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Archive information - our approach to awarding for 2020-21

Summary of our approach

Our approach to awarding for 2020-21 document set out our response to the outcome of the Ofqual consultation on alternative arrangements for awarding, following the decision to cancel exams from February 2021 through to July 2021. Read our full approach document.

Teacher Assessed Grades (TAGs) in 2020-21

A Teacher Assessed Grade (TAG) is a formal judgement of learner attainment against the requirements of a given assessment, offered by a centre where it was not possible for a learner to complete the assessment that would usually be required. Ofqual’s advice is that a TAG could be used to award qualifications that are primarily taught alongside or instead of GCSEs, AS and A Levels – including vocational qualifications which are important for progression to further study or employment (Category B1). Qualifications that are not like GCSE or A Levels in their structure, such as Functional Skills, Skills for Life, continued remotely. They could be awarded through a TAG only where assessments could not take place on public health grounds or remotely (Category B2).We reviewed our portfolio of qualifications against the criteria which Ofqual set out, and produced a list of qualifications which could and could not be awarded through a TAG in 2020-21, which can be found using Ofqual’s qualification explainer tool.

How were Teacher Assessed Grades (TAGs) submitted in 2020-21?

For information on how TAGs were submitted in 2020-21, take a look at the guides below.

Quality assurance of Teacher Assessed Grades (TAGs)

Our Quality Assurance Policy for Awarding in 2020-21 provided you with a clear overview of the quality assurance process expected for qualifications in Ofqual’s category A, B1 and B2. The policy outlined what was expected from centres in relation to preparing a Teacher Assessed Grade (TAG) strategy, internal quality assurance and preparing for the external quality assurance process.

Before you could submit any TAGs, we needed you to complete a centre TAG strategy by completing our Teacher Assessed Grading Strategy Form. Once this was completed, we encouraged centres to book in their EQA reviews as soon as possible so that learners received their certificates on time.

Qualifications which could not be awarded through a Teacher Assessed Grade (TAG)

Ofqual’s advice was that a Teacher Assessed Grade (TAG) should not have been used to award qualifications where it is not possible to award safely, reliably, and validly if the knowledge, skills, and behaviours have not been demonstrated and assessed. Given additional flexibilities afforded to us by Ofqual, we reviewed our qualifications which could not be awarded through a Teacher Assessed Grade (TAG) in 2020-21 and made substantial adaptations wherever we could do so without undermining the purpose or validity of the qualification, removing qualification content to make it easier for centres and learners to complete the whole qualification. You could find full details on the adaptations on the qualification pages.

Results and appeals

Following the release of results, we hope that your learners received the results they’ve been hoping for. We also want you to understand the correct process to follow if you believe any grades to be incorrect or receive a query from a learner about their grade. Take a look at our guide to appeals for results derived from a Teacher Assessed Grade (TAG) following alternative awarding arrangements in 2020-21. Please note the deadline for appeals for the 2020-21 session was 17 September and we will no longer accept appeals submitted after that date. 

Please use our handy flowchart on post results processes for B1 qualifications. We advise you to look at this before progressing down the appeals route.

Watch our appeals webinar to understand the process.

How to access certificates and external assessment results

On our secure portal, you will be able to find:

  • external assessment results slips and CSV files to view and download from the results area
  • previous claims and eCertificates that you can view and download in the certification area.

You can find further information on using the Portal in the Portal User Guide.

T Levels

It was agreed that T Level students could be awarded through a Teacher Assessed Grade (TAG) for the whole component in 2020-21, meaning students could receive an overall core grade in August 2021 that accounts for the core employer-set project and core knowledge exams. It also allowed students to focus on the occupational specialism and industry placement in the second year. You can find more details on our qualification page, through viewing our webinar or by looking at our T Level QA policy T Level QA policy.

Early Years Educator / Early Years Practitioner qualifications – knowledge only options

To enable progression for learners who were unable to access a work placement due to the Covid-19 restrictions during 2020-21, we worked together with Ofqual, Department for Education (DfE), Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) and UCAS to agree how learners could progress through a knowledge-only version of Early Years Educator or Early Years Practitioner qualifications. Read more.

Extra support

You can view our webinars relating to the 2020-21 session below:

  • TAG submissions webinar – watch now
  • Preparing for your V Cert EQA review – watch now
  • EYE and EYP knowledge-only pathway options watch now
  • Preparing TAGs for V Certs – Level 1 and Level 2 Technical Awards – watch now
  • Preparing TAGs for V Certs – Level 1/2 Technical Awards – watch now
  • Your questions answered: approach to awarding for Technical Qualifications (TQs)– watch now
  • NCFE’s approach to awarding for 2020-21– watch now
  • Awarding approach to adaptations for EYE / EYP qualifications – watch now
  • Approach to awarding for V Certs– watch now
  • Approach to awarding for Functional Skills– watch now
  • Approach to awarding for Technical Qualifications (TQs)– watch now
  • Support for centres: TAG guidance / judgement –watch now
  • Quality assurance policy for awarding for 2020-21 - watch now