We are in the process of updating our NEA guidance for 2021 to reflect the adaptations we have made to qualifications. Check the qualification pages for documents explaining the changes. We’ll provide more help and guidance soon.
In the following specifications, candidates need to study advance notice materials in preparation for questions on external exam papers.
These materials will be published on the relevant qualification page on 13 March and hard copies will be supplied in the exam:
The practical skills and techniques for each science (Biology, Chemistry and Physics) are assessed directly in the practical endorsement, using the common practical assessment criteria (CPAC).
The assessment of the practical endorsement is carried out by teachers as they observe students carrying out practical activities.
The requirements of the practical endorsement are detailed in the relevant specification, available via the qualification page.
The result for the practical endorsement will be reported on each student’s certificate as ‘Pass’ or ‘Not Classified’.
Quality assurance of the practical endorsement is carried out by visiting monitors.
As the practical activities for the endorsement take place throughout the two years of the A Level course, monitoring takes place throughout the duration of the course (e.g. visits could be in either the first or second year of the A Level).
Your centre will be monitored once during the first two years of teaching, with that visit limited to one of the sciences, except for very large centres who will be monitored for all sciences.
The monitor who visits will be appointed by the awarding organisation with which your centre has registered for the science selected for the visit.
The monitoring process is not intended to moderate individual candidates’ results.
Monitoring ensures the common practical assessment criteria are being correctly applied, and that procedures and records are being implemented and maintained in order to meet the requirements of the practical endorsement.
The monitoring process for practical endorsement for Biology, Chemistry and Physics has changed. You don’t need to do anything but please be aware you no longer need to register with the JCQ. Instead, we will be using entry data from the June 2017 series to identify the subject we’ll be monitoring for OCR centres.
We will contact exams officers (or other nominated school contact) to arrange the monitoring visits.
Please be aware, if you have any new ‘lead teachers’, you don't need to let us know but they are required to carry out the lead teacher training.
Any centres new to OCR, who are starting to deliver one of the sciences at AS or A Level, should notify us with whom they intend to make entries so a monitoring visit can be scheduled during the teaching of the first cohort.
As well as the Head of Centre declaration included in the JCQ NCN Annual Update, centres also need to return the OCR NEA Centre Declaration Form to us. This form confirms they have taken reasonable steps to ensure each learner has had the opportunity to complete the practical activities as described in the relevant section of each specification.
A range of practical activities is available via Interchange, as Word documents. This allows you to edit the activities to match your own resources, timetable and staffing.
A practical activities tracker spreadsheet is also available via Interchange and this fulfils the teacher monitoring requirements. This format is not mandatory, but is available for internal use, and it (or whatever alternative you may choose) will be viewed during the monitoring visit for that subject.
There is no requirement for the spreadsheet to be submitted to us. The minimum documentary requirements for the practical endorsement can be found in the cross-awarding body letter to centres, available on the positive about practical page under ‘Key documents’.
If you have any questions about the practical activities, please email email@example.com.