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Last update: 27/05/2012

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“Severe grading” at A-level.  Summary.

·    It has been well-documented that at A-level there are variations in the gradings awarded when compared with the prior attainment of the students. At A-level French and German are amongst other subjects such as Maths, Biology, Physics and Chemistry (unlike GCSE where French and German are significantly below Maths and Science subjects).

 ·    However, there is a subtle effect which comes into play at the end of the first year, when the AS results are published, and most students then drop one of their 4 subjects.

 ·    Many students taking Maths or a Science subject will be taking as their other AS levels other Maths / Science subjects which are all severely graded; therefore there is no systematic bias against any one subject regarding grading.

 ·    However, those students studying AS French are likely to be taking other subjects which are less severely graded and so French is very likely to be the most “severely graded” of the subjects taken.  This leads to a disproportionate dropout from AS to A2.

 ·    The graph below plots “severe grading” on the vertical axis against the “average score in OTHER subjects”.  It is interesting that the plotted points for the main subjects group in a diagonal from top-left to bottom-right, and it is very significant that French and German are at the extreme end on the bottom-right i.e there will be the greatest discrepancy between the grading for students in that subject and the average score in the other subjects studied by each of those students.

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