Mock exams must meet eight separate criteria to be classed as ‘valid’ and used as part of an appeal for downgraded pupils – but graded non-examination assessments can also be used, Ofqual has confirmed.

Ofqual has revealed the criteria that mock exam grades must meet for schools to be able to use them as part of an appeal (see full list below).

It includes mocks that were taken under timed conditions, were supervised and marked using a marking scheme provided by an exam board. All the criteria must be met.

However schools will be allowed to use marked non-examination assessments as part of the mock exam appeal route. Ofqual said this appeal route was available to a “wide range of students, including those who had not taken a written mock exam before schools and colleges closed”.

Exam boards will be “ready to process” appeals from Monday. The appeal route is open to any student whose mock grade is higher than their calculated grade.

In circumstances where the centre assessment grade was lower than the mock grade, the student will receive the centre assessment grade.

Because of the grade protection in place for students this summer no grades will go down as a result of an appeal, Ofqual added.

The route applies to GCSE, AS, A level, Extended Project Qualification and Advanced Extension Award in maths.

Centres will need to complete and send to the exam board a “simple form” to confirm each of the criteria has been met, provide the mock exam grade and a signed declaration from the head of centre.

Criteria Requirement
1. Assessment conditions

Supervised, unseen and undertaken in conditions that were intended to secure that work was the student’s own.

These include:
– appropriate invigilation
– no access to materials or resources that would not be permitted in exams
– no possibility of corrections or revisions

Non examination assessment, where applicable, must have been undertaken in the conditions required by the exam board.

For private candidates only, mocks undertaken with a private tutor may be used where they were validated by the relevant centre as part of the student’s centre assessment grade submission.

2. Form of assessment


Either past assessment(s) produced by the relevant exam board OR assessments developed by teachers to align to exam past assessments e.g. in the curriculum sampled and style of questions.

Marked non examination assessment can be used instead or in addition to mock examination results.

3. Specification coverage


Substantial coverage of the content normally assessed, for example assessment equivalent to one paper or one non examination assessment task.

4. Duration of assessment


Taken under timed conditions that align to those in the normal assessment (with suitable adjustments for those students eligible for extra time).

5. Assessment window


Completed within the programme of study, by 20 March 2020 (when schools and colleges were mainly closed).

For private candidates only, mocks undertaken later than this date to provide evidence for the centre assessment grade may be used.

6. Marking


Marked using a mark scheme provided by the relevant exam board, or aligned with the exam board’s mark schemes.

Marked no later than the date of centre assessment grade submission.

7. Final grade


Was graded in line with the exam board’s examination standard – for example, where a single past paper has been used applying exam board grade boundaries.

8. Evidence


The following evidence is available for the whole subject cohort if required for inspection:

– evidence of the mark given and that marking was carried out by the deadline
– the paper and the mark scheme

Student scripts do not need to have been retained.

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