How reliable are GCSE and A level grades?

Over the last several years, Ofqual, the regulator of school examinations in England and Wales, has been conducting an extensive research programme on the reliability of GCSE and A Level grades. Some key results were published in November 2016 in a report entitled Marking Consistency Metrics; further results were presented at a symposium held in June 2017, including this chart from a presentation entitled StartFragmentQuality of marking - confidence and consistency: ​ This chart merits attention: for each of the subjects shown, the chart answers the question “If a GCSE or A level script is re-marked by a senior examiner, for example, on appeal, what is the probability that the originally-awa

How to make GCSE and A level grades reliable

Grade misallocations real... ​ ​My blog How reliable are GCSE and A level grades? featured a chart, published by the exam regulator Ofqual, showing, for six subjects, the probability that a GCSE or A level candidate is awarded the right grade: so, for example, for physics, this probability is about 85%, for history about 40%. Of more importance is the interpretation of the data the other way around: currently, out of every 100 candidates in physics, 15 are given the wrong grade; similarly, for history, 40 candidates. 'Wrong' is wrong both ways, so for history, of those 40 candidates with wrong grades, 20 receive a grade higher than they merit, and so are 'lucky', whilst 20 receive a grade l

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