Should we bother with expert judgement in awarding GCSEs and A-Levels?

Downing College, Cambridge

This Cambridge Assessment forum aims to promote discussion around a key debate in the process of awarding GCSE and A-level grades – the ‘statistics versus judgement’ debate.

CERP's Head of Scientific Research and Development, Chris Wheadon, and Senior Research Associate Neil Stringer will argue for an increased statistical approach in awarding, proposing ‘contextualised cohort referencing’ whereby national outcomes (i.e. percentages of students) in GCSE are pegged to fixed outcomes in English and Maths GCSE. Grounds for this approach are posited in terms of the imprecision of expert judgement, preventing grade creep and maintaining a more tangible, tightly defined concept of standards.

Cambridge Assessment's Nat Johnson and Beth Black will argue that, while the role of statistics is important, the expert judgement of senior examiners provides a number of crucial functions in respect to standard maintaining year on year. The involvement of the senior examiners as representatives of the teaching profession legitimises where and how the standards are set, endorsing the standard in relation to the actual quality of the examinee work. The speakers will discuss how different models of harnessing expert judgement can help increase the rigour as well as the transparency of and public confidence in the awarding process.

Further details can be found via the event webpage.

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