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How do you find out grade boundaries?

(42 Posts)
geraldine62 Fri 26-Aug-11 19:52:29

Having gone through the HELL of results (A'level and GCSE) with various dc this last week, I have been completely perplexed by the actual scores on the results slip. How do people know that they were 1 mark short of an A*? How do you find out what the marks on the result slip are out of? Sorry if this is a stupid question, I have googled and googled but to no avail. The boards I am looking for are OCR, EdExcel and AQA and I would really appreciate enlightenment! Thanks in advance..

munkiii Fri 26-Aug-11 20:15:50

Hi there

Some schools give out this information to the pupils on results day as they get a breakdown of all the results and percentages.

Personally I think it is very damaging to give out this information. For example a child on cloud nine with an A being told they got it by 1% can really dent their self esteem. Far better to allow them to go through life thinking they may have got 99%!

I am a teacher, and I personally don't like to give out this information.

geraldine62 Fri 26-Aug-11 20:21:56

Thanks for that - I just wonder how all my kids' friends seem to have this information, perhaps they are just making it up!

Waltons Fri 26-Aug-11 20:27:57

AQA boundaries are here web.aqa.org.uk/over/stat_ums.php

EdExcel www.edexcel.com/iwantto/Pages/grade-boundaries.aspx

OCR www.ocr.org.uk/download/admin/ocr_55547_admin_ums_grade_bound_jan_jun_2011.pdf (The PDF is a bit flaky on my PC.)

I checked all my DS's boundaries in case he was really close to a higher grade and a remark might be worth doing and because the school doesn't seem to have even looked at the boundaries. (Surely they should, munkii?) I only told him the ones that were relevant to decisions or motivational for him - "you came so close to an A grade on that".

It's been HELL here too geraldine. sad

geraldine62 Fri 26-Aug-11 20:35:46

Thanks so much Waltons.. isn't it dreadful? My fault for having them 2 school years apart.

Ilovegeorgeclooney Fri 26-Aug-11 21:25:19

Schools do this but you have to remember they only get the results the day before, they have to work on the data etc on the Wed, Thurs is about giving out the results and dealing with individual pupils concerns. As a HOD of a core subject it is only today I had time to sit down and analyse the raw scores and remember I have to look at over 300 candidates results over 2 exams. You also have to look at the predicted grades, mock grades etc, each remark costs the school nearly £30 so it has to be an informed decision not just proximity to the grade boundary. When each pupil picks up their results at our school they sign to give permission for the school to apply for remarks. They might never know their paper has been remarked unless their grade does change.

ravenAK Fri 26-Aug-11 21:42:15

As a core subject teacher I do the analysis & tell students if they ask - usually it's after our November entry & informs whether they should re-take in June.

Generally neither kids nor parents want to know the raw scores, just whether they were a 'near miss' for the next grade up, & I temper it with professioal judgment.

So I might tell one student that no, his B was nowhere near an A, so if he wants to re-take he's going to have to work HARD. & tell another that I know he's got his A target, but he was only 2 marks off an A* & imo it's worth another punt at it...

& then sometimes the response you get is:'I need a B for college - I've got a B - I'm concentrating on my other subjects!' Which is fair enough!

Waltons Fri 26-Aug-11 21:59:11

As there are a few teachers popping up here, I do have some questions.

Shouldn't the priority be the shock results? Teachers at our DS's school seemed to be far more concerned with analysing the overall school result than with DS's shock result. He was sure that he was close to a boundary for one subject but no one could advise him about it.

ravenAK Fri 26-Aug-11 22:12:07

Yes - it would be for us.

Our Ofsted report did say: 'If it is possible to have a spreadsheet for it, St Bumstead's do', though - not all schools data crunch as efficiently/obsessively/pathologically!

But it depends if his teacher was in on results day - I wasn't this year as I was away. My HOD is terrifyingly efficient & would've had at her fingertips how many marks off target your ds was (in fact, if a shock result he'd be colour coded in red, & she'd be ordering his re-mark if he was anywhere near).

