Do the exam boards set a quota for each grade in each A level subject? Watch

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Matthew M. Hunt
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#21
Ray Pang ([email protected]) wrote:
[q1]> "Matthew M. Huntbach" <[email protected]> wrote in message[/q1]

[q2]> > I had no idea when I marked the projects I saw what people who marked the other projects had[/q2]
[q2]> > given them. Each project is marked independently by two people, with an external examiner[/q2]
[q2]> > looking at a selection of them as well.[/q2]

[q1]> Fair point. What I'm against is that if there were 100 "publishable standard" pieces, then only a[/q1]
[q1]> few would be awarded 1sts, purely out of a strange principle.[/q1]

My point was that it doesn't work like that, at least in my department. The marking system means you
don't know what marks the other projects have, so if you though the ones you marked were first
class, you would just think you had somehow managed to get all the best projects, you wouldn't know
all the others were just as good until the marks were actually given.

This year, we gave 41% of our final year projects a First class mark. We gave almost a third of our
graduates a First class degree (the project is only part of the assessment, so it is possible to get
a first in your project but not your degree and vice versa). Although these proportions are about
twice our normal, we were certain we had marked to the same standards as normal, and it was just an
excellent year. There is no fixed proportion of people who are awarded firsts.

Matthew Huntbach
David
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#22
In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
[q1]> Oh I *know* you can get 100% in A/AS-level modules. It's just that in law at Warwick Uni I'm told[/q1]
[q1]> that it's impossible.[/q1]

In a Maths course, it would presumably be possible to get 100% for an assignment but in courses such
as History, Philosophy, Law etc. I am sure that there are many departments in many universities that
have never ever awarded 100% for an essay.

When I did a Philosophy degree, I regularly got between 70% and 80% for essays. This meant a first.
The lecturers never told me what I would have to do to gain the remaining 30%. Getting 70% for a
Philosophy essay does not mean that 30% of what you wrote was "wrong". Nobody at my university ever
got more than 80% for any essay.

This does not mean, of course, that it is impossible for everyone in a cohort to get a first class
degree. Any university department would be delighted to award everyone a first if they merited it.
Ray Pang
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#23
"Matthew M. Huntbach" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
[q1]> Ray Pang ([email protected]) wrote:[/q1]
[q2]> > "Matthew M. Huntbach" <[email protected]> wrote in message[/q2]
[q1]> There is no fixed proportion of people who are awarded firsts.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Matthew Huntbach[/q1]

That's exactly how it should be. Do you know of any departments (maybe at QM, maybe not) which DO
have a fixed number? I'm finding it hard to believe the lawyers at Warwick who claim there IS a
fixed proportion of firsts.
Ray Pang
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"David" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
[q1]> In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...[/q1]
[q2]> > Oh I *know* you can get 100% in A/AS-level modules. It's just that in[/q2]
law at
[q2]> > Warwick Uni I'm told that it's impossible.[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> In a Maths course, it would presumably be possible to get 100% for an assignment but in courses[/q1]
[q1]> such as History, Philosophy, Law etc. I am sure that there are many departments in many[/q1]
[q1]> universities that have never ever awarded 100% for an essay.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> When I did a Philosophy degree, I regularly got between 70% and 80% for essays. This meant a[/q1]
[q1]> first. The lecturers never told me what I would have to do to gain the remaining 30%.[/q1]

Did you not choose to question how to get the extra 30%? If not, why not? If you knew how to, then
you could have got a buffer zone in case one of your later essays was not quite up to scratch.

Alternatively, if they couldn't say why you 'only' got 80%, then there's a real problem. If there's
nothing that you could've done on top of that then surely 90-100% is merited.

[q1]> Getting 70% for a Philosophy essay does not mean that 30% of what you wrote was "wrong".[/q1]

So what does it mean then?

