Shelley Monk, Geography Subject Advisor
Here at OCR we’ve had lots of queries from centres in recent weeks about marking non-exam assessment (NEA) for A Level Geography.
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 the geography NEA (component 04/05):
General information on NEA administration is available on our website.
For A Level Geography specifically, there are a few points to remember:
The independent investigation remains an important part of A Level Geography and an aspect of the qualification well-regarded by higher education institutions.
Remember, there is support available for students when they come to think about their independent investigation focus:
If you have any questions, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, call us on 01223 553998 or tweet us @OCR_Geography. You can also sign up to subject updates and receive information about resources and support.
Shelley Monk joined OCR seven years ago after teaching geography for 16 years. She has considerable experience in delivering GCSE, IGCSE, A Level and the International Baccalaureate qualifications, as well as leading departments in Secondary Schools in the UK and Internationally. Shelley has eight years’ experience as Head of Year 12 and 13, supporting students both pastorally and academically.
At OCR Shelley worked with the geography team to reform the GCSE, AS and A level qualifications and she currently supports teachers through the development of a variety of resources, the CPD programme and subject communications. Beyond this role Shelley is clearly a geographer, as she loves walking her dog, exploring distant places and finding new recipes to trial on family and friends.