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

This discussion is closed.
Steve.Wren
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#41
[q1]> It's also pretty much a win-win from an examners pov. If things are just one mark off anyway the[/q1]
[q1]> odds are the paper may well have been looked at again already....[/q1]

I've often wondered about how automatic remarks work in modular exam structures.

In linear structures (or terminal exams as some call them) anyone within a certain number of marks
of the grade boundary is automatically remarked by an examiner higher up the chain of command
(I've seen these second markings on SATS papers for example when the candidate is close to the
next level up).

In a modular structure does this happen for each module? If so it really isn't a fair system - each
extra mark (whether or not a student is near the boundary) could make a difference in the final
summing of module marks - as we tell the pupils the grade on a module exam is irrelevant (to a large
degree) - it is the mark which is much more important.

What happens if, in the summation of module marks process, a candidate is only 1 mark (out of 600)
off a grade boundary?

In the linear structure this candidate would automatically be remarked by a more
experienced examiner.

In the modular structure are all 6 papers remarked? Just those sat in the most recent sitting?
Can the marks of all six modules be appealed against for a remark? Or just those in the most
recent sitting?

Steve
Ian/Cath Ford
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#42
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#42
On Thu, 27 Jun 2002 00:05:59 +0100, "steve.wren" <[email protected]> wrote:

[q1]>Lifted from the QCA website -[/q1]
<snip>

An interesting read - thanks Steve.

Gosh, broad-based qualifications at 18; missing out on assessment at 16 if you're bright enough.
Nothing new under the sun is there? :-)

Ian
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Ian/Cath Ford
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#43
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#43
On Thu, 27 Jun 2002 07:54:21 +0100, "steve.wren" <[email protected]> wrote:

[q1]>I've often wondered about how automatic remarks work in modular exam structures.[/q1]
<snip>
[q1]>In the modular structure are all 6 papers remarked? Just those sat in the most recent sitting?[/q1]
[q1]>Can the marks of all six modules be appealed against for a remark? Or just those in the most[/q1]
[q1]>recent sitting?[/q1]

Simple answer is that I really don't know. I expect that only the recent ones are - afterall, from
the exam boards pov they are the only ones that can be queried at this point. The others are dead in
the water.

May not be awfully fair, but then candidates have other advantages in modular systems and overall I
shouldn't think it'll make all that much difference.

Ian
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Jess
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"steve.wren" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...

[q1]> What happens if, in the summation of module marks process, a candidate is only 1 mark (out of 600)[/q1]
[q1]> off a grade boundary?[/q1]

why do people not realise that if you are one mark off, for example, an A, you are not really an A
grade student? if you were a 'proper' A grade student, surely you'd get well above the boundary?
Jhp
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#45
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#45
[q1]> why do people not realise that if you are one mark off, for example, an A, you are not really an A[/q1]
[q1]> grade student? if you were a 'proper' A grade student, surely you'd get well above the boundary?[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
Excellent point. John
Steve.Wren
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#46
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#46
[q2]> > What happens if, in the summation of module marks process, a candidate[/q2]
is only 1 mark (out of 600) off a grade boundary?
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> why do people not realise that if you are one mark off, for example, an A, you are not really an A[/q1]
[q1]> grade student? if you were a 'proper' A grade student, surely you'd get well above the boundary?[/q1]

Not true - a "proper" A grade student is one that gets above a UMS score of 480 (out of 600).
This then takes us back to the "should there be an A* grade" question which is another currently
active thread.

When I started asking about remarks for people who are only 1 mark off a grade boundary I wasn't
meaning only grade A students.

My (mild) concern was that in linear systems any student close to a grade boundary has the paper
remarked by a more experienced examiner to check that the candidate hasn't been
disadvantaged by the choice of marker etc. - i.e.. the remark ensures consistency of
assessment - the grade you get is determined by your answers to questions *not* by the
marker you were allocated.

In the modular structure this check does not appear to be in place and hence you could, as a
student, be disadvantaged (or advantaged) by the choice of marker.

As an example you could have two identical (but partially wrong) answers to a question. One examiner
may give the question 4/7 and the other 3/7. The mark schemes I've seen do certainly have some room
for interpretation.

Might not seem important but if you are 1 mark off any grade boundary it is!

Like I said my concern is mild (afterall you could argue that each of the 6 modules will be marked
by differing examiners and these things should even out) but I was just wondering what (if any)
checking systems were in place.

