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100 years of controversy over standards: an enduring problem

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Elliott, Gill 


This article looks back at the history of comparability in the English assessment system by examining, in detail, the findings of some of the key reports held in Cambridge Assessment's Group Archive. Of especial interest were the 1911 Consultative committee report upon Examinations in Secondary schools and the 1943 Norwood report Curriculum and Examinations in Secondary Schools. When considered alongside other, more recent literature, the insights from these papers provided a window through which to explore the ways in which theories of comparability have developed and different viewpoints have emerged. Key themes which are explored within the article include the changing, and confusing, use of terminology; the role that the purpose of the qualifications plays in determining comparability issues, and the issue of qualifications evolving and subsequently producing new comparability challenges. Some brief, but fascinating, facts and figures about very early comparability studies are also included.



Standards, Historical perspective

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Research Matters

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Research Division, Cambridge University Press & Assessment

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