But if I taught him & wasn't there to consult, she'd not know necessarily how much of a shock it really was. I have 2 disappointments & 28 very pleasing results this year, but neither of the disappointments is any surprise iykwim...

& not every HOD will be that quick off the mark with the analysis. OR the HOD might be on holiday atm themselves - it's not a perfect system.

cricketballs Fri 26-Aug-11 22:12:27

as other poster have previously stated, as school only received the results on Wednesday and Thursday was about handing out the results and congratulating/consoling we have only just sat down to go through them with a fine tooth comb.

of course, shock results will be looked at as will everyones results, but there are a large number of students whose marks have to be checked (for each unit they sat in the summer) and therefore, although it is hard, you do need to be patient and allow them to do this.

The deadline for any remarks etc is 20th September and I am sure that your DS's result will be checked through although if it makes you feel better you could send an email to the school asking them to specifically check the unit mark

Teachers also have a selfish reason for wanting the better grades - we get judged on them!

geraldine62 Fri 26-Aug-11 22:48:45

Ok, this is all very interesting, thank you. My daughter's friends on FB were all saying yesterday how they were one or two marks off various grades for different modules, and I found it hard to find information on how they knew that - I looked at Walton's links which seem to be for the whole exam rather than different modules. I must admit to finding the whole thing rather baffling. Personally I think it's really useful for the children to know how close they are to the boundaries. My kids' friends seem to be obsessed with it.

ravenAK Sat 27-Aug-11 01:21:40

Well, I wouldn't withhold the information!

I would say it makes a huge difference if the student is continuing at that school, ie. there's a sixth form & the child intends to study there.

I teach English in a good/outstanding & heavily oversubscribed 11-16 comp. We (teachers) have a full break down of how students have done on individual questions, & if we're talking re-sit after the November exam, obviously I'd sit down & say 'Right, you did really well on the writing tasks, but what went wrong with the poetry? Either we need to look at your essay writing or your revision wasn't much cop - which do you think?' or whatever.

But for the June exams, they're off to college (or not, if they've not got the grades...).

School does not, to be blunt, give a chuff about them at this stage unless they're a 'near miss' who might benefit from a re-mark.

It may be different where there are internal sixth forms & possible year 12 re-sits are still the school's responsibility, but for us, a student who'd had a disappointing result & wanted detailed feedback would have to actively chase up the teacher/HOD concerned. Otherwise, we're focusing on September's classes at this stage, tbh.

ellisbell Sat 27-Aug-11 07:58:37

My children certainly know where to find the grade boundaries and have a look to see where they were. It didn't bother them to know they have scraped an A* but it may influence a choice of subject.

Their school are obsessed with grades and would certainly recommend a remark for anything close to a grade boundary. You can find module marks on each exam board site.

MotherOfGirls Sat 27-Aug-11 08:32:25

Waltons - wonder if you can help a first time exam mother, please? I have looked at the link to AQA and I'm afraid I can't figure it out in relation to DD's marks.

I'm looking at the GCSE PE and the 'Maximum Scaled Mark' is different from the number the module was marked out of i.e for Unit 4 the Maximum Scaled Mark is 90 and the boundaries are set accordingly but DD scored 148 out of 180 for that unit. How does that relate?

She gained full marks and an A*for Unit 3 but only a C for Unit 6 so curious to see where the lines are in case it might be worth a remark. Any help hugely appreciated!

geraldine62 Sat 27-Aug-11 08:51:27

Ellisbell, please could you ask your children where to find individual module grade boundaries? The link given by Waltons gives them for the whole exam only. I just can't understand all the jargon and my kids are now help at all.

Waltons Sat 27-Aug-11 11:12:23

motherofgirls, i wish I could help definitively, but I am just a mum who has had to spend the last 48 hours obsessively researching all of this! There is so much smoke and mirrors involved that it is untrue.

