Isobel Woodger, OCR English Subject Advisor
Here at OCR we’ve had lots of queries from centres in recent weeks about marking coursework, or non-exam assessment (NEA). For A Level English Language (H470), this means Component 3: Independent language research.
There have been questions about how to apply the mark scheme. This isn’t surprising as it hasn’t been assessed for two years, so a larger number of teachers than normal will be submitting marks for moderation for the first time. We’ve also had questions about administrative requirements, and most particularly about whether any allowances should be made when marking for the abnormal and difficult circumstances many students have had to contend with while completing their assignments.
Regarding that last point, the JCQ (Joint Council for Qualifications) has recently released guidance, which makes it clear that all NEA must be marked in the same way as before the pandemic disruption. This is really important, as it will help ensure that all students’ work is marked to the same standards.
As the JCQ guidance also says, the 2022 grading process that takes place after marking, when the grade boundaries are set, will provide a safety net. So please don’t think that by marking your students’ work to pre-pandemic standards this year, you are in any way doing them an injustice. (For more on 2022 grading, please see this Ofqual article from September last year.)
In the light of that recent JCQ announcement, and the queries we’ve had from you, we thought it would be helpful to provide a quick summary of the support available to ensure that you are marking to the correct standard.
There are several resources that will help you have confidence in your application of the mark scheme for H470:
General information on NEA administration is available on our website. There is a candidate cover sheet on the Administration section of our English Language web page.
For A Level English Language specifically please remember that all titles chosen by students entering H470 this summer needed to be formally approved by us (we ask you to submit them by 31 January).
This is done by using the Task title proposal form on our website. If you are not sure whether you have approval for all your students’ titles this year, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to check!
We hope that your students enjoy researching and writing their investigations for H470. The language investigation remains an important part of A Level English Language, as it enables students to follow their own interests and develop important research, analysis and evaluation skills. Each year we’re really impressed to see the range and diversity of investigations submitted.
Remember that we do have an overview guide for key terms and language theories, as well as to key theorists in the field, as well as some support for the use of quantitative data.
Finally, we will, as always, be offering CPD on H470 in the next school year. Keep an eye on the Professional Development section of our website and be sure to have signed up for history updates (details below) to get details of when these become available.
If you have any questions, you can email us at email@example.com, call us on 01223 553998 or tweet us @OCR_English. You can also sign up to subject updates and receive information about resources and support.
Isobel joined OCR as a member of the English subject team, with particular responsibility for A and AS Level English Literature and A and AS Level English Language and Literature (EMC).
She previously worked as a classroom teacher in a co-educational state secondary school, with three years as second-in-charge in English with responsibility for Key Stage 5. In addition to teaching all age groups from Key Stage 3 to 5, Isobel worked with the University of Cambridge’s Faculty of Education as a mentor to PGCE trainees. Prior to this, she studied for an MA in film, television and screen media with Birkbeck College, University of London while working as a learning support assistant at a large state comprehensive school.