[q1]> Nobody at my university ever got more than 80% for any essay.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> This does not mean, of course, that it is impossible for everyone in a cohort to get a first class[/q1]
[q1]> degree. Any university department would be delighted to award everyone a first if they merited it.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]

I'm going on hearsay, but I'm told that the Warwick Law School never gives out more than a fixed
number of firsts per year. It sounds ridiculous to me, but the lawyers seem adamant on that.
Matthew M. Hunt
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#25
Ray Pang ([email protected]) wrote:
[q1]> "Matthew M. Huntbach" <[email protected]> wrote in message[/q1]

[q2]> > There is no fixed proportion of people who are awarded firsts.[/q2]

[q1]> That's exactly how it should be. Do you know of any departments (maybe at QM, maybe not) which DO[/q1]
[q1]> have a fixed number?[/q1]

No.

Matthew Huntbach
Dr A. N. Walker
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#26
In article <[email protected]>, Ray Pang <[email protected]> wrote:
[q2]>> > Oh I *know* you can get 100% in A/AS-level modules. It's just that in[/q2]
[q1]>law at[/q1]
[q2]>> > Warwick Uni I'm told that it's impossible.[/q2]
[q2]>> When I did a Philosophy degree, I regularly got between 70% and 80% for essays. [...][/q2]
[q1]>Did you not choose to question how to get the extra 30%? If not, why not? If you knew how to, then[/q1]
[q1]>you could have got a buffer zone in case one of your later essays was not quite up to scratch.[/q1]

The mistake lies in assuming that [eg] "75%" means "you scored three-quarters of the marks".
In maths, it *may* mean that; though most departments will scale up or down to get the
first-class border in what they consider to be the right place. For non-science subjects, it
may *very* *occasionally* mean that, eg if the "model solution" has a list of points that
must be made or if it's a translation, or similar. For essays, it scarcely ever means that.

If I mark an essay, I usually do so onto an "alpha, beta, gamma" scale, decorated in the
traditional ways with pluses, minuses, queries, etc., and this gets converted somehow to a
mark scale. The mark is purely notional, and probably actually conveys less information than
"alpha?-" or whatever.

"Buffer zones" are also somewhat notional, depending on the practices of the examiners. Many
"arts" disciplines look at profiles. In this case, "well over 70" is much more important
than whether the mark is 76, 83, 94 or 100. You're not going to get a "first" with marks of,
say, 68, 69, 67, 69, 68, 68, 68, 99, even though this averages to 72; you may well get one
with 71, 72, ..., 72, 48. Even when average marks are nominally the main criteria, boards
often have rules about ignoring top and bottom marks, or requiring certain numbers of
credits at various levels, or similar.

[q2]>> Getting 70% for a Philosophy essay does not mean that 30% of what you wrote was "wrong".[/q2]
[q1]>So what does it mean then?[/q1]

It means that the examiners think that your performance on that essay was borderline but
just deserved a "first" rather than an upper second. If you're lucky, then the department
will have published guidelines for what, in their view, constitutes such a marginal "first"
[phrases like "substantially correct", "shows some evidence of reading beyond material
contained in lectures", "is able to condense an argument into succinct form", "shows clear
understanding of much of the material", etc]. and perhaps also for things like marginal pass
["shows some evidence of understanding some of the work", ...], upper/lower second, etc.

But note that practices vary far too much for anything I say to be taken too seriously.

--
Andy Walker, School of MathSci., Univ. of Nott'm, UK. [email protected]
Dr A. N. Walker
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#27
In article <[email protected]>, Ray Pang <[email protected]> wrote:
[q1]> [...]. Do you know of any departments (maybe at QM, maybe not) which DO have a fixed number?[/q1]

In my day as an undergraduate, the proportions of firsts, seconds and thirds in maths at
Cambridge were very suspiciously close to 1:2:1, year in, year out. I believe this is no
longer the case, however.

