https://ofqual.blog.gov.uk/2017/04/21/prediction-matrices-explained/

Prediction matrices explained

We have said that exam boards will rely more heavily on predictions this year for the new qualifications. But how are the predictions generated? And what do we mean by prediction matrices?

I’ve talked in earlier blogs about how exam boards use predictions based on prior attainment. They are used to guide awarders’ decisions, to make sure standards are aligned between boards, and to maintain standards when qualifications change.

We’ve made a short explanatory film to show how the exam boards use results from a previous year to predict results for the current year.

A reminder of how these predictions will be used in 2017

At A level, exam boards will use predictions to make sure that, in general, a student who would previously have achieved a particular grade will achieve the same grade this year. At A level, the demand has not changed – in general, it will not be more difficult to achieve a particular grade – but the structure has changed, the subject content has been revised, and the style of papers has changed in some subjects. Senior examiners will, as is always the case, look at student work, to make sure that the grade boundaries suggested by the predictions are appropriate.

In the new 9 to 1 GCSEs, there are changes to the structure and the content is more demanding. In setting standards in these new qualifications, we have been clear that we want to provide an anchor between new and old grades. Exam boards will achieve this by using predictions to achieve the following:

  • broadly the same proportion of students will achieve grade 4 and above as previously achieved grade C and above
  • broadly the same proportion of students will achieve grade 7 and above as previously achieved grade A and above
  • the bottom of grade 1 will be aligned with the bottom of grade G

Just like in A level, senior examiners will look at student work at these key grades, to make sure the grade boundaries suggested by the predictions are appropriate.

Exam boards will also use predictions to maintain standards in the unreformed qualifications.

If you have any suggestions for topics you would like us to cover ahead of this summer’s exam series do let us know by either commenting at the end of this blog or emailing us at public.enquiries@ofqual.gov.uk

Cath Jadhav
Associate Director, Standards and Comparability

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