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The challenges for ensuring year-on-year comparability when moving from linear to unitised schemes at GCSE

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Forster, Mike 


In September 2009 new unitised specifications were introduced in England. These specifications were to be assessed in a modular way, throughout the course of study, rather than in a linear way (at the end of the course). At that point in time, OCR had a number of specifications that had been run in a unitised way for a number of years, and so were able to use this information to investigate the impact of unitisation. This meant we were able to look at the impact of resits; the terminal requirement (where 40% of the course had to be assessed at the end of the course); the trade-off between maturity and the bite-size (and hence smaller, more spread-out) nature of the assessments; the variation of unit and subject grades; and the impact of introducing a uniform mark scale, so that marks from different assessment series could be combined fairly. Furthermore, we 'unitised' a number of existing linear specifications to look at the impact unitisation might have on the stability of outcomes. This paper summarises the outcome of these investigations.



Comparability, Curriculum, GCSE/IGCSE

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Research Matters

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Research Division, Cambridge University Press & Assessment

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