Non Exam Assessment

At school, your child may be told that they have to complete a Non Exam Assessment for their course.  The NEA process is explained below:

What is Non Exam Assessment?
Non Exam Assessment or NEA has replaced what used to be known as 'Coursework'. In essence they are much the same thing, in other words, research – or project-based work or practical assessment – 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. 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. Subject teachers will be able to tell students which rules apply to their course and will also ensure students are aware of the criteria used to assess their work so they can understand what they need to do to gain credit and marks. 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?
Teachers 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 child 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 for example, books, internet sites, or television programmes.  Students must not plagiarise, misuse AI, copy, purchase essays, or collude with anyone else. This is considered to be cheating and could lead to your child being disqualified. There are now very sophisticated internet sites which we and the exam boards use to check work for plagiarism and the misuse of AI.  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.

Deadlines for NEAs
The subject teacher in line with the subject leader will set deadlines in line with exam board requirements. It is essential that students complete work by the deadline as it is possible that marks will not be given and the overall subject grade will suffer if work is handed in after this date. Dates for NEAs are not included in any exam timetable; this information will be provided by the subject teachers and if you have any questions these should be directed to teachers. 

Marking and Moderation
After the deadline, the work will be marked, moderated internally to ensure consistency across the school and scores will be shared with the candidate. Please note that it is often impossible to give an accurate grade as grade boundaries change each year. In certain circumstances it is possible to have your work re-marked. 

How is malpractice detected?
Most coursework is marked by your child’s teacher and then checked by the exam board. Since teachers are familiar with their students’ work as well as the research on specific subjects, they will be able to tell if the student did not do the work or if the work was copied from another source. Encourage your child to complete their work honestly and follow the rules. This will ensure that they receive the grade they deserve.

What happens if a student breaks the rules?
There are a number of things that could happen. The relevant exam board decides which action is appropriate, but the student might receive no mark for the work, be disqualified from the whole qualification or part of it or be barred from entering a qualification with a particular exam board for a period of time.

Who marks the NEA?
The NEA will be marked by their teacher, checked by an additional member of the subject team and then checked again by the examining board.


If your child believes that the assessment criteria have not been correctly applied to their work, they can request a review of the marking – please refer to our Appeals Procedure.