Matt Dilley, OCR Subject Advisor
In the past weeks, we’ve been running online Q&A events to give you a chance to ask subject-specific questions about this year’s advance information (AI). This followed our more general FAQ blogs for teachers and for students. In this blog, I’ve summarised the questions asked at our Economics Q&A event.
The focus of advance information wasn’t to reduce content, but to focus student revision for the forthcoming exams. There is still an expectation that all content is covered and all should be revised. Nothing has been ‘cut’ from the specification but the advance information should be used to help focus student revision on the areas worth the most marks.
AI is part of a package of support which also includes changes to grade boundaries, as outlined in Ofqual’s recent blog. The results awarded this year will be “midway” between the last set of examined results and the grades awarded via the TAG process last year.
One of the principles of AI is that it shouldn’t provide enough information to allow for “question spotting”. This means that no inference can be made of question types that will be associated to different topics.
The list of topics for AI will depend on the qualification you are studying. You can check the first page of the AI document for this information and see below.
Economics A Level - The AI list DOES include topics covered in MCQs. However, it will only include the topics relating to the correct answers, topics relating to incorrect answers won’t appear on the topic list.
Economics GCSE – The AI DOES NOT include MCQs. By providing this information we would not have been able to give enough focus on the topics to be revised. The AI information is only for the written answer questions.
Each exam board has its own specification which is presented in differing levels of detail. At meetings between the exam boards we agreed which level of detail would be appropriate to detail in AI documents for each specification. This is to be as consistent as possible across exam boards and to ensure parity for learners.
AI is designed for revision purposes and will help to narrow down the content that students revise for their exams. If a student only revised the content from the A Level AI document they would be able to score maximum marks on that examination. However, the AI for Economics GCSE doesn’t include MCQs, so maximum marks wouldn’t be possible on this paper just by following the AI guidance.
Remember that paper 3 is synoptic and includes many topics from papers 1 and 2. By breaking this down and focusing on the topics for each individual paper you are able to see which topics are important to revise for paper 3 alone and which topics can be revised for both exams.
AI has a number of principles that underpin how it was created. We needed to make sure that it wasn’t too prescriptive as this would allow for “question spotting” and undermine the integrity of the qualifications. Students need to know that the grade they are awarded has meaning and is comparable to other students.
AI is also part of a package to support students and shouldn’t be viewed as a stand-alone piece of information. By altering grade boundaries, students have additional support and can feel confident that the grades awarded to them will be fair and take into consideration the difficulties they have faced over the past few years.
If you have any questions about this summer’s assessment and would like to talk to us, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow us on Twitter @OCR_BusEcon where I share resources and articles. You can also sign up to subject updates and receive email information about economics resources and support.
Matt Dilley - Subject Advisor
Matt joined OCR in April 2020 as part of the Business and Economics advisory team. He has a degree in Accountancy with a focus on Financial Accounting. His work experience includes commercial banking and 12 years as a teacher of Business Studies and Economics where he was a faculty lead.