What method has Cambridge used to award grades to students for the June 2020 series?
For the June 2020 series, Cambridge has used a statistical standardisation exercise to award grades to students, which is based on:
- The predicted grade for each candidate provided by the school.
- The rank order of all candidates provided by the school.
- The results achieved by students in the school in each syllabus in the previous three years (June 2017, June 2018 and June 2019 exam series).
- Results achieved globally in each syllabus in the June 2019 exam series.
The statistical standardisation exercise means that the grade awarded to a student may or may not be the same as the predicted grade that their school provided to Cambridge, and some grades may go down.
Why did Cambridge need to do this standardisation exercise?
Cambridge advises “in order to be recognised by key stakeholders such as universities, the grades issued in June 2020 must carry the same value as grades and qualifications for any other series, including future series”, and that “to be fair to all candidates, our statistical standardisation model was run in the same way for all candidates in all countries, using the same methodology and the same types of data”.
As an international Awarding Body, Cambridge must always ensure that the grades they award are fair and consistent to all students and that universities around the world will accept them.
Therefore, the statistical standardisation method they created ensures the grades awarded for June 2020 can be recognised by universities as being the same standard as the results awarded in previous, and future years. This means the grades awarded in June 2020 will allow Cambridge students to compete on the same basis as students who have taken exams in the normal way in previous years, and with those who will take exams in the future.
How were June 2020 grades calculated?
As students were not able to sit their exams in the usual way, Cambridge developed an alternative process that has four steps:
Step 1: The teacher determined a predicted grade for each student in each subject where they would normally have taken an exam, based on a range of evidence, including coursework, classwork and mock exam results.
Step 2: The school was asked to provide a rank order of students within each grade for each subject. This shows which students the school thought were the most likely to achieve each grade. This rank order is needed for the statistical standardisation process to work in the fairest way possible.
Step 3: The Head of School reviewed the predicted grades and rank orders, and sent them to Cambridge.
Step 4: Cambridge then carried out a statistical standardisation process to make sure that the standard of grades is maintained between years. This standardisation combines data from the school with other data (see more below). Cambridge International then awards final grades.
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