Application of levels-based mark schemes

Wed Aug 15 17:00:00 UTC 2018

In order to fulfill our responsibilities to learners and the regulator, following each examination series, we review the feedback we receive and analyse the data we collect in order to improve the quality of our assessments.

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This continuous review process underpins the life-cycle of our qualifications and may result in changes to how our assessments are carried out. In the second assessment of GCE psychology in 2018, a small amendment has been made to the application of mark schemes for extended-response questions. Whilst the amendment may have led to the higher marks achieved this year, performance is also normally expected to improve over time and grade boundaries increase in the first years of assessment.

Awarding procedures consider the differences in the ability of candidates and the difficulty of examination papers both within and between years. The increase in grade boundaries this year reflects higher marks achieved and is the result of a comparable-outcomes approach to awarding. This is the basic principle applied to many subjects that aims to ensure that candidates have the same opportunity to achieve the grades their performance deserves, whichever year they sit the examinations. If a group of candidates one year are similar in ability to those of a previous year, or an examination paper is more difficult in one year compared to another, then boundaries may change to reflect these differences, but the overall grades that are achieved will be the same.

Further information on understanding marks and grades is available here.

Information and guidance on the application of levels based mark schemes can be found here.

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