20th August 2010 at 01:00

Exam statistics

Posted by gnulinux

Taking a quick look at this year's exam statistics spreadsheet as it appears on the SQA website, and particularly for Highers, there are a few subjects where the number of As is greater than the number of Bs and Bs greater than Cs. Where the number of entries is small, this is not that signficant, but where the number of entries is into 1000s it is an important marker of the difficulty, or easiness, of the exam sat. If everybody and their dog gets an A, these results are less than useful, particularly to universities - and there will be no appeals!

Posted by minivan

Simply more evidence of the utter inadequacy of exams as an accurate measure of young people's ability, perhaps .

Posted by Bigjimmy

Curriculum for Excellence will sort it out!

Posted by Dominie

I seem to recall the SQA being very protective of the "bell curve" in its results? That's in the context of accusations against other exam agencies, south of the border, that A-level results were being diluted. It may be that this year's results in certain subjects are atypical, but if this is the case across the board, then it's worrying.

The tongue-in-cheek reference to CfE is relevant, because CfE and AifL (Assessment is for Learning) seem to be based on the notion that everybody can achieve success, if the teacher teaches it appropriately and the feedback to kids is spot on. This has also influenced SQA curricula and assessment: essay writing in my subject, for example, is broken down into subsets of criteria which, if mastered by the kids, will lead to improved marks. Fine up to a point, but we all know there are some aspects of all subjects which will - and should - be way beyond most kids at Higher level. If this starts to be diluted, the unis will simply look for highermore reliable qualifications or go back to setting their own entrance exams.

Posted by vforvendetta

I agree. An A should be the "gold standard" instead of the norm. One would expect the peak in results, taking into consideration failure to pass at all, to be somewhere between a B and a C, if they're considering a Gaussian distribution. The peak in the distribution seems to be an A these days. It's even worse for Advanced Higher (physics specifically).

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