Indicative Exam Service

From Stylus Education and La Salle Education

Empower, support and protect your teachers with externally marked bespoke papers providing the evidence needed to inform and justify their 2021 grade assessments.

The Indicative Exam Service from La Salle Education and Stylus Education will help your Multi-Academy Trust, school group or institution reach a set of Centre Assessed Grades that teachers agree with, that reflect the curriculum you’ve managed to cover, and that will stand up to scrutiny.

 

We provide high-quality, secure exam papers, designed for your context and overseen by former-QCDA members and chief examiners. As papers are unique to each institution, and delivered securely, you can choose the date for pupils to sit each exam without the concern of the paper being shared online.

 

We mark the papers, and our external moderation reduces the likelihood of grades being challenged — providing additional protection for your teachers, whilst allowing students to progress smoothly to the next stage of their education. What’s more, your departments get actionable insights on pupil progress whilst retaining their vital gained time.

 

Papers will be taken during an assessment window in May, and full paper analysis and broader evidence will be provided in time for submitting your grades.

To find out more, click the button below,

or send us an email: hannah@stylus.education

  • Marked by our experienced examiners

  • High quality bespoke exam papers in mathematics, science and English 

  • Overseen by former QCDA members and Chief Examiners

  • Delivered directly to your examination officer in security packaging

  • Truly actionable analytics including indicative GCSE grades

  • Easiest way to bring consistency across a group of schools

  • Choose your awarding body style (AQA, Edexcel or OCR)

  • Incentivise Year 11 to work at their best by providing the opportunity to out-perform predictions in externally set exams

Frequently asked questions

Why don't we just use the exam board questions?


The exam board papers probably won’t be secure, and may not be tailored to your students’ curriculum coverage. Ours are bespoke, and will be sent direct to your Exams Officer in sealed packaging - the next best thing to a national exam series for this year.




Aren’t we going to be at a disadvantage if we don’t use exam board papers because it’ll be exam boards marking them?


Ofqual's consultation document makes it clear that exam boards are primarily there to check schools are following a process, including sampling marking to check it’s fair and accurate - not to dictate the specific papers used. The evidence presented by schools should form a body of work representative of all the knowledge, skills and understanding a student has demonstrated, so exam boards are prepared to look at different types of marking or assessment, including classwork and quizzes.




Why not just have our teachers create their own papers?


Any type of assessment created in school, for and by the people using it, is less valid than a secure external equivalent. If teachers know what is on the papers, there will be pressure to ‘teach to the test’ - and pressure from parents and students to give extra hints or help so students can perform better. Using an external assessment relieves teachers of the pressure to create an appropriate paper, and protects them from accusations of unfairness, bias or teaching to the test.




Why not get our teachers to mark the papers?


The proposed timelines in the Ofqual consultation document are extremely tight, and present a huge burden to already overstretched teachers. It would be enormously challenging to mark and properly moderate a full set of exam papers alongside normal teaching duties within the short window suggested. By using external markers, teachers are free to get on with teaching and protected from the huge pressure of exam marking.




What if the exam boards don’t let us carry the financial credit into next year?


In either case there will be a cost associated with teachers marking the papers - using us is an investment in workload, wellbeing and the security of the exam papers themselves.




What if we disagree with the marking?


Our markers are qualified teachers, and we follow a rigorous moderation process overseen by former QCDA members and chief examiners, to ensure our marking is as fair as possible. However, the final decision on grades lies with you as a school - our papers are here to guide and inform, but not to dicatate.




How will the papers be graded?


We are not an exam board, so we are not here to tell you directly what grade your students should be awarded - no one can do that outside of a public examination. We are here to tell you how they performed against the Assessment Objectives, how well they performed against other students taking the same or similar exams, and indicate to you how this might translate into a grade. You and your staff have the final say. For Maths and Science we can tell you precise marks against each question. For English we will use your board’s assessment objectives alongside a comparative judgement approach, which will be enabled by the volume of schools we are working with.




What about A Level?


This isn’t a service we offer to individual schools because of the need for far more specialised markers and exam papers, which has a much bigger impact on cost, but we are happy to speak to groups of schools if they are willing to combine numbers.




Will we have the opportunity to team up with other schools?


A larger sample size will lead to fairer outcomes for all involved, so we are keen to build consortia between local schools or schools following a similar curriculum. Working together in this way means the validity of your evidence will be stronger when presented to the exam board.









Why don't we just use the exam board questions?


The exam board papers probably won’t be secure, and may not be tailored to your students’ curriculum coverage. Ours are bespoke, and will be sent direct to your Exams Officer in sealed packaging - the next best thing to a national exam series for this year.




Aren’t we going to be at a disadvantage if we don’t use exam board papers because it’ll be exam boards marking them?


Ofqual's consultation document makes it clear that exam boards are primarily there to check schools are following a process, including sampling marking to check it’s fair and accurate - not to dictate the specific papers used. The evidence presented by schools should form a body of work representative of all the knowledge, skills and understanding a student has demonstrated, so exam boards are prepared to look at different types of marking or assessment, including classwork and quizzes.




Why not just have our teachers create their own papers?


Any type of assessment created in school, for and by the people using it, is less valid than a secure external equivalent. If teachers know what is on the papers, there will be pressure to ‘teach to the test’ - and pressure from parents and students to give extra hints or help so students can perform better. Using an external assessment relieves teachers of the pressure to create an appropriate paper, and protects them from accusations of unfairness, bias or teaching to the test.




Why not get our teachers to mark the papers?


The proposed timelines in the Ofqual consultation document are extremely tight, and present a huge burden to already overstretched teachers. It would be enormously challenging to mark and properly moderate a full set of exam papers alongside normal teaching duties within the short window suggested. By using external markers, teachers are free to get on with teaching and protected from the huge pressure of exam marking.




What if the exam boards don’t let us carry the financial credit into next year?


In either case there will be a cost associated with teachers marking the papers - using us is an investment in workload, wellbeing and the security of the exam papers themselves.




What if we disagree with the marking?


Our markers are qualified teachers, and we follow a rigorous moderation process overseen by former QCDA members and chief examiners, to ensure our marking is as fair as possible. However, the final decision on grades lies with you as a school - our papers are here to guide and inform, but not to dicatate.




How will the papers be graded?


We are not an exam board, so we are not here to tell you directly what grade your students should be awarded - no one can do that outside of a public examination. We are here to tell you how they performed against the Assessment Objectives, how well they performed against other students taking the same or similar exams, and indicate to you how this might translate into a grade. You and your staff have the final say. For Maths and Science we can tell you precise marks against each question. For English we will use your board’s assessment objectives alongside a comparative judgement approach, which will be enabled by the volume of schools we are working with.




What about A Level?


This isn’t a service we offer to individual schools because of the need for far more specialised markers and exam papers, which has a much bigger impact on cost, but we are happy to speak to groups of schools if they are willing to combine numbers.




Will we have the opportunity to team up with other schools?


A larger sample size will lead to fairer outcomes for all involved, so we are keen to build consortia between local schools or schools following a similar curriculum. Working together in this way means the validity of your evidence will be stronger when presented to the exam board.









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