The following FAQs have been taken from the recent on-line clinics:
Q How does AIM cover the Practical Investigation for the Health and Science which requires students to plan and carry out practical experiments?
A Please send any units that are causing concern to email@example.com to discuss.
Q Will centres be charged for unit changes?
Q Do centres need to have a March date in mind as a ‘50% achievement rate’ to try and complete as much as they can?
A AIM doesn’t have a date but we suggest preparing for ‘Plan B’ (estimated grades), so start collecting as much evidence as possible now.
Q How can centres ensure student grades aren’t adversely affected due to the environment they are working in ie a noisy house etc?
A Try to support students as much as you can by speaking to them and putting them at ease and by discussing the situation. Also seek advice from AIM to determine if adjustments can be made.
Q Should centres still use Gradetraka?
A Yes, in the same way as previous years. Please keep it up to date.
Q Will the Gradetraka link with the large spreadsheet if centres move to an estimated model?
A At the moment AIM is looking at alternative ways to collect data but we will definitely require grade descriptor data.
Q What will happen if IV paperwork for assignments briefs are in college?
A Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss.
Q Are record summary sheets ok for each learner for moderation?
A Yes, that’s fine.
Q Are unit summary sheets OK for moderation?
Q Initial assignments were submitted as hard copies, which are in college. Some of the feedback sheets were also done hard copy. What should centres do?
A Wait and see what can be done with the moderation visit, but if you are concerned, please email email@example.com
Q If a learner doesn’t provide evidence of something in an online presentation, but instead infers that it has been done from the detail evidence, is that okay?
A There should be enough information to justify that grade and there would need to be a tutor’s statement to support this.
Q Who should centres arrange lead moderation visits with?
A Please arrange this with Sally Howard.
Q Our centre has scenarios of learners being challenged due to specific circumstances; QAA have advised us to inform our awarding body. What’s the best way to share this information with AIM?
A Sharing good practice is great, we would love to find out more at AIM’s QAA clinics or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org
Q QAA suggested that groups of students could be moderated up or down accordingly. Is this true?
A It is unlikely that AIM will change big groups - we would talk to you about what has happened. This is standard procedure, nothing new, but if you have any concerns please contact email@example.com
Q I understand from QAA that learners may be able to apply for a break in learning, but I’m not sure how this works? Is this something students can request?
A The guidance for breaks in learning is in relation to both ones already in place and new ones. The current breaks in learning can be extended as we are still in a pandemic and the circumstances may remain the same for the students to not be able to access learning. If a student is to take a break in learning you would need to discuss prior to this their return and the plan for when they return. If you have problems or would like some guidance please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Q If the break in learning is four weeks, and we have a 15-day turnaround for an assignment, it could be that members of that group would have received their marked assignments so should the learner on a break be given a new assessment?
A If you are doing it for such a short period of time, we would probably look at another solution, extending deadlines etc. Please email email@example.com to discuss.
Q Many of our learners are key workers, single parents etc, but QAA didn’t seem to think we should reduce overall workloads?
A We need to be careful not to lose sight that everyone’s circumstances are different as there are things we can do to help. However, we cannot lower expectations or achievement levels as we must maintain standards for entry to HE.
Q I have changed the assessment schedule around as you mentioned and written a rationale, but what impact might this have if we go to predicted grades and have to have ‘50% achievement rate’ in March?
A If you don’t think your learners will have completed the 50% by that point, you need to ensure you are collecting evidence now.
Q For practical subjects like chemistry, can we give the students the data on experiments rather than conducting the experiment in a lab or give them three scenario practical’s to work through (so they have to plan and present it)?
A As long as students will still achieve the learning outcome, that’s fine. However, if the learning outcome states that they should have conducted a practical/physical experiment, then please contact Sally to discuss.
Q The Animal Science Diploma is another practical subject, so instead of going out to observe animals, can we look at other things to cover this?
A Yes, as long as evidence is provided eg statements of what they witnessed.
Q The Access to Science has a mandatory practical unit. What should we do?
A We have approached QAA for a response and are awaiting their advice. We will update this page as soon as we have an answer.
Q Our online attendance is good, so rather than slow things down, can we speed things up so we can set assignments now and not have to go for predicted grades, but actual grades?
A Yes, but be guided by your students.
