Setting and maintaining standards: criteria, compensation and statistics Ian Stockford Head of Research. A Level Qualifications. Compensatory v Mastery
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Compensatory v Mastery
The purpose of A-levels
In relation to university selection, A levels must constitute more than a simple means of ranking students to help university admissions authorities choose between applicants. They must also ensure that students have acquired any specific skills and knowledge that they need in order to embark on their chosen degree course or profession.
Ofqual, A-level reform consultation, 2013
Qualitative examiner judgement
boundaries suggested by the statistical evidence
Challenges to qualitative judgement
Good and CresswellBritish Educational Research Journal, 14(3), 263-28, 1988
Support provided to guide the judgements of examiners
Alignment of standards:
Potentially vital in managing transitions between assessment structures
Removal of the January examinations series
What does resitting provide?
Wheadon and Stockford, Ofqual Reliability Programme, 2010
Candidates certificating in summer 2014 have had the advantage of being able to resit removed
Maintain performance standards or maintain outcomes…?
Maintain Performance Standards
Maintain (Contextualised) Outcomes
The grading of A-levels is not reliant of the ability of candidates to meet a set of performance criteria
Grade boundary setting using a combination of judgement and statistics although the challenges facing the use of judgement are significant
Whilst is has a role, the process of setting grade boundaries (and therefore controlling outcomes) is not an appropriate mechanism by which to drive increased competency/knowledge/skills of students
…this must be addressed over a longer period through increased content standards driving teaching and learning
Frequent reforms to the structure of qualifications drives in risk to the system. Comms between awarding organisations, the regulator, HE and the wider public are vital.