Ofqual investigating validity of A level maths results

16 Aug 19

Exam regulator Ofqual is investigating the grading of the new maths A level, which could mean hundreds who took the exam last year could have their grade boosted.

The watchdog found “unusual” changes in grade boundaries in reformed A level maths. The exam was brought in this year but a group of around 2,000 students took the exam last year. They were mostly very able 17-year-olds who went on to take further maths this year.

Ofqual said it expected 2018 grading to be “challenging”, given the low number of entries (by comparison, this year’s A-level maths cohort was 85,000).

But because the grade boundaries between the exams taken last year and those sat by A-level students this year appeared to have changed so much, the regulator asked exam boards to look again at last year’s grades before publishing this year’s results. They refused.

Ofqual said: “We want to understand why the grade boundaries were so different between the two years.

“We will investigate the full range of evidence from 2018 and 2019 that is now available.

“We will consider each exam board’s decision not to re-open the 2018 awards, taking into account the relative demand of their 2018 and 2019 papers and students’ performance in each year.”

The findings will be published “at the earliest opportunity”, along with any action the exam boards must take.

Ofqual said it is confident in this year’s grade boundaries, so none of the 2019 cohort will be affected by the investigation.

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