--
Andy Walker, School of MathSci., Univ. of Nott'm, UK. [email protected]
Jhp
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#28
Dr A. N. Walker <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
[q1]> In article <[email protected]>, Ray Pang <[email protected]> wrote:[/q1]
[q2]> >> > Oh I *know* you can get 100% in A/AS-level modules. It's just that in[/q2]
[q2]> >law at[/q2]
[q2]> >> > Warwick Uni I'm told that it's impossible.[/q2]
[q2]> >> When I did a Philosophy degree, I regularly got between 70% and 80% for essays. [...][/q2]
[q2]> >Did you not choose to question how to get the extra 30%? If not, why not?[/q2]
If
[q2]> >you knew how to, then you could have got a buffer zone in case one of[/q2]
your
[q2]> >later essays was not quite up to scratch.[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> The mistake lies in assuming that [eg] "75%" means "you scored three-quarters of the marks". In[/q1]
[q1]> maths, it *may* mean that; though most departments will scale up or down to get the first-class[/q1]
[q1]> border in what they consider to be the right place. For non-science subjects, it may *very*[/q1]
[q1]> *occasionally* mean that, eg if the "model solution" has a list of points that must be made or if[/q1]
[q1]> it's a translation, or similar. For essays, it scarcely ever means that.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> If I mark an essay, I usually do so onto an "alpha, beta, gamma" scale, decorated in the[/q1]
[q1]> traditional ways with pluses, minuses, queries, etc., and this gets converted somehow to a mark[/q1]
[q1]> scale. The mark is purely notional, and probably actually conveys less information than "alpha?-"[/q1]
[q1]> or whatever.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> "Buffer zones" are also somewhat notional, depending on the practices of the examiners. Many[/q1]
[q1]> "arts" disciplines look at profiles. In this case, "well over 70" is much more important than[/q1]
[q1]> whether the mark is 76, 83, 94 or 100. You're not going to get a "first" with marks of, say, 68,[/q1]
[q1]> 69, 67, 69, 68, 68, 68, 99, even though this averages to 72; you may well get one with 71, 72,[/q1]
[q1]> ..., 72, 48. Even when average marks are nominally the main criteria, boards often have rules[/q1]
[q1]> about ignoring top and bottom marks, or requiring certain numbers of credits at various levels, or[/q1]
[q1]> similar.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q2]> >> Getting 70% for a Philosophy essay does not mean that 30% of what you wrote was "wrong".[/q2]
[q2]> >So what does it mean then?[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> It means that the examiners think that your performance on that essay was borderline but just[/q1]
[q1]> deserved a "first" rather than an upper second. If you're lucky, then the department will have[/q1]
[q1]> published guidelines for what, in their view, constitutes such a marginal "first" [phrases like[/q1]
[q1]> "substantially correct", "shows some evidence of reading beyond material contained in lectures",[/q1]
[q1]> "is able to condense an argument into succinct form", "shows clear understanding of much of the[/q1]
[q1]> material", etc]. and perhaps also for things like marginal pass ["shows some evidence of[/q1]
[q1]> understanding some of the work", ...], upper/lower second, etc.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> But note that practices vary far too much for anything I say to be taken too seriously.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> --[/q1]
[q1]> Andy Walker, School of MathSci., Univ. of Nott'm, UK. [email protected][/q1]

Andy 's quite right, and it's much misunderstood by candidates.. You will not get a first at our
place unless you show first class work in a majority of subjects, so the 68, 69, 68, 69, 69, 90
stream will scream 2:1 at the exam board. I'm glad to say we have huge discretion giving classes of
degree. John
Ian/Cath Ford
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#29
On 25 Jun 2002 18:09:16 GMT, [email protected] (Dr A. N. Walker) wrote:

[q1]> But note that practices vary far too much for anything I say to be taken too seriously.[/q1]

Boom boom,

But, none the less (!), an interesting way of talking about marking and one which is pretty much
alien to the current school philosophy where everything needs evidence and clear, detailed criteria
and that we should be able to query just about everything.

