In our first blog about Cambridge Nationals my colleague Paul Jones, our Senior Customer Support Manager, and me Peter McCamphill (that's me in the profile picture above) from the Customer Service & Support team have collaborated to share the key aspects of the administration for Cambridge Nationals aimed at centres who have just started teaching from this September.
In this post we walk you through the generic procedures applicable to all Cambridge Nationals.
Understanding our administration requirements
I’ll begin with administration; which you’ll be pleased to hear is very straight-forward and it mirrors much of our GCSE process, so if you already teach our GCSE’s it’s likely to be familiar to you and your exams officer too.
Processes such as making entries and submitting marks for moderation are the same as GCSE. In addition entry, mark submission and results release dates have all been aligned so less to burden you with.
So what should you do first?
Paul’s put together a short film that summarises how the administration for Cambridge Nationals works.
Paul’s key takeaways are...
- Additional approval is not required if you already deliver GCSE, A Level or Projects with OCR
- OCR provides the assignments to use for every unit
- It is a sample of work that is requested, based on the number of entries you have for a unit
- Paperwork is kept simple with a Unit Recording Sheet (URS) the only mandatory document you need to send to OCR with your sample - authentication forms are also required but you just keep them in your centre
Bookmark our Cambridge Nationals admin overview page. This lists the main steps required for Cambridge Nationals and includes links to more detailed information for each step of the administration process. Your exams officer will also require the entry codes booklet.
Do I need to register my students in advance?
Your students’ don’t need to be registered for the qualification in advance; you simply enter each individual unit in the series you want them to be assessed. At the end of the course, a certification entry (‘cash-in’) must also be made to pull together all of the unit results into an overall subject grade.
Although you do not need to register students, to ensure you get regular email updates submit the ‘intention to teach’ web form’ - it takes minutes to complete.
How are entries made?
Your exams officer can make your entries via A2C using basedata or via our secure extranet, Interchange. Make sure you and the exams officer are aware of the entry deadlines (which we’ve listed below) to avoid any unwanted late fees.
When are the assessments available?
Cambridge Nationals are series based and all units, both externally and internally assessed, are available every January and June. A limited number of internally assessed units are also additionally available in November. November availability does vary between subjects so check the specification or the entry codes document for the availability for your subject.
What are the entry deadlines?
The entry deadlines will be familiar if you are already delivering GCSEs as they follow the standard general qualifications entry deadlines for the November, January and June Series:
Entries can be accepted after these dates but will attract late fees.
An extended entry deadline of 21 March is available for students who have sat an examination in January and may wish to resit in June of the same year. This enables you to wait until the January results are available before deciding whether to re-enter for the same unit in the June series whilst avoiding late fees.
Moderation: Your ‘things to find out’ list:
- where to find detailed information
- visiting vs other types of moderation
- mark submission deadlines
Moderation of internally assessed units
The administration area on our website walks you and your exam officer through each step.
How are marks submitted?
Marks are submitted to OCR via A2C or Interchange by the deadline for your chosen moderation method. It is a raw mark that is submitted to OCR and not a grade.
What submission methods are available for internally assessed units?
- All units can be submitted via post or electronically via the OCR Repository.
- Visiting moderation is also available for a limited range of subjects; this is available in January and June only and has an earlier mark submission deadline to the postal/repository alternatives.
- Whichever method used, the outcome of moderation is confirmed on the relevant results day (and not on the day of the visit if that option has been chosen).
What might I consider when choosing my submission method?
|Method||Points to consider|
|Entry option A - OCR Repository||No postage costs
Well-suited to qualifications where evidence is collected in electronic formats
|Entry option B – Postal||Simple process
Well-suited to qualifications where evidence is collected in paper format
|Entry option C – Visiting (where available)||No postage costs
More suitable if you have large volumes of portfolio evidence
Earlier mark submission dates
Once you have submitted you marks, your exams officer will receive a sample request via email, if you have chosen the postal option, you will also receive the address to post the sample to. If you are using the OCR repository, you only need to upload the sample to the repository and not the whole cohort (the sample will be highlighted in the repository as well as being included on the email to the exams officer).
For more information, including sample sizes, your exams officer can check the internal assessment section of the website. We will also cover the results and post-results process in a later blog.
Keep in touch and up to date
So to conclude we hope that the post has helped you know where to begin and we welcome your comments below. You can also get in touch via our mailbox firstname.lastname@example.org.