As I understand it the raw marks, weighted for paper difficulty, become "scaled marks" which provide an initial set of grade boundaries and these are then converted to Uniform Marks (UMS), which are used for the final grade boundaries. How they get from raw marks to scaled marks to grade boundaries is something only a statistician can explain! The grade boundaries for scaled marks can be found here store.aqa.org.uk/over/stat_pdf/AQA-GCSE-UNIT-GDE-BOUND-JUNE11.PDF

Every school seems to provide information in a different way, which doesn't help. Some seem to provide scaled marks for modules, some don't.

On the UMS grade boundaries you need to look for the course code on the AQA link and then the grade boundaries. The module boundaries are given first (e.g. 48903 for PE "Knowledge and Understanding") and then the grade boundaries for the whole course (e.g. 4892) when the modules are combined.

If anyone thinks I have not got this right and wishes to correct me, they are welcome to do so!

cricketballs it is good to hear that at least some schools look at individual shock results as a priority. DS's school seems to be more interested in evaluating their results for all sorts of "benchmarks". angry

PotteringAlong Sat 27-Aug-11 11:30:40

I'm also a head of department in a core subject - i've got the raw marks but they were handed to me on thurs when I walked into school so I got them as the kids did!

Other than a quick squizz down them the analysis of shock results ( not all my classes so not as simple as just 'knowing') is Monday's job!

I give out the info to people in year 10 to make informed decisions about year 11 exams but, although I don't withold it, giving it to year 11 unless they ask on results day is not practical for me.

WhyItsMeAgain Sat 27-Aug-11 11:38:41

DD and her friends are just going in to year 11, they recived some module results on thursday and they worked out the grade boundries by asking eachother! ie, sudent a got 89/100 and that was an a, b got 90 and the was the *.

geraldine62 Sat 27-Aug-11 17:05:59

Thanks whyitsmeagain, that must be how they do it then.

ellisbell Sat 27-Aug-11 17:16:12

geraldine62 - it certainly wasn't by asking friends but they are out at the moment. Any specific subjects/ boards and I'll ask when they get back? Alternatively the student room website sometimes has links.

Edexcel have several modular subjects here www.edexcel.com/iwantto/I%20want%20to%20%20Tasks/1106%20GCSE%20Units%20Grade%20Boundaries.pdf

ellisbell Sat 27-Aug-11 19:50:33

OCR boundaries link www.ocr.org.uk/download/admin/ocr_47951_admin_mk_grd_bound_jun_10.pdf

Ilovegeorgeclooney Sat 27-Aug-11 20:20:05

I think it also has to be said that 'shock' results for parents are not always the same as 'shock' results for teachers. I had a parent accost me on Thursday outraged that her DS had only got a B in English.Whilst I dont teach the boy I sent at least 5 letters of concern to her over the past 6 months and she refused to send him to Easter revision classes because he deserved a break. Both myself and the classroom teacher were pleased he got B/B and whilst his target was an A/A* his attitude was always going to prevent him achieving this, especially with his mother's 'mummy's little soldier' approach.

wolfbrother Sun 28-Aug-11 11:09:47

Well the girls' school near us give the results with all the module marks and grade boundaries. I assume this is what the parents and children want. Remarks appear to be the norm.

gingeroots Mon 29-Aug-11 08:42:48

So much variation between schools .
>>>sigh<<<<

gingeroots Mon 29-Aug-11 09:03:49

I know this is probably a bit of a silly question but there seem to be some kind and helpful people on this thread ,so I'm going to ask anyway .

It has emerged in the last few months that a module result ( a B for Physics ) was not "cashed in " ( think that's correct - AQA say it wasn't aggregated ) .
This would have raised DS's Physics AS from a D to a C .
What worries me is that the subject teacher ( who had said more than once that DS's results were variable ) won't have had the correct grade on the records and might have given DS more support/better advice at A2 if he'd had that grade on file .
All supposition ,I know and I suppose all schools do things differently ,keep records differently .
Just interested in any views - realise hard to comment on another school .

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