AlphaPlus has been working on behalf of Qualifications Wales to gather information about the views and experiences of learners regarding Non-Examined Assessment (NEA) in the reformed WJEC GCSEs. The research seeks to answer questions such as
- To what extent do students experience NEA as a valid, and fair mode of assessment?
- Do they feel that NEA allows them to show their true abilities?
- How true is this for diverse learners (e.g. those with dyslexia or other special educational needs)?
- How true is this for speakers of English and Welsh?
- What challenges (e.g. deadline management, etc.) does NEA bring to young people?
This research is being undertaken through a series of focus groups of learners in Key Stage 4 (ages 13-16) who are currently studying for GCSE qualifications from a specified list of reformed GCSEs.
Schools are recruited using our in-house trials team, ensuring representation across a range of factors (rural or urban, medium, FSM eligibility etc.). The focus groups are run by experienced and trained facilitators and follow a semi-structured schedule.
The subsequent analysis is structured around the subject area. The transcripts are coded in NVivo against the lines of enquiry. These are further coded into finer grain categories which are analysed for similarities and differences between and within the groups and in doing so create a narrative around key areas of interest.