When it comes down to it (and when you're judging a whole candidate) I prefer your system.

Ian
--
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Support clubs against Carlton & Granada: Boycott ITV world cup coverage.

You know what to do: delete the dots but leave the .s to reply to us.
Ray Pang
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"JHP" <[email protected] t.co.uk> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Andy 's quite right, and it's much misunderstood by candidates.. You will not get a first at our[/q1]
[q1]> place unless you show first class work in a[/q1]
majority
[q1]> of subjects, so the 68, 69, 68, 69, 69, 90 stream will scream 2:1 at the exam board. I'm glad to[/q1]
[q1]> say we have huge discretion giving classes of degree. John[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]

I suppose being a mathematician has warped my mind into a sense of absoluteness. I still don't agree
with the "no 100%'s. Ever." idea but the rest seems fairly reasonable now. Thank you.
Matthew Huntbac
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JHP ([email protected] t.co.uk) wrote:

[q1]> Andy 's quite right, and it's much misunderstood by candidates.. You will not get a first at our[/q1]
[q1]> place unless you show first class work in a majority of subjects, so the 68, 69, 68, 69, 69, 90[/q1]
[q1]> stream will scream 2:1 at the exam board. I'm glad to say we have huge discretion giving classes[/q1]
[q1]> of degree.[/q1]

In the past, when all you got at the end of your degree was the class, huge discretion could be
operated. These days, when students get full transcripts of their marks, and there is a more
litigious mentality, it can't. They demand to know exactly how the degree class is worked out, they
all compare their transcripts with their friends, and if two have similar average marks but
different class degrees, the lower classed one will put in an appeal. Apparently, last year our
department had several dozen appeals. As a consequence, we're moving more and more to just doing it
by numbers rather than exercising any sort of discretion.

Matthew Huntbach
Matthew Huntbac
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Ian/Cath Ford ([email protected]) wrote:
[q1]> On 25 Jun 2002 18:09:16 GMT, [email protected] (Dr A. N. Walker) wrote:[/q1]

[q2]> > But note that practices vary far too much for anything I say to be taken too seriously.[/q2]

[q1]> But, none the less (!), an interesting way of talking about marking and one which is pretty much[/q1]
[q1]> alien to the current school philosophy where everything needs evidence and clear, detailed[/q1]
[q1]> criteria and that we should be able to query just about everything.[/q1]

[q1]> When it comes down to it (and when you're judging a whole candidate) I prefer your system.[/q1]

As I said, university degree class awarding is moving much closer to your school philosophy.

Matthew Huntbach
Jhp
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[q1]> In the past, when all you got at the end of your degree was the class, huge discretion could be[/q1]
[q1]> operated. These days, when students get full transcripts of their marks, and there is a more[/q1]
[q1]> litigious mentality, it can't. They demand to know exactly how the degree class is worked out,[/q1]
[q1]> they all compare their transcripts with their friends, and if two have similar average marks but[/q1]
[q1]> different class degrees, the lower classed one will put in an appeal. Apparently, last year our[/q1]
[q1]> department had several dozen appeals. As a consequence, we're moving more and more to just doing[/q1]
[q1]> it by numbers rather than exercising any sort of discretion.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Matthew Huntbach[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
You're quite right, of course, in that we have to be scrupulous about equitability, but we've worded
our regs carefully so that we get few successful appeals. We are however, under attack through the
wish washy attitude of academics from other departments who always seem to take the side if the
idle, plagiarising parasites who tend to appeal.

Not that I would prejudge such a thing, of course.

