Understanding Centre Assessed Grades (CAGs)

Dear student,
There has, understandably, been quite a lot of turbulence over the last couple of days, particularly in relation to CAGs. I think it is important that you understand the process by which CAGs were arrived at and how these grades are different from other types of grades.

CAGs are not:

  • UCAS predicted grades – These are usually very aspirational grades – the highest grade a student is likely to be able to achieve.
  • Grades for Progress Reports/Reviews – based on current performance, this is the grade a teacher thinks that an individual student may get in their final exams if they continue to work at their current standard.
  • Key Assessment/Mock Exam Grade – a snapshot in time. These assessments do not test all the content or skills that students have learnt.

CAGs are:
Calculated grades based on student performance using a broad evidence base including key assessment grades, mock results and your performance across the two years of your course. CAGs also had to take into account the results that students had got at the College over a three – year period. Although this is quite a complicated process, essentially it means that the grades students got this year couldn’t be very different from the grade profile (by subject) of the previous three years. So if a college or school, on average, got the following grades in a particular subject (5% A*; 15% A; 40% B; 20% C; 15% D; 5% E) then that school or college would be expected to produce CAGs for their students in that subject which were in line with this profile.

This is most difficult in relation to high grades because it means we were unable to award as many A*-B grades as we would have wanted to. The use of historical data is problematic because the performance of past students affects the grades for current students. This was not the approach we would have chosen to take. This was a methodology imposed on us by OFQUAL and it meant that the CAGs were not the grades we hoped students would have got if they had sat the exams but the most realistic outcome within the constraints we were given.

Although teachers made a very important contribution to this process, CAGs are not teacher grades or predicted grades, but a centres profile of the most likely grades distributed to our students using a rank order based on the professional views of teachers. As such, contacting teachers directly isn’t appropriate or helpful at this stage as in this process they could only ultimately influence or determine a ranking of students, rather than simply predicting grades in the way they might have for a progress report or UCAS prediction.

What Next?
Unfortunately, there are limited routes of appeal open to you and to us; these are set out in the Appeals paper that can be found in the Exams section of WQEOnline.

Autumn Exams
If you feel that you would have got a higher grade than your CAG if you had sat the examinations, you can sit them in the autumn series. You must let us know by 28th August at the very latest if you wish to be entered for one or more of your subjects.

Tim Cullinan
Associate Principal (Curriculum & Planning)