Improving IAL Science assessment accessibility | Pearson qualifications

Improving IAL Science assessment accessibility

30 June 2022

At Pearson, we gather feedback from teachers and regularly review our qualifications to make sure they continue to support you and your students, helping learners perform to the best of their ability.  We’re excited to tell you about some changes we’ve planned for our IAL suite of science qualifications, which will make sure our assessments continue to differentiate, allow students to demonstrate their knowledge and skills, and get a grade that reflects this. To offer you the maximum support at each stage, we’re phasing the changes as detailed below.  

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Timeline You said What we are changing 
May/June 2022 Students find the language used in some questions confusing 

IAL Biology, Chemistry & Physics 

We have completed a full English language review with subject specialists and identified where complex language is being used. We have amended questions where possible to remove this where appropriate. 

Moving forwards, we will incorporate this additional language check in our 10-stage paper writing process, to ensure our papers continue to be accessible to all learners, particularly those that have English as an additional language.

January 2023 In IAL Physics it isn’t always clear in some questions what content is being assessed

IAL Physics

To ensure students clearly understand what part of the Physics content they are being assessed on we are introducing an additional sentence in longer context questions addressing this. The sentence will say “This question is on XXXX part of Physics content.” 

This will continue in future assessments; we will provide some examples of this on our website.

January 2023 The contexts used in papers are too long and UK centric

IAL Biology, Chemistry & Physics 

We are reviewing the contexts we use in assessments to ensure these better represent the students taking the qualifications 

We will introduce new guidelines to ensure that the context-based questions are written concisely, removing any extra information that may confuse students 

We will provide examples of this on our website, so students know what to expect in their assessments.

January 2023 Assessments represent our diverse range of students 

IAL Biology, Chemistry & Physics 

Our assessment writers and examining teams are taking part in our new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion training program to ensure our assessments are representative and accessible to all students taking these qualifications.

May/June2023 Performance is inconsistent across the suite

IAL Biology, Chemistry & Physics 

We are reviewing our papers across the full IAL Science suite, and undertaking detailed assessment design analysis 

We will be reviewing the types of questions, number of marks, and skills students are being asked to demonstrate to ensure there is a level of consistency between the three sciences. 

We will provide exemplification of these changes in advance of the May/June 2023 examination series 

We will keep you informed every step of the way, showing you exactly what these changes look like and where you can find free support for you and your students. We are committed to making our IAL science suite the very best it can be, and we value your feedback and welcome your thoughts on these proposals.

So please contact us at:

IAL Science Assessment and Product Team

Subject advisor


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