John
Matthew Huntbac
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JHP ([email protected] t.co.uk) wrote:
[q1]> Matthew Huntbach wrote:[/q1]

[q2]> > In the past, when all you got at the end of your degree was the class, huge discretion could be[/q2]
[q2]> > operated. These days, when students get full transcripts of their marks, and there is a more[/q2]
[q2]> > litigious mentality, it can't. They demand to know exactly how the degree class is worked out,[/q2]
[q2]> > they all compare their transcripts with their friends, and if two have similar average marks but[/q2]
[q2]> > different class degrees, the lower classed one will put in an appeal. Apparently, last year our[/q2]
[q2]> > department had several dozen appeals. As a consequence, we're moving more and more to just doing[/q2]
[q2]> > it by numbers rather than exercising any sort of discretion.[/q2]

[q1]> You're quite right, of course, in that we have to be scrupulous about equitability, but we've[/q1]
[q1]> worded our regs carefully so that we get few successful appeals.[/q1]

Our regs make clear we have the right to exercise discretion. That does not students from screaming
blue murder if it has been exercised and not in their favour. Or if it has been exercised in someone
else's favour, but not theirs.

A-level results used to be a grade on a bit of paper in August, and that was it. As we see in this
newsgroup, they're now a complex accumulation of marks, with a table to tell you how to work out a
grade from a mark, and a culture where appeals for a re-mark are commonplace. Every year at A-level
results time, I'm inundated with phone calls from students telling their C is just one mark off a B
grade, or it's going in for appeal and they're confident it will go up a grade. What was once a
rarity is now standard.

They expect the same with degree classes. And university adminstrators are also unhappy with the
idea of academics sitting down and discussing appropriate grades - they'd far rather we had rules we
followed mechanically. Even if the appeals aren't successful (almost always they aren't), they still
tie up a lot of time, and can get quite nasty.

Matthew Huntbach
Danny
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#35
On 26 Jun 2002 16:11:00 GMT, [email protected] (Matthew Huntbach) wrote:

[q1]>They expect the same with degree classes. And university adminstrators are also unhappy with the[/q1]
[q1]>idea of academics sitting down and discussing appropriate grades - they'd far rather we had rules[/q1]
[q1]>we followed mechanically. Even if the appeals aren't successful (almost always they aren't), they[/q1]
[q1]>still tie up a lot of time, and can get quite nasty.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]>Matthew Huntbach[/q1]

I don't understand why so many appeal really. My teacher said he has hardly ever marked a script up
(perhaps never, I can't quite remember) and in fact a lot of the time he has to mark scripts down
because the mark awarded was too generous - this is for sociology by the way. After saying that I
hope I'm not one mark off a grade in any of subjects - but even if I am I doubt I'll try and get
remarked for the above reasons.

Dan
Tom Salls
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[email protected]?.moc says...
[q1]> I don't understand why so many appeal really.[/q1]

I can see the logic. If you're a mark or two off a grade boundary, a re-mark might gain you a few
points and knock you over to a higher grade. Conversely, if you end up losing a few points, your
grade will likely remain unchanged. From the student's point of view, it's win- win.

Tom
Steve.Wren
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David <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
[q1]> For a long time, there has been a widespread belief that there is a set quota for the award of[/q1]
[q1]> each grade at each subject in public examinations. Someone somewhere decides that, for example, 5%[/q1]
[q1]> of candidates will receive a grade A, 10% will receive a grade B, and so on.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> The exam boards deny this. They say that the performance of candidates determines how many get[/q1]
[q1]> top grades.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> What do others think?[/q1]

Lifted from the QCA website -

The Story of the General Certificate of Education (GCE) - Advanced level Why were they invented? The
General Certificate of Education (GCE) was put forward by the newly reconstituted Secondary Schools
Examination Council (SSEC) in 1948, to replace the School Certificate (SC) and Higher School
Certificate (HSC). These had been the basis of examinations since 1917 for those pupils (mostly
within grammar schools) who remained in education beyond the age of 14.

