In her latest blog, Science Subject Advisor Ann Wolstenholme looks at measuring Biology, Chemistry and Physics attainment in Combined Science.
This summer many students will have taken GCSE (9-1) Combined Science for the first time. On their certificates they will be awarded one of the 17 available grades, from 9-9 to 1-1. But how do you know how they performed in Biology, Chemistry or Physics?
OCR has issued centres with a results and grade threshold report detailing the overall grade for each of their candidates and individual raw mark for each component. On the back of the report there is a table of component thresholds which show how the raw mark relates to one of the grades.
To make this information particularly useful, these notional thresholds for each paper will take into account the comparative difficulty of the paper, meaning that the marks required for each subject will not be identical, either across the components or from year to year.
Candidates will receive their own results slip, known as a statement of marks, which will include an overall grade and the mark for each component. To identify what that mark means as a grade, they can use the table of component thresholds which can be found on the grade boundaries web page.
Teachers in Sixth Form Colleges and other schools and colleges can use the same information to identify if candidates have achieved at a significantly higher level in any particular component. For example a potential candidate wishing to study physics may have a borderline grade, but have excelled in the physics components in Combined Science giving the centre sufficient confidence to offer a place.
This means the following can be identified:
The distinct benefit of the information available from OCR is the analysis of the marks for the exam paper to give indicative grade boundaries which reflect the difficulty of each paper, so that you are able to make a comparable judgement on capability.
The OCR website has specific pages to help centres with their administration of examinations and results and students with their understanding of their results.
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Ann Wolstenholme - Subject Advisor - GCSE Sciences
After working in the assessment side of OCR for many years, Ann has been a Subject Advisor on the GCSE sciences for the last two years working with both of our GCSE Science suites.