marks are submitted to the awarding body.
- Curriculum Leaders ensure that all coursework/controlled assessment is ready for dispatch by the required internal deadline.
- Curriculum Leaders provide marks for all coursework/controlled assessments and estimated grades.
- The EO will keep a record of each dispatch, including the recipient details, the date and time sent and proof of posting.
- The college is committed to ensuring that when staff assess coursework or controlled assessments, this is done fairly, consistently and in accordance with the specification for the qualification concerned.
- The college is committed to ensuring that assessment evidence provided by students is produced and authenticated according to the requirements of the relevant specifications for each subject.
- All results will be kept entirely confidential and restricted to key members of staff until the official dates and times of release of results to candidates.
- All results will be issued to students in person or by a representative where previous written permission has been given.
- Only SLT, the EO and other staff required for data analysis should have access to the results before the students.
- Results will be posted if students are unable to attend on results day.
- Results will not be given over the telephone or via email on the day.
- Enquiries about results (EARs) may be requested by college staff or students if there are reasonable grounds for believing there has been an error in marking. The students consent is required before any EAR is requested including access to online papers offered by Edexcel.
- When the college does not support a student or parent/carer request for an EAR, a student may apply to have an enquiry carried out. If a student requires this, payment must be made up front along with the application form.
Access to scripts (ATS)
- Curriculum Leaders may also request scripts for investigation or for teaching purposes. The written consent of students must be obtained.
- Priority scripts must only be requested in exceptional circumstances and where a students’ college place is dependent upon the outcome.
- Certificates can only be collected in person or on behalf of a student by third parties, provided they have been authorised to do so. They must provide a written letter of consent from the student. No other form of authorisation is permitted.
- The exams archiving policy identifies information held, retention period and method of disposal.