More on comparative judgements

The TES reports that more schools are expressing an interest in moving away from so called success criteria to comparative judgements.

I have blogged about this in a previous post and although it is no panacea, I am sure that anyone concerned about the damaging trend where pupils spend more time examining success criteria and mark schemes, as opposed to studying content, will welcome this. The key, as I believe Dr Chris Wheadon from No More Marking has recognised, is for the examination boards to adopt this system for all public examinations which require essay type answers.

Although removal of levels has done away with classroom display boards of “level 6 words” or “level 6 criteria” or “level 6 answers”, secondary school teachers, myself included, spend a lot of time reminding pupils of the criteria for a C, B, A or A*. When you think about it, it is incredibly limiting, as we are not encouraging pupils to do their best, but simply encouraging them to fulfil criteria. A lot of the time the criteria, rather like the levels, are so vague as to be meaningless anyway. Comparative judgements moves away from this. My plea to all examination boards is please take note, be brave and remove the so called success criteria for essay questions. Yes, I am aware that norm referencing has its own issues and unfairness, but I certainly see advantages in giving any essay part of the examination a mark based on comparative judgements.


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