Q The moderation process last year felt excessive, is there going to be any leniency in the moderation process this year?
A From AIM’s perspective, moderation went well last year with very few issues so we are planning to stick to the normal model; we must ensure that grades and awards are correct.
Q When will students receive results?
A Students will receive results after the Extraordinary Awards Boards have been completed (date to be confirmed). Results will be sent to the centre.
Q Where should I send any queries?
A Please direct any queries to firstname.lastname@example.org where they will be directed to the most appropriate person to answer.
Q Is there an appeals process?
A There will be an appeals process available on receipt of the results. This will be published by the QAA and AIM shortly.
Q If a learner has extenuating circumstance which takes them over 20 March 2020, what do we do?
A If a learner is late submitting, with no extenuating circumstances agreed, (so should have been before 20 March) they are awarded a calculated grade based on the old model so capped at a pass. If an agreement is in place for an extension, taking them past 20 March, they will fall into the new calculated grades model.
Q Do grades post 20 March 2020 go on the Gradetraka?
A No, only up to 20 March 2020.
Q Should we continue to set assessments?
A There is no mandatory expectation for you to do so but it is recommended.
Q What if an assignment was due before 20 March but was late and not submitted?
A This unit receives a pass as a calculated grade.
Q For January starters aiming to finish in June and start again in September, what happens with their grades up to June?
A Only learners who will complete before 31 July 2020 will be calculated. For everyone else it’s business as usual but we are still awaiting guidance. You can adapt the program to make allowances for the current situation such as extending deadlines, changes to assessment plans, possible mapping of units.
Q: If we carry on setting assessed work, can we continue to mark and grade?
A: Yes, if they passed, you don’t need to do formal front sheets etc but it’s good for their progression. The feedback must only be developmental and give no indication of the grade.
Q I still have a fair few to put on to Gradetraka. They were all completed before 20 March.
A Gradetraka must be up to date for all work prior to the 20 March.
Q For Assessments in two parts, if part of the unit is before 20 March and part after 20 March, will grades be calculated and do they go on Gradetraka?
A No, as unit completion date is after 20 March 2020.
Q If a student cannot submit work, will they still be allowed to re-submit?
A This is the tutor’s decision. There is no mandatory requirement to submit. Any resubmissions which fall after the 20 March can go to calculated grades.
Q Can we mark these resubmissions if we want to?
A Yes if you want to, it can form part of the evidence.
Q Can we tell learners their grades after moderation?
A Yes, students will still have their RAC sent.
Q Is it the same for late submissions?
A Yes, they will be capped as a pass as late if after 20 March 2020.
Q What is the deadline date for putting old ones on that were late but done past 20 March 2020?
A 5 June 2020.
Q Can we put unmarked units that were done before 20 March on Gradetraka?
Q What happens regarding January starters?
A For January starters or post 31 July finishers, the guidance states that we will provide support for you, for example delay assessments etc.
Q Could assessment plans be used as evidence?
Q Re 50% - is that of credits or assignments?
A 50% of the units.
Q Will statements from tutors about the performance and progression of a student also be classed as evidence? We keep little in the way of real formative assessment records?
A Evidence will be different for all tutors, there are not set examples.
Q: My students are happy to finish the unit, can I give developmental feedback instead of grades?
A: Yes that’s your evidence.
Q: As the awards board is normally early July, do you envisage similar or later timescales for this model?
A: Same timescales, all being built around UCAS deadlines.
Q: I just confirm that we only use one spreadsheet but all information goes on there? Also, do we put the information by unit or by student?
A: One spreadsheet per diploma. So if there are five diplomas’, you will need to submit five different sheets. Information is entered by student not unit.
Q: When we calculate grading, are we calculating by descriptors?
Q Because we are an online provider, I have a student who applied for uni in September, but had little chance of achieving full qualification. They knew this but still applied. The Uni has said they got 50% of their units covered but they havn’t as we do the learning and the assessments. They have not done 50% of their learning but we can predict the grades. They applied for the course at university before this course.
A If they have a place for September, they can have calculated grades, but we would need to provide an explanation as to why. Because the model states that if they planned a finish date before 31 July we can’t not give them the calculated grades.
Q On the 50% threshold, is that included ungraded?
Q Are we putting actual and calculated units on the spreadsheet?
Q What about student references?
A Students can expect to be given a reference from tutors directly.