Using step functioning analysis and Rasch modelling to compare GCSE exam standards between exam boards.
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