A Guide for Parents and Students on the
Non Examination Assessment
There is a chance that your son/daughter has come home from school to say they have to do a Non Exam Assessment for their course. So…
What is Non Exam Assessment?
Non Exam Assessment or NEA has replaced what used to be known as “Coursework”. In essence they are pretty much the same thing, in other words, research – or project-based work or practical assessment – that counts towards a student’s final grade. It is considered to be an excellent way for students to demonstrate the skills and knowledge they have gained throughout a course and their ability to conduct independent research and write up their own project. Completing the NEA will help a student gain valuable life and work skills and for our students it is done at home. Students are encouraged to use research resources such as textbooks, journals, TV, radio and the internet and importantly to learn how to attribute and reference them.
What rules do students have to follow?
The NEA must be a student’s own original work, and they will have to sign a declaration to their examination board stating that this is the case. Teachers also have to sign the declaration to confirm that the work is the student’s own. This is called “authenticating” the work.
You must always be aware that the NEA is meant to show the student’s own ability to complete a project using their initiative and resources. Subject teachers will be able to tell students which rules apply to their course and will also ensure students are aware of the criteria used to assess their work so they can understand what they need to do to gain credit and marks. There will be a fine balance between the amount of help given and the amount of marks which have to be forfeited because of this help. You should discuss this carefully and in detail with the teacher to make sure it is fully understood. You should also download and read the JCQ document; “Information for Candidates – non-examination assessments“.
How can I support my child?
You can encourage your child to plan their project in good time, talk to their teacher in detail, use a variety of sources which must be properly referenced, hand work in on time, and stick to the rules especially those regarding plagiarism. Together with providing a quiet place to study, this will help them to achieve their best. If your child often completes work at the last minute you could discuss with them how and when they plan to do their coursework. Encourage them to think about the project as early as possible so that the teacher has time to comment on their plan and draft and if things have gone wrong they can still be altered.
How much can the teachers, or I, help?
Teacher can provide guidance on suitable titles/topics and what should be included in coursework projects and the planning. They can also explain what the Assessment Objectives are and what the exam board will be looking for when the project is being marked. However, the teacher cannot tell students exactly how to do the work or specifically what corrections to make – the point of coursework is for your son or daughter to work independently. You can encourage your child to do well and you and the teacher can provide them with guidance and access to resource materials. You must not put pen to paper – you must not write the coursework. You can discuss the project with them but you must not give direct advice on what they should, or should not write and nor can the teacher.
What advice and feedback can teachers give to candidates during the task-taking stage?
As appropriate to the subject and component, centres should advise candidates on aspects such as those listed below before work begins:
• sources of information;
• relevance of materials/concepts;
• structure of the response (for example, chapter titles and content);
• techniques of data collection;
• techniques of data presentation;
• skills of analysis and evaluation;
• health and safety considerations, including the use of equipment;
• potential ethical considerations;
• security of their work.
Unless specifically prohibited by the awarding body’s specification a teacher may:
• review candidates’ work and provide oral and written advice at a general level;
• having provided advice at a general level, allow candidates to revise and re-draft work.
General advice of this nature does not need to be recorded or taken into account when the work is marked. If a teacher gives any assistance which goes beyond general advice, for example:
• provide detailed specific advice on how to improve drafts to meet the assessment criteria;
• give detailed feedback on errors and omissions which limits candidates’ opportunities to show initiative themselves;
• intervene personally to improve the presentation or content of work; then the teacher must record this assistance and either take it into account when marking the work or submit it to the external examiner
If your child is not sure how to complete their coursework then encourage them to speak to their teacher to get help. Planning and a “tight” plan are key. You and the teacher can suggest particular books that they might read, or discuss how to search the internet for relevant information. You should also encourage your child to express themselves clearly and most importantly to keep the AOs (Assessment Objectives) in mind. Accurate spelling, punctuation and grammar are also very important. However, always bear in mind that the more help the teacher gives, the more strictly they will have to mark the final submission.
Please also bear in mind that if the teacher believes that the work submitted is of a higher standard than they would expect they will have to question the student very closely to establish that someone else did not provide substantial help.
Are students allowed to quote from books or the internet?
Students can refer to research, quotations or evidence, but they must list and reference their sources. The sources could be anything – for example, books, internet sites, or television programmes.
Students must not plagiarise, copy, purchase essays, or collude with anyone else. This is considered to be cheating and could lead to your son or daughter being disqualified. There are now very sophisticated internet sites which we and the exam boards use to check work for plagiarism.
Encourage your child to use their own words as much as possible. If they do want to quote or refer to others’ work, tell them to use quotation marks and provide appropriate references. If your child is unsure on how to reference different sources then their teacher should be able to provide examples of good and bad referencing. By referencing their sources correctly your child will avoid being accused of cheating.
Deadlines for NEA's
The subject teacher in line with the Head of Faculty will set deadlines in line with exam board requirements. It is essential that students complete work by the deadline as it is possible that marks will not be given and the overall subject grade will suffer if work is handed in after this date. Dates for NEAs are not included in any exam timetable; this information will be provided by the subject teachers and if you have any questions these should be directed to teachers.
Marking and Moderation
After the deadline, the work will be marked, moderated internally to ensure consistency across the school and scores will be shared with the candidate. Please note that it is often impossible to give an accurate grade as grade boundaries change each year. In certain circumstances it is possible to have your work re-marked. To appeal please follow the guidance set out in the internal appeals policy on the schools website. The aim of this process is to ensure consistency in marking across the school. After candidates’ work has been internally assessed, it is also moderated by the awarding body to ensure consistency in marking between centres. The moderation process may lead to mark changes. This process is outside the control of Belper School and is not covered by the appeals procedure.
How is malpractice detected?
Most coursework is marked by your son or daughter’s teacher and then checked by the exam board. Since teachers are familiar with their students’ work as well as the research on specific subjects, they will be able to tell if the student did not do the work or if the work was copied from another source. Encourage your child to complete their work honestly and follow the rules. This will ensure that they receive the grade they deserve.
What happens if a student breaks the rules?
There are a number of things that could happen. The relevant exam board decides which action is appropriate, but the student might receive no mark for the work, be disqualified from the whole qualification or part of it or be barred from entering a qualification with a particular exam board for a period of time.
What can I do if I think the coursework rules have been broken?
If you think there has been any form of malpractice speak to your child’s teacher or a member of staff at the school.
They will be able to tackle the situation and give advice on what will happen next.
Who marks the NEA?
The NEA will be marked by their teacher, checked by an additional memebr of the subject team and then possibly checked again by the examining board.
Please see our NEA policy at Belper School and Sixth Form.
Coursework and NEAs take time and effort, and because it is a substantial part of your child’s final grade it is important that they do as well as they can. You can help by providing a quiet place to work, encouraging them to do their best, begin early and hand their work in on time.