Steve
John Porcella
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#47
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#47
"steve.wren" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
[q1]>[/q1]
[q3]> > > What happens if, in the summation of module marks process, a candidate[/q3]
[q1]> is only 1 mark (out of 600) off a grade boundary?[/q1]
[q2]> >[/q2]
[q2]> > why do people not realise that if you are one mark off, for example, an[/q2]
A,
[q2]> > you are not really an A grade student? if you were a 'proper' A grade student, surely you'd get[/q2]
[q2]> > well above the boundary?[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Not true - a "proper" A grade student is one that gets above a UMS score[/q1]
of
[q1]> 480 (out of 600). This then takes us back to the "should there be an A* grade" question which is[/q1]
[q1]> another currently active thread.[/q1]

And given that two markers will not give the same marks on a prose-style paper which is open to
subjectivity, somebody just missing could be an 'A' grade student if another set of markers had been
marking, or vice versa (an 'A' student would not have been with a slightly nasty marker somewhere).

[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> When I started asking about remarks for people who are only 1 mark off a grade boundary I wasn't[/q1]
[q1]> meaning only grade A students.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> My (mild) concern was that in linear systems any student close to a grade boundary has the paper[/q1]
[q1]> remarked by a more experienced examiner to check[/q1]
that
[q1]> the candidate hasn't been disadvantaged by the choice of marker etc. -[/q1]
i.e..
[q1]> the remark ensures consistency of assessment - the grade you get is determined by your answers to[/q1]
[q1]> questions *not* by the marker you were allocated.[/q1]

But what about a paper that formed part of the total which was not near a grade boundary? This is
unlikely to be remarked, particularly if it was not from the last sitting.

[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> In the modular structure this check does not appear to be in place and[/q1]
hence
[q1]> you could, as a student, be disadvantaged (or advantaged) by the choice of marker.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> As an example you could have two identical (but partially wrong) answers[/q1]
to
[q1]> a question. One examiner may give the question 4/7 and the other 3/7. The mark schemes I've seen[/q1]
[q1]> do certainly have some room for interpretation.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Might not seem important but if you are 1 mark off any grade boundary it[/q1]
is!
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Like I said my concern is mild (afterall you could argue that each of the[/q1]
6
[q1]> modules will be marked by differing examiners and these things should even out) but I was just[/q1]
[q1]> wondering what (if any) checking systems were in[/q1]
place.

The markers attend standardisation meetings and they submit sample marked scripts to a supervisor
who then gives them the go-ahead or tells them to submit another sample, and so on, until the marker
is doing their job properly. Having written that, for prose exams there is plenty of room for
subjective judgement.

--
MESSAGE ENDS. John Porcella
Davido
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#48
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#48
[q2]> > why do people not realise that if you are one mark off, for example, an A, you are not really an[/q2]
[q2]> > A grade student? if you were a 'proper' A grade student, surely you'd get well above the[/q2]
[q2]> > boundary?[/q2]

Aye, that is a very good point. Nevertheless if you're 1 mark, 0.17% off the grade, u ain't gonna be
thinking like that.
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Not true - a "proper" A grade student is one that gets above a UMS score of 480 (out of 600).[/q1]

No. By "proper A grade student" she didn't mean someone who logically attains 80 therefore = Grade
A, but a true grade A student who gets well above the bare minimum requirement.

[q1]> My (mild) concern was that in linear systems any student close to a grade boundary has the paper[/q1]
[q1]> remarked by a more experienced examiner to check that the candidate hasn't been[/q1]
[q1]> disadvantaged by the choice of marker etc.[/q1]

Because the overall A Level score out of 600 is accumulated from about 6 papers, they will NOT
recheck / re-mark if you're 1 mark away. The computer will tot up your modular marks and give you
e.g. 479/600, they won't look at this and then try and find you an extra mark - that would be
"inching up" the grades.

[q1]> the grade you get is determined by your answers to questions *not* by the marker you were[/q1]
[q1]> allocated.[/q1]

For an Arts subject such as Literature, it is a sad FACT that if you're 1 mark off an A, if you had
a more lenient examiner you'd have easily got above the boundary. But as Jess sed, a "proper" grade
A student should be getting at least 85% regardless of examiner.

