Research and analysis
Investigating inter-board comparability of GCSEs
Using step functioning analysis and Rasch modelling to compare GCSE exam standards between exam boards.
Using differential step functioning analysis and Rasch modelling to investigate inter-board comparability of examination standards in GCSE
Ref: Ofqual/16/6123 PDF, 2.68MB, 54 pages
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Data were analysed from 16 GCSE exams administered in 2015 by the 4 exam boards that provide general qualifications in England. We investigated the comparability of standards at specific grades in the exams between the exam boards.
The main findings include:
- higher grades were shown to be generally more comparable than the lower grades in terms of difficulty or standards between the exam board
- the relative grade difficulties were broadly consistent
- changes in grade outcomes after aligning standards were moderately or highly correlated with those estimated using the existing inter-board statistical screening procedure with mean GCSE score
- the use of Rasch ability as a performance measure with the existing inter-board screening procedure produced results which were closely similar to those obtained using mean GCSE score
Published: 25 November 2016