Is my understanding of the grading process correct or not?

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Masterspryce
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Here are some historical stats from my school

In 2018, out of 40 maths students, 8 people got A*s. (20%)

In 2019, out of 45 maths students, 17 people got A*s. (37%)

This year there are 49 maths students in my school. So does that mean the top 18 students ranked for my maths in my school are likely to be assigned A*s by my maths department with no risk of being downgraded as it follows last years results? Additionally does the increase from 20% to 37% mean anything in how my school's grades are scrutinized. What I mean is could the school claim that a similar massive increase in performance would've happened again this year allowing for more than the first 18 students to be able to receive an A*?
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emma89harris
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(Original post by Masterspryce)
Here are some historical stats from my school

In 2018, out of 40 maths students, 8 people got A*s. (20%)

In 2019, out of 45 maths students, 17 people got A*s. (37%)

This year there are 49 maths students in my school. So does that mean the top 18 students ranked for my maths in my school are likely to be assigned A*s by my maths department with no risk of being downgraded as it follows last years results? Additionally does the increase from 20% to 37% mean anything in how my school's grades are scrutinized. What I mean is could the school claim that a similar massive increase in performance would've happened again this year allowing for more than the first 18 students to be able to receive an A*?
From what I have been reading, it seems that the exam boards will take into consideration your school's past 3 years' performance in the examinations. You have only given 2 numbers so here they would give your school ~28.5% of students A* (unless 2017 was worse in which case this percentile would be lower). They have to take this average since the cohort varies wildly from year to year. For example, 2019 could have been an exceptional year for your school (i.e. they would usually score much lower) OR 2018 was a poorer year for your school. The exam boards simply don't know; your year could be full of geniuses, or it could not, so the fairest way is to take an average over the previous 2-4 years.
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Masterspryce
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I've recently learned that Maths A level exams taken before last year were different from those in 2019 and onwards due to some sort of reformation. In that case, would that mean they ignore years prior to 2019?
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emma89harris
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(Original post by Masterspryce)
I've recently learned that Maths A level exams taken before last year were different from those in 2019 and onwards due to some sort of reformation. In that case, would that mean they ignore years prior to 2019?
No. Although the maths papers previously may have been a lot harder, this would also cause the grade boundaries to be much lower, since A* grades are given by proportion. (I don't know the exact numbers but say for example 5% receive an A*. If one year the paper is out of, say, 300, and it is a really hard paper, then the boundary for A* may be 200. However, on an easier year, when everyone did really well, the grade boundaries have to be a lot tighter, say, 250. It all varies depending on the year.) So the percentage your school received in 2018 has no relationship to whether the maths papers were hard/easy/different or not, because the proportion of people to whom they gave an A* remains the same (no matter the year).
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