The SC and HSC were group certificates intended to ensure that secondary school pupils followed a
sufficiently broad and balanced curriculum. In each, the candidate had to achieve the minimum
standard for a pass in a range of subjects (in HSC, initially three principal subjects and one
subsidiary, after 1928, two plus two). Entry was by whole form not individual candidates. Each
subject in the HSC was graded as a pass, credit and distinction, with different standards applying
depending on whether the subject was offered as principal and subsidiary. The HSC pass was barely
more than a certificate of attendance which was intended to indicate to the user that the candidate
had some breadth of experience.

Following the expansion of secondary education and the raising of the school leaving age to 15 in
1947, there was a concern that candidates with talent in individual subjects were being denied a
certificate because of the need to cover subjects in which they had little chance of success. There
had also been pressure following the Norwood report of 1943, to reduce (or even remove) the
influence of an external examination at age 16, because of the impact it had on the curriculum. It
was therefore suggested that the more able pupils could bypass the Ordinary level (O level) in a
particular subject and go straight to Advanced level (A level).

How were they developed? The intention at the time was to introduce the examinations in 1950.
However, complaints from the examining boards (who were not represented on the new SSEC) and from
the universities that they could not make appropriate arrangements in time meant that they were
first examined in 1951. In the first year there was a higher than expected failure rate because the
pass standard was set at the HSC "credit" level, an outcome predictable from the boards' records of
performance in HSC but not expected by the public.

The introduction and development of grading In introducing the new examinations, the government's
intention was that the more able students would bypass the O level in those subjects they were
offering at A level. However, on the assumption that some of those who bypassed the O level would
then fail the A level, the boards were required put in place procedures to award a pass at O level
on the A-level papers. This was despite their protestations that there would be precious little
evidence for such an award. This 'fail safe' award was based upon awarders' assessment of the
quality of the scripts.

For the first two years the A-level was ungraded but in 1953 the "distinction" grade was reinstated.
Until the early 60's A levels were awarded only at the grades of pass and distinction. At this point
some of the boards began to report unofficial grades in response to the universities' requests for
more information.

In 1963, the SSEC issued guidelines for a 5 level scale, indicating roughly the proportions of
candidates to be awarded each grade: 10% A, 15% B, 10% C, 15% D, 20% E and a further 20% an allowed
O level pass. Whereas before, judgement was necessary only at the pass/fail boundary, now the boards
had to consider the quality of scripts at each grade boundary. From the beginning the proportions of
candidates achieving each grade differed substantially between subjects, and in the ensuing years
there was constant criticism. One of the major problems was that, because it specified proportions
of candidates, the band of marks in a grade might be very small. (In 1982, the difference between a
D and a B could be as few as 8 marks in one subject, 15 marks in another.)

In 1970, the Schools Council put forward a proposal to divide the mark scale into equal intervals.
There was by no means wholehearted support from the boards and universities for this proposal and
after more than 2 years' consideration it was rejected by the Secretary of State.

In 1984, the Secondary Examinations Council responded to a pamphlet by the Joint Matriculation Board
by setting up a working party to consider the problems, with particular reference to the narrowness
of grade C. As a result of its deliberations, the Council advised that grade boundaries should be
based on the partition of the mark scale rather than on proportions of candidates. The A-E scale was
retained, the "allowed O level pass" was dropped and replaced by a grade N, a much narrower band
which was intended to denote a "near miss" at A-level. Examiner judgement was to be the basis for
the award of grades B and E, with the remaining grades determined by dividing the mark range between
these two points into equal intervals. This was introduced in 1987 and remained in force until the
introduction of the changes in 2000.

Invention of AS level One of the disadvantages of the subject based approach of the GCE was that it
encouraged a greater degree of specialisation than was possible in the group examinations of the SC
and HSC, particularly in the sixth form. Over the years, there have been attempts to create a
broader curriculum by the introduction of various new examinations. In 1968, the Headmasters'
Association proposed an Intermediate level. In the following year, the Schools Council put forward
plans for a two stage system: a Qualifying examination in the first year of the sixth followed by a
Further examination after the second. These "Q and F" proposals gained little support from either
the school lobby (on the grounds of over-examining the students) or the universities. In 1973, a
revised scheme was put forward, spreading the courses for the five subjects (excluding General
Studies) over the two years, but all being examined at 18+. Again, the proposals were unsuccessful.

