Fluctuations in individual schools’ GCSE results are to be expected according to new research from Cambridge Assessment. Volatility Happens says that, although it might be obvious, in some years pupils will perform better than expected, while in other years pupils will perform worse.
The researchers believe the study will enable schools to manage expectations and allow head teachers and governors to interpret changes in performance appropriately.
The research builds on an earlier study that ruled out exam grade boundaries and marking as major components of volatility.
The current research adds an understanding of just how much volatility can be accounted for by the routine changes in students between years and normal variations in individual students’ performance in a particular exam.