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Some thoughts on comparable outcomes

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: A levels and GCSEs

This week’s TES (3 June 2016) carries an article regarding comparable outcomes. It includes part of a quote that we provided to TES from one of our experts. The full quote that was provided can be seen below. You might also be interested in a recent video in which we discuss comparable outcomes.

Cath Jadhav, Associate Director, Standards and Comparability said:

"Comparable outcomes accommodates changes in the mix and number of students taking qualifications from one year to the next. If the ability of students stays the same, and nothing else that could affect their performance changes, results should be stable over time. But we know the mix of students taking particular qualifications can change, as can other factors, and the system allows for this.

“Awarding decisions are based on how students perform in their summer exams and associated assessments. They also use other evidence, including predictions from prior attainment. This is how we choose to operate comparable outcomes. And it has proved effective at maintaining standards in GCSEs, AS and A levels between boards over the period it has been in use.

“Information provided by the full set of summer results will always be able to offer insight that is not possible before the exams have been sat. It is normal for exam boards to reflect on this major source of additional information each autumn and use it to inform their subject predictions for the following year. Exam boards discuss these predictions with us as they prepare for the next summer series.

“CIE recognised that their 2014 IGCSE English award had been too lenient because of an unusual cohort, that both increased in size and changed in ability mix. They reflected on their outcomes after the summer, reviewed other research evidence, and made changes for 2015. All exam boards are aware of the many technical issues they face in awarding and look to manage them appropriately. We monitor this aspect of their work very closely."

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