methodology by etssetcf


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									Reviews of standards over time
Methodology The examination and candidate materials used in these reviews are drawn from the National Archive which is managed by QCA. A team of subject specialists scrutinize the materials in order to come to a view on standards over time. The most recent review of standards in Welsh and Welsh Second Language covers the period since the previous review. For GCSE it compares standards in 2003 GCSE Welsh examinations with those of the previous review of 1998 examinations and standards in 2004 GCSE Welsh second language examination with those of 1998. For GCE it compares standards in 2003 GCE A Level Welsh with those of 1997 and standards in 2004 GCE A level Welsh second language with those of 1997. The review is organised in two stages:

Stage one: Examination requirements The aim of this aspect of the review is to judge whether there have been changes to the standards required by the examination over the period. It involves scrutiny of the specifications, assessment materials and guidance materials produced by the awarding body. Based on the requirements within these materials, reviewers are asked to judge the effects of any changes in requirements over the period of the review on the overall demand on candidates. Stage two: Standards of performance The aim of this stage is to find whether the standards expected from the candidates at key grade boundaries have changed during the period. In this stage, reviewers scrutinize the material that candidates submit and on which the award of a grade is based. The examination paper scripts, written, and oral assessments of a sample of candidates are scrutinized at key grade boundaries.


Limitations of the study Comparing examination standards over a period of time is a complex task. The structure of specifications and of the associated assessments can change substantially over the period of a review. The range and relative weighting of the knowledge and skills assessed can also change significantly. Such changes make it difficult for reviewers to form a view regarding examination requirements and standards because they are not comparing like with like. Where the entry is small, the evidence available at particular grade boundaries can also be limited to a few candidates. These limitations are acknowledged, where relevant, in the individual reports for Welsh and Welsh second language. They should be borne in mind in considering the findings and conclusions.


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