Non-exam assessment administration (A-level only)

The non-exam assessment (NEA) for the A-level specification only is 'Language in Action', and consists of an investigation, original writing and a commentary.

Visit aqa.org.uk/7702 for detailed information about all aspects of NEA administration.

The head of the school or college is responsible for making sure that NEA is conducted in line with our instructions and Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) instructions.

Supervising and authenticating

To meet Ofqual's qualification and subject criteria:

  • students must sign the Candidate record form to confirm that the work submitted is their own
  • all teachers who have marked a student’s work must sign the declaration of authentication on the Candidate record form. This is to confirm that the work is solely that of the student concerned and was conducted under the conditions laid down by this specification
  • teachers must ensure that a Candidate record form is attached to each student’s work.

Students must have sufficient direct supervision to ensure that the work submitted can be confidently authenticated as their own. This means that you must review the progress of the work during research, planning and throughout its production to see how it evolves.

You may provide guidance and support to students so that they are clear about the requirements of the task they need to undertake and the marking criteria on which the work will be judged. You may also provide guidance to students on the suitability of their proposed task, particularly if it means they will not meet the requirements of the marking criteria.

When checking drafts of a student’s work, you must not comment or provide suggestions on how they could improve it. However, you can ask questions about the way they are approaching their work and you can highlight the requirements of the marking criteria.

If a student receives any additional assistance which is acceptable within the further guidance that is provided for this specification, you should award a mark that represents the student’s unaided achievement. Please make a note of the support the student received on the Candidate record form. This will allow the moderator to see whether the student has been awarded an appropriate mark. Please note that you should sign the authentication statement on the Candidate record form. If the statement is not signed, we cannot accept the student’s work for assessment.

Once a student submits work for marking and it has been marked, you cannot return it to the student for improvement, even if they have not received any feedback or are unaware of the marks awarded.

Further guidance on setting, supervising, authenticating and marking work is available on the subject pages of our website and through teacher standardisation.

Avoiding malpractice

Please inform your students of the AQA regulations concerning malpractice. They must not:

  • submit work that is not their own
  • lend work to other students
  • allow other students access to, or use of, their own independently-sourced source material
  • include work copied directly from books, the Internet or other sources without acknowledgement
  • submit work that is word-processed by a third person without acknowledgement
  • include inappropriate, offensive or obscene material.

These actions constitute malpractice and a penalty will be given (for example, disqualification).

If you identify malpractice before the student signs the declaration of authentication, you don’t need to report it to us. Please deal with it in accordance with your school or college’s internal procedures. We expect schools and colleges to treat such cases very seriously.

If you identify malpractice after the student has signed the declaration of authentication, the head of your school or college must submit full details of the case to us at the earliest opportunity. Please complete the form JCQ/M1, available from the JCQ website at jcq.org.uk

You must record details of any work which is not the student’s own on the Candidate record form or other appropriate place.

You should consult your exams officer about these procedures.

Teacher standardisation

We will provide support for using the marking criteria and developing appropriate tasks through teacher standardisation.

For further information about teacher standardisation visit our website at aqa.org.uk/7702

In the following situations teacher standardisation is essential. We will send you an invitation to complete teacher standardisation if:

  • moderation from the previous year indicates a serious misinterpretation of the requirements
  • a significant adjustment was made to the marks in the previous year
  • your school or college is new to this specification.

For further support and advice please speak to your adviser. Email your subject team at english-gce@aqa.org.uk for details of your adviser.

Internal standardisation

You must ensure that you have consistent marking standards for all students. One person must manage this process and they must sign the Centre declaration sheet to confirm that internal standardisation has taken place.

Internal standardisation may involve:

  • all teachers marking some sample pieces of work to identify differences in marking standards
  • discussing any differences in marking at a training meeting for all teachers involved
  • referring to reference and archive material, such as previous work or examples from our teacher standardisation.

Annotation

To meet Ofqual’s qualification and subject criteria, you must show clearly how marks have been awarded against the marking criteria in this specification.

Your annotation will help the moderator see, as precisely as possible, where you think the students have met the marking criteria.

Work can be annotated using either or both of the following methods:

  • flagging evidence in the margins or in the text
  • summative comments, referencing precise sections in the work.

Submitting marks

You should check that the correct marks for each of the marking criteria are written on the Candidate record form and that the total mark is correct.

The deadline for submitting the total mark for each student is given at aqa.org.uk/keydates

Factors affecting individual students

For advice and guidance about arrangements for any of your students, please email us as early as possible at eos@aqa.org.uk

Occasional absence: you should be able to accept the occasional absence of students by making sure they have the chance to make up what they have missed. You may organise an alternative supervised session for students who were absent at the time you originally arranged.

Lost work: if work is lost you must tell us how and when it was lost and who was responsible, using our special consideration online service at aqa.org.uk/eaqa

Special help: where students need special help which goes beyond normal learning support, please use the Candidate record form to tell us so that this help can be taken into account during moderation.

Students who move schools: students who move from one school or college to another during the course sometimes need additional help to meet the requirements. How you deal with this depends on when the move takes place. If it happens early in the course, the new school or college should be responsible for the work. If it happens late in the course, it may be possible to arrange for the moderator to assess the work as a student who was ‘Educated Elsewhere’.

Keeping students' work

Students’ work must be kept under secure conditions from the time that it is marked, with Candidate record forms attached. After the moderation period and the deadline for Enquiries about Results (or once any enquiry is resolved) you may return the work to students.

Moderation

An AQA moderator will check a sample of your students’ work. Your moderator will contact you to let you know which students’ work to send to them. If you are entering fewer than 21 students (or submitting work electronically) it will be the work of all your students. Otherwise it will be a percentage of your students’ work.

The moderator re-marks the work and compares this with the marks you have provided to check whether any changes are needed to bring the marking in line with our agreed standards. In some cases the moderator will ask you to send in more work. Any changes to marks will normally keep your rank order but, where major inconsistencies are found, we reserve the right to change the rank order.

School and college consortia

If you are in a consortium of schools or colleges with joint teaching arrangements (where students from different schools and colleges have been taught together but entered through the school or college at which they are on roll), you must let us know by:

  • filling in the Application for Centre Consortium Arrangements for centre-assessed work, which is available from the JCQ website jcq.org.uk
  • appointing a consortium co-ordinator who can speak to us on behalf of all schools and colleges in the consortium. If there are different co-ordinators for different specifications, a copy of the form must be sent in for each specification.

We will allocate the same moderator to all schools and colleges in the consortium and treat the students as a single group for moderation.

After moderation

We will return your students’ work to you after the exams. You will also receive a report when the results are issued, which will give feedback on the appropriateness of the tasks set, interpretation of the marking criteria and how students performed in general.

We will give you the final marks when the results are issued.

To meet Ofqual requirements, as well as for awarding, archiving or standardisation purposes, we may need to keep some of your students’ work. We will let you know if we need to do this.