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Exams shape students’ future life chances. It is vital to share our knowledge on how we set and maintain standards

Blog Editor, IOE Digital7 September 2018

Tina Isaacs and Lena Gray. 
As we wind down from a relatively calm examination season – even with the introduction of new examinations this year – some of us continue to mull over the idea of ‘standards’ in examination systems.
What does the term ‘standards’ mean, anyway? It crops up everywhere in the world of assessment. In England, exam boards and Ofqual, which offer general qualifications like GCSEs and A levels, have to try to make sure that grades have the same meaning across subjects, in different years, and even between competing exam boards – a Sisyphean task that is fraught with technical challenges. This is an area in which assessment researchers like us can see our work having real impact, and there are plenty of exciting developments to shape new thinking. One of those developments is the publication on 10 September by the UCL IOE press of a new book called Exam standards: how measures and meanings differ around the world.
Standard setting in national exams is a topic of interest throughout the global assessment community, yet opportunities for information sharing are rare, given the politically sensitive (more…)