AQA sets the exam papers for around half all GCSEs and A-Levels in most secondary schools and colleges in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, marking more than 7 million exam papers each year. There are two main stages in the processing of these papers; marking the exams, and awarding grades.
Once all the scripts are marked, the second stage of the process commences. The grade boundaries are set so that grades are comparable across years (grade boundaries need to change year on year because papers can vary in difficulty). A committee of senior examiners and a chair of examiners meet once a year to set the grade boundaries using statistical and judgmental evidence.
AQA commissioned Walkgrove, through a tendering process, to develop an e-learning course for members of the grade setting committees to help them understand how statistical information is used in grade awarding. The training provides guidance and instruction on statistics for awarding, describes what a standard is and how statistics are utilised. The focus was on principles rather than the processes, ensuring that members feel comfortable about how the figures are achieved, and are confident and reassured about the statistics that are put in front of them.
Targeted at new and existing members of the grade setting committee, all members have an academic background and are teachers or ex-teachers who are subject matter experts in a particular area.
To lift the topic, we used the analogy of ‘picking a winner’ at the races by using statistical evidence.
What the client had to say:
"Working with Walkgrove was a great experience - we were very happy with the content, process and staff."