[q1]> As an example you could have two identical (but partially wrong) answers to a question. One[/q1]
[q1]> examiner may give the question 4/7 and the other 3/7. The mark schemes I've seen do certainly have[/q1]
[q1]> some room for interpretation.[/q1]

Aye, even with Maths there's much leniency regarding this. The reason why few re-marked papers go up
is simple - you pay AQA / Edexcel / OCR, companies, £20-40 for ur re-mark, which must be refunded if
your mark goes up iirc. They ain't gonna give u back ur cash if they can find the 1 or 2 marks you
need, only if the 1st marker was an idiot [like the guy that gave the Welsh history group Es which
were really As].

[q1]> Might not seem important but if you are 1 mark off any grade boundary it is![/q1]
Particularly for Oxbridge where they won't be so sympathetic to the "I missed the grade" cry, 1
measly mark out of 600, which could be down to something as trivial as the pen you use or where
you're sitting or someone coughing putting you off...could completely change your life, lol. Then
again, as has been said, you should be aiming for at least 5% above the minimum grade requirement to
avoid this problem.
Steve.Wren
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#49
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#49
[q2]> > Not true - a "proper" A grade student is one that gets above a UMS score[/q2]
of 480 (out of 600).
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> No. By "proper A grade student" she didn't mean someone who logically attains 80 therefore = Grade[/q1]
[q1]> A, but a true grade A student who gets well above the bare minimum requirement.[/q1]

See this is where I get lost.

Are people claiming that getting 480 out of 600, and thus be awarded a grade A, isn't enough to be
called a proper A grade student?

I'm not sure I've ever seen an exam certificate which has "grade proper A" as opposed to
"grade A". ;-)

My definition of an "A grade student" is a student who gets a grade A.

Surely if a student gets enough marks to be awarded a grade A then they are a proper grade A
student? I appreciate that some grade A students are better than others - but this doesn't alter the
fact that they all got a grade A!

Steve
Steve.Wren
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#50
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#50
[q2]> > My (mild) concern was that in linear systems any student close to a[/q2]
grade
[q2]> > boundary has the paper remarked by a more experienced examiner to check[/q2]
that the candidate hasn't been disadvantaged by the choice of marker etc. -
i.e.. the remark ensures consistency of assessment - the grade you get is determined by your answers
to questions *not* by the marker you were allocated.
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> But what about a paper that formed part of the total which was not near a grade boundary? This is[/q1]
[q1]> unlikely to be remarked, particularly if it was[/q1]
not
[q1]> from the last sitting.[/q1]

This was the exact point I raised. There is no point having an automatic remark for modular papers
near boundaries as the boundaries themselves are meaningless to a large extent - it is the marks
that matter.

A move from 52% to 53% is just as likely to be critical as a move from 59% to 60%.

If remarks are going to happen then there should be remarks of *all* modules for students who are
"close" to a boundary in the final summation process.

[q1]> The markers attend standardisation meetings and they submit sample marked[/q1]
scripts to a supervisor who then gives them the go-ahead or tells them to submit another sample, and
so on, until the marker is doing their job properly.

All these comments are valid but are also true for linear structured courses which still have an
automatic remark for borderline candidates - hence there is an implication from the boards that
standardisation meetings are not sufficient to guarantee consistency of marking.

As a point of interest does anyone know what percentage of "borderline" cases are actually moved
across the grade boundary upon marking by a more experienced examiner?

Steve
Davido
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#51
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#51
[q1]> Surely if a student gets enough marks to be awarded a grade A then they are a proper grade A[/q1]
[q1]> student? I appreciate that some grade A students are better than others - but this doesn't alter[/q1]
[q1]> the fact that they all got a grade A![/q1]

my latest post on the "There should be A*s at A Level" thread shows what the problem is about this.
Someone
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#52
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#52
For my biology AS I got 239/300. 240 is an A. Thats 1/3 of 1% away from an
A. Does that mean i'm not an A grade student.

