A Guide for Parents on 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.
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 – 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. This means that other people should not have a direct input and the more help the student has from their teacher, the stricter the teacher will have to be when marking the work. In other words 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.
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.
Who marks the NEA?
The NEA will be marked by their teacher, checked by the Head of Department and then possibly checked again by AQA.
Please see our NEA policy at Settle College.
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.