International Comparisons in Senior Secondary Assessment (Progress Report) 2011

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Produced in 2011, this report describes the context and parameters of Ofqual’s research into the assessments taken by learners at senior secondary level in a number of key comparator jurisdictions and outlines the progress made up to February 2011.

The purpose of this research is to make comparative judgements concerning the demand of qualifications available to learners in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, against a range of qualifications available to similar learners in other jurisdictions. The focus is on their appropriateness in preparing learners for entry to an honours degree level course in the UK.

The study comprises:
*a consideration of the purpose of the qualification, including target learners and take-up rates, pass rates, an indication of what is considered as “success” in the qualification and intended progression following successful completion of the qualification
*a review of the subject specification (syllabus) to make judgements about the nature of the subject matter to be covered in the qualification, including breadth and depth of subject coverage, accessibility to the range of learners taking the qualification and suitability for progress to further study and/or employment
*an investigation of the assessment instrument/s (for example, question papers) to make judgements about issues such as level of demand, the quality of the question paper/s and mark scheme/s, and the match between the assessment instrument/s and the subject specification (syllabus), any subject criteria, and the purpose of the qualification.

The subjects considered were chemistry, mathematics, English and history at A level equivalent.

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