"steve.wren" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
[q1]>[/q1]
[q3]> > > What happens if, in the summation of module marks process, a candidate[/q3]
[q1]> is only 1 mark (out of 600) off a grade boundary?[/q1]
[q2]> >[/q2]
[q2]> > why do people not realise that if you are one mark off, for example, an[/q2]
A,
[q2]> > you are not really an A grade student? if you were a 'proper' A grade student, surely you'd get[/q2]
[q2]> > well above the boundary?[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Not true - a "proper" A grade student is one that gets above a UMS score[/q1]
of
[q1]> 480 (out of 600). This then takes us back to the "should there be an A* grade" question which is[/q1]
[q1]> another currently active thread.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> When I started asking about remarks for people who are only 1 mark off a grade boundary I wasn't[/q1]
[q1]> meaning only grade A students.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> My (mild) concern was that in linear systems any student close to a grade boundary has the paper[/q1]
[q1]> remarked by a more experienced examiner to check[/q1]
that
[q1]> the candidate hasn't been disadvantaged by the choice of marker etc. -[/q1]
A.a..
[q1]> the remark ensures consistency of assessment - the grade you get is determined by your answers to[/q1]
[q1]> questions *not* by the marker you were allocated.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> In the modular structure this check does not appear to be in place and[/q1]
hence
[q1]> you could, as a student, be disadvantaged (or advantaged) by the choice of marker.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> As an example you could have two identical (but partially wrong) answers[/q1]
to
[q1]> a question. One examiner may give the question 4/7 and the other 3/7. The mark schemes I've seen[/q1]
[q1]> do certainly have some room for interpretation.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Might not seem important but if you are 1 mark off any grade boundary it[/q1]
is!
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Like I said my concern is mild (afterall you could argue that each of the[/q1]
6
[q1]> modules will be marked by differing examiners and these things should even out) but I was just[/q1]
[q1]> wondering what (if any) checking systems were in[/q1]
place.
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Steve[/q1]
John Porcella
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#53
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#53
"Someone" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
[q1]> For my biology AS I got 239/300. 240 is an A. Thats 1/3 of 1% away from[/q1]
an
[q1]> A. Does that mean i'm not an A grade student.[/q1]

Correct! You need 240/300 for an 'A' grade. You might have achieved 80+ on one or two of the three
papers, but one of them let you down. Bad luck!

Did you retake the weakest one?

--
MESSAGE ENDS. John Porcella
Jhp
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#54
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#54
Someone <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
[q1]> For my biology AS I got 239/300. 240 is an A. Thats 1/3 of 1% away from[/q1]
an
[q1]> A. Does that mean i'm not an A grade student.[/q1]

Yes it does. In that exam at that time. Doesn't make you a B grade person, though. John
Steve.Wren
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#55
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#55
[q1]> For my biology AS I got 239/300. 240 is an A. Thats 1/3 of 1% away from[/q1]
an A. Does that mean i'm not an A grade student.

According to my definition you are not an A grade student as you did not get the marks required to
be awarded a grade A.

Of course this may have been due to a mis-mark by an examiner which would have been noticed on an
automatic remark by a more senior examiner - if you got that extra mark then yes you would, by my
definition, be an A grade student!

I should point out my own inconstancies here though - in the past I have criticised some exams for
not allowing candidates to reach the grade descriptor as defined in the QCA (and board)
publications. I stated that this appears more of a problem at the lower grade end in maths.

Steve
Steve.Wren
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#56
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#56
[q2]> > What happens if, in the summation of module marks process, a candidate[/q2]
is only 1 mark (out of 600) off a grade boundary?
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> why do people not realise that if you are one mark off, for example, an A, you are not really an A[/q1]
[q1]> grade student? if you were a 'proper' A grade student, surely you'd get well above the boundary?[/q1]

To me, as a teacher, this is not a matter of "are they an A grade student or not" it's about
fairness between candidates.

In the linear structure there was a clear structure - candidates who were close to the boundary have
their scripts checked by a more experienced examiner to ensure consistency across all candidates.

As I indicated in an earlier mail my "mild concern" is that this check (and thus consistency) does
not appear to be in place.

As a related example today we received the marks for the Year 9 Maths SATS.

Of the 210 candidates approximately 20 were indicated as being close to the grade boundary and, as a
result, had their scripts automatically remarked. Of these 6 went across the grade boundary. Same
scripts, same mark scheme yet because of careful remarking 6 students were awarded the higher grade.

I feel it is only natural for me to want my students to do well in their exams. If they miss by one
mark all I ask is that they have missed by one mark as a result of their lack of knowledge not as a
result of the choice of marker for a paper. The lack of an automatic check does not allow me this
confidence.

Steve
HelenBrownsell
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#57
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#57
My English teacher told me last year that the examination boards create a bell-curve and fit all the marks along that. When I did exams in January, she believed that people receive lower grades as the exam boards need to keep them low so that if the results in june are high, the bell-curve shape will still occur. I think this is just for GCSE and A level, not degree level.
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