Submitting A level History coursework in summer 2016?

7 April 2016

Whether you're new to the process or simply after a reminder of which forms to use, this update contains a quick summary of what's involved. It includes a reminder of the submission deadline and the materials you need to send to the moderator, and lots of other useful advice and links. 

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Let's start with the submission deadline

The final date for submitting your A level History coursework marks and samples of work for the summer 2016 series is 15 May 2016.

This is the date by which you must have submitted your A level History coursework marks to us, and have sent your sample of student work to the moderator.

Where a centre has been affected by circumstances beyond its control, it may, in exceptional cases, be possible for us to grant a short extension. Requests must be sent to the history assessment team at

The next section considers some key questions you may have about administration. 

How do I submit my coursework marks to Pearson? 

Your marks can be submitted on an OPTEMS form (an optically scanned mark sheet) or online via Edexcel Online/EDI.

OPTEMS mark sheets will start to arrive in schools at the end of April 2016 for the summer series - after the Easter holidays. The OPTEMS form will contain the names of all the students you entered for the summer 2016 series. If you haven't received your OPTEMS and the mark submission deadline is fast approaching, please ask your examinations officer for an update.

You can fill in your students' total raw marks (a raw mark out of 50) on the OPTEMS form. Please do not try to double the mark, convert them into UMS marks yourself, or submit them as a percentage on the OPTEMS!

You need to send the top copy of the OPTEMS form to us. The address should be printed on the OPTEMS form and an envelope should have been provided for this purpose.

You keep a copy of the form for your own records, and send a copy of the form to the moderator with the sample of work (the form is printed in triplicate).

Coursework marks can also be submitted online. If you are submitting marks online, you must print out a copy of the marks for the moderator and for your own records.

If you have already submitted a mark but it needs to be amended (for example, because of an administrative error), please email the assessment team at with details of the amended point score. 

Identifying the sample of work that needs to be sent to the moderator 

On the OPTEMS mark sheet there will be an asterisk next to the name of each student whose work we want to see for moderation. You also need to send the work of the highest- and lowest-scoring candidates if they are not part of the requested sample.

You can check Edexcel Online to identify which work needs to be sent for moderation - there will be a tick next to the candidates' names.

If, for some reason, you're unable to send the work for a particular student, you should send the work of an equivalent student with a similar mark. You should also write a note to the moderator explaining the reason for the change. 

Who is my moderator? 

As well as an OPTEMS form, you should also receive (via your examinations officer) a moderator address label and envelope with which to send the coursework sample.  

What other materials need to be sent to the moderator? 

As well as the OPTEMS and sample of student work, you should also send to the moderator the relevant students' completed resource record sheet and students' individual candidate authentication/mark sheets. You should also send the moderator a copy of the coursework programme you are following - this can be a copy of the relevant page from Getting Started or, if you follow a centre-designed programme, a copy of your centre-designed coursework programme approval form. 

Where is the mark scheme?

This may seem obvious, but we always get a lot of queries asking where the mark schemes are.

There are no topic-specific mark schemes for A level History coursework. There is only a generic mark scheme which can be found on pages 96-102 of the specification (which you'll find in the course materials for A level History). 

Where can I find exemplar work?

We've made available several examples of marked work to help exemplify the mark scheme level descriptors. You'll find it helpful to look at a range of exemplar materials across different topics to gain a better understanding of the marking criteria.

For A level History these are contained within the Unit 4 Principal Examiner Reports in the course materials for A level History (look under exam materials on the relevant qualification page). The dates you should look for include:

  • January 2010 - Examiner report - Unit 4
  • June 2010 - Examiner report - Unit 4
  • January 2011 - Examiner report - Unit 4
  • June 2011 - Examiner report - Unit 4
  • June 2012 - Examiner report - Unit 4
  • January 2013 - Examiner report - Unit 4
  • June 2013 - Examiner report - Unit 4
  • June 2014 – Examiner report - Unit 4.

Do I need to carry out internal standardisation of marking?

In large centres with multiple teachers, it's essential that you carry out internal moderation before you finalise the coursework marks. You should sample double-mark, selecting mark points within the same level from different teaching sets. The double marking should continue until you are satisfied that you have achieved comparability.

Small schools with only one teacher need not carry out internal standardisation. 

How should I annotate the work?

It's important that you annotate the coursework to show the moderator how you have interpreted the mark scheme and applied it to the students' work.

Indications in the margins as to where specific assessment objective levels are perceived, together with summative comments at the end of each part of the coursework are ideal.

You should mark and annotate the work in ink. Initial marking may be done in pencil until you are satisfied that you are applying the marking criteria accurately and consistently; please then go over your marks and comments in ink.  

What are the grade boundaries? 

You should not attempt to grade the work; you should be marking the work by applying the marking criteria in a consistent manner.

The coursework grades will be awarded at the end of each examination series using the standard code of practice awarding process.

Grade boundaries are always published on the grade boundaries page of our website. They're available to download from results day.

Please also remember that the mark you submit to us should be the total raw mark, not the UMS mark. The UMS marks are allocated by us as a result of the awarding process.

A score of zero should only be used if a candidate has submitted work that is found to meet none of the assessment criteria. An X should be used for any candidate who is absent.  

Teachers' guide

Further support and guidance can be found in the Getting Started Guide in the course materials for A level History (look under 'teaching and learning materials' and 'teacher guide'). 

E9 Moderator Report 

While moderating your centre's coursework, the moderator will write an E9 report which will provide you with detailed feedback on your marking and administration. You will be able to download this report on results day.

More details on how to access your E9 report will be provided in my results day update. If, on results day, you are unable to access your report, please email me at, as I may need to amend your Edexcel Online account. Alternatively, ask your examinations officer for assistance.

I hope you've found this update useful. If you have any further questions about the submission of coursework, please do not hesitate to contact me.



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