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An approach used to set GCSE and A Level grade boundaries in the UK does not prevent schools from demonstrating improvement to Ofsted, according to new research from Cambridge Assessment.
Whilst some teaching unions have argued that the pegging of results to the performance of students from previous years comes at the expense of the requirement for schools to demonstrate year on year improvement, the research finds that the ‘comparable outcomes’ approach to grade boundary setting has a very limited impact on individual schools.
This is because in most cases actively controlling grade inflation leads to grade boundaries that are no more than one mark more severe than they would have been without the comparable outcomes approach.
It is recognised that comparable outcomes is just one method to set, monitor and maintain standards, and can be particularly valuable when managing periods of change in qualifications.