STUDENTS across Britain are currently facing some tricky GCSE and A-Level examinations.
If preparing for the important tests wasn't stressful enough, uncontrollable circumstances could get in the way of a pupil and their assessment. Here's what to do if you miss an exam or coursework deadline...
What should you do if you miss an exam?
It's important that students make it to their assessments unless they have specific extenuating circumstances.
If you are too sick to attend, you will need a medical specification.
The Joint Council for Qualifications outlines which candidates will be eligible for special consideration:
- Temporary illness or accident/injury at the time of the assessment
- Bereavement at the time of the assessment (where whole groups are affected, normally only those most closely involved will be eligible)
- Domestic crisis arising at the time of the assessment
- Serious disturbance during an examination, particularly where recorded material is being used
- Other accidental events at the time of the assessment such as being given the wrong examination paper, being given a defective examination paper or CD, failure of practical equipment, failure of materials to arrive on time
- Participation in sporting events, training camps or other competitions at an international level at the time of certification, e.g. representing their country at an international level in football or hockey; 2.1.7 failure by the centre to implement previously approved access arrangements
When won't your examination board offer extenuating circumstances?
Sadly, missing an exam because you have overslept won't be enough to sway the Joint Council for Qualifications.
The official website indicates that students won't be eligible for special consideration if:
- Long term illness or other difficulties during the course affecting revision time, unless the illness or circumstances manifest themselves at the time of the assessment
- Permanent disability or learning difficulties (diagnosed or undiagnosed) unless illness affects the candidate at the time of the assessment or where the disability exacerbates what would otherwise be a minor issue - (difficulties over and above those that previously approved access arrangements would have alleviated)
- Bereavement occurring more than six months before the assessment, unless an anniversary has been reached at the time of the assessment or there are on-going implications such as an inquest or court case
- Domestic inconvenience, such as moving house, lack of facilities, taking holidays (including school/exchange visits and field trips) at the time of the assessment
- Minor disturbance in the examination room caused by another candidate, such as momentary bad behaviour or a mobile phone ringing
- You miss your exam as the consequences of committing a crime or taking alcohol or recreational drugs
- Misreading the timetable and/or failing to attend at the right time and in the right place
- Making personal arrangements such as a wedding or holiday arrangements which conflict with the examination timetable
You have to meet a very specific criteria to be granted marks when you miss an assessment
What should you do if you miss a coursework deadline?
It is important to stick to coursework deadlines - as failing to do so could prevent you from being awarded a high mark.
If a student does not submit controlled assessment on time, they are recorded as absent for the task.
They will not lose marks on other assignments for not handing in one specific piece of coursework.
The Joint Council for Qualifications outlines when a deadline can be extended:
- Where a candidate meets the published criteria for special consideration, i.e. a temporary illness, temporary injury or other indisposition prior to the submission of their work, it may be possible to allow a short extension to the deadline
- An extension of no more than ten days to the deadline for the submission of work may enable the candidate to complete his/her work. The centre must contact the relevant awarding body to request this arrangement.
- Where a centre has been affected by circumstances beyond its control it may, in exceptional cases, be possible to grant a short extension of no more than ten days for a whole cohort of candidates. This is at the discretion of the awarding body. The centre must contact the awarding body as soon as possible to request such an arrangement.
When can a GCSE or A-Level exam be rescheduled?
While it is very uncommon for GCSE or A-Level exams to be rescheduled, they may be postponed in exceptional circumstances.
Some students in Greater Manchester may see their assessments timetable changing - news that follows the devastating Manchester terrorist attacks.
The statement read: “Schools and colleges affected by the bombing should contact the relevant exam boards. Students affected should speak to their teachers.
“Our thoughts go out to everyone affected by last night’s terrible incident in Manchester.
“GCSE and A level examinations are taking place today across the UK but, understandably, some students, schools and colleges will have been affected by the bombing.
“School leaders are best placed to decide if exams should go ahead and, if they decide they are not, exam boards will make sure that no student is disadvantaged.
“Schools and colleges affected by the bombing should contact the relevant exam boards. Students affected should speak to their teachers.”
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Removal of OPTEMS
In order to help increase security, and also allow more time for centres to process and submit their centre assessed marks, from Summer 2017 we will only be allowing centres to submit those marks online; via Edexcel Online or Electronic Data Interchange (EDI).
This will be in keeping with other Awarding Organisations, and will offer the following advantages:
- you will be able to submit marks right up to the deadline
- a reduction in the amount of paper being sent through the system, and stored in centres
- it will eliminate the risk of OPTEMS being lost or damaged in the post
- Edexcel Online will display the latest allocated moderator details, capturing any late changes
If your teaching staff usually complete their own OPTEMS forms, please see the guide below on how you can give senior teachers or Heads of Department the relevant access to Edexcel Online to complete their own electronic submissions.
The only exception to this change will be for Entry Level Certificate (Academic) which will continue to have marks submitted via OPTEMS, as these qualifications are not on Edexcel Online.