In 1989 a new examination was introduced for 18 year olds: the Advanced Supplementary (AS). The aim
of it was to broaden the experience of those taking A levels and its standard was to be the same as
that of the A-level, on half the content. This was contrary to the perceived need for an
intermediate examination between GCSE and A-level, and the AS never really took off in the way the
Government had hoped. The 1996 review undertaken by Sir Ron Dearing recognised the lack of appeal of
the AS and proposed a new Advanced Subsidiary examination, which could be taken either as a
free-standing qualification or as a precursor to the A-level itself. The new AS was to be at a
standard appropriate to the end of one year's study in the sixth form, thus similar to the
intermediate examinations proposed earlier.

Qualifying for Success and Curriculum 2000 In September 2000, a completely revised approach to
A-level was introduced. This was based entirely on a modular approach in which candidates can take
modules as they proceed through the course, rather than only being examined in a single session at
the end of the course. All students now take the Advanced Subsidiary and then, where appropriate,
proceed to the more challenging A2 to complete their A-level.

There is no longer an N grade and the grades involving examiner judgement are A, C and E with the
remaining grades determined exclusively arithmetically. In order to enable the boards to equate
components of an examination which may be taken by different candidates at different times, the
grades are converted to marks on a uniform mark scale (UMS).
Ian/Cath Ford
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#38
On 26 Jun 2002 08:25:54 GMT, [email protected] (Matthew Huntbach) wrote:

[q1]>Ian/Cath Ford ([email protected]) wrote:[/q1]
[q2]>> When it comes down to it (and when you're judging a whole candidate) I prefer your system.[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]>As I said, university degree class awarding is moving much closer to your school philosophy.[/q1]

Yes, I saw that. Although I guess you could always play around with an individual paper mark or two
if you needed to!

Do you think this is a direct result of modular A levels btw, or just a sign of the times and
everything?

Ian
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Jhp
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#39
[q1]> I don't understand why so many appeal really. My teacher said he has hardly ever marked a script[/q1]
[q1]> up (perhaps never, I can't quite remember) and in fact a lot of the time he has to mark scripts[/q1]
[q1]> down because the mark awarded was too generous - this is for sociology by the way. After saying[/q1]
[q1]> that I hope I'm not one mark off a grade in any of subjects - but even if I am I doubt I'll try[/q1]
[q1]> and get remarked for the above reasons.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Dan[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
Well, you do get the odd thing. A common one is where a student has been ill, often with a
depressive illness the nature of which prevents them declaring it to academics. They give the exams
a shot, don't do well and subsequently realise that they should have kept people informed no matter
how embarrassing it was. We're naturally very lenient over that.

What we're not lenient about is the git who says "My exam paper wasn't marked properly, there isn't
a tick on page 3 or page 21." Ok; we'll mark it again - sure you want this? We could send it our
external examiner, Professor Vlad Thimpailer.

John
Ian/Cath Ford
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#40
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#40
On Wed, 26 Jun 2002 17:44:16 +0100, Tom Salls <[email protected]> wrote:

[q1]>[email protected]?.mo c says...[/q1]
[q2]>> I don't understand why so many appeal really.[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]>I can see the logic. If you're a mark or two off a grade boundary, a re-mark might gain you a few[/q1]
[q1]>points and knock you over to a higher grade. Conversely, if you end up losing a few points, your[/q1]
[q1]>grade will likely remain unchanged. From the student's point of view, it's win- win.[/q1]

Aside from the cost of course :-)

It's also pretty much a win-win from an examners pov. If things are just one mark off anyway the
odds are the paper may well have been looked at again already....

Ian
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