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Please help with idiot's guide to grade boundaries before I go crazy

(7 Posts)
BlueGazebo Fri 26-Aug-16 23:06:58

I thought I had better check on DS's grade boundaries just in case he is one mark off anything. I've been stuck for hours and hours.

What is Mark Equivalent and how the poop do I convert it into anything resembling the grade boundaries? I don't get it. Please help. Why is it so complicated? Aaaaah!

WyfOfBathe Sat 27-Aug-16 03:09:37

If you look in the "mark equiv" column, there should be a number there (there might also be a letter, just ignore it). This is the UMS mark.

Then when you look at the grade boundaries from the exam board websites, look at where he is in the "UMS" (Edexcel and OCR have raw marks & UMS in the same document - just look at the UMS row, but AQA have separate documents so check you've got the UMS one)

So in these photos, you can see that the student got 270 in French, and then looking at the grade boundaries you can see that the minimum mark for an A* is 270, so they just achieved it.

(The results slip is just one I found online BTW, my 4 year old isn't going out and getting a load of A*s grin)

BlueGazebo Sat 27-Aug-16 08:07:53

Thank you.

Most of them are now making sense BUT I am severely stuck on the AQA iGCSE English Lit which makes no sense. It may be because it also has a coursework element. The other exams have broken down elements that you can check individually but this one doesn't. I get the individual elements but not how it works once they are added together (giving the Mark Equivalent which is next to the actual grade).

BlueGazebo Sat 27-Aug-16 08:41:39

Finally making progress.... it's not iGCSE. It's 60% exam worth 120 max UMS and 40% coursework worth max 80 UMS. I will get there in the end...

freerangeeggs Sat 27-Aug-16 09:26:08

I'm an English teacher and I use lookup tables on Excel for this. It's kind of complicated if you don't know how it works.

All students are given a raw mark in the first instance. I don't have iGCSE boundaries, but I have AQA GCSE English Lang in front of me (albeit from last year, though the unit 3 ones still stand - you should talk to the head of English for a breakdown of this year's unit 1).

Unit 1 (exam, 60%) is worth 80 raw marks. Unit 3 (coursework, 40%) is worth 80 raw marks too. Unit 2 is worth 0 so we'll ignore it (long story - speaking and listening component).

The raw marks are then converted to UMS.

On Unit 3 there are 120 UMS available. On Unit 1 there are 180 UMS available.

The conversion scale is not linear, so it's not a case of saying 'one mark is equal to two UMS" or whatever; rather, on Unit 3 (as an example) 1 raw mark out of 80 is equivalent to 2 UMS, while 7/80 is equivalent to 17 UMS and 12/80 is equivalent to 27 UMS. 79/80 = 100% UMS. It blows the students' minds to find out they can get 100% on an exam without getting all the marks!

Unit 3 UMS boundaries stay the same every year, but Unit 1 changes based on the outcomes of the exam. It's a way for the exam board to adjust the grade boundaries dependent on the difficulty of the exam that year without the need to remark and alter the raw marks given to each student.

AQA releases documents containing raw mark to UMS conversion tables (in fact I think there's a function for it on the website) and another document with the UMS grade boundaries. It takes a bit of digging unfortunately and even I've had to fill the gaps a bit at times.

BlueGazebo Sat 27-Aug-16 12:12:37

Thank you

It ridiculously complicated. I think I am going to have to find out from his English teacher a breakdown of what he got for the separate sections. It looks like he did a lot better in the coursework than he did in the exam. He passed so it's not the end of the world but I'd like to know if he's anywhere near the next grade up.

lasermum Sun 28-Aug-16 11:58:03

Thank you freerangeeggs. This explains (I think) how ds1 managed to get 100% ums in a paper he didn't even finish! We were both confused by that (Edexcel Maths d1).

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