Cambridge to review all grades June 2020 and ensure a better prediction system
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To whomever this may concern,
After exchanging grades, there has been an extremely large number of students who have discovered some severe discrepancies between the grade that they were expecting and the grade that they actually received. Such discrepancies were neither expected nor predicted by the school via their various assessments or predicted grades sent to universities (this does not include the predicted grades that Cambridge requested for their assessment). It is understandable that a fair assessment of the students’ grades can obviously not be made but the process used to procure these results seem to be flawed to a degree.
The primary issues that have arisen stem from Step 4 of the grading process which Cambridge issued on their website a few weeks ago. The process outlines that students are awarded grades on the basis of statistical standardization and a ranking system. The issue arises when you realize that our school was already an anomaly when it came to obeying the pre-existing Cambridge curves. There were an extremely high number of A’s awarded to the students who gave their AS Level examinations in 2019 (i.e. Batch of 2020). We realize that this was quite a difficult coordination and equilibrium problem in game theory which had no obvious answer. We also sympathize with the fact that Cambridge has to maintain its integrity and reputation and may have thus chosen to go for the more salient solution rather than the more risk dominant.
What this leads to happening is that while previously the students of our school were competing against the rest of the individuals who may have given the Zone 4 Examination, now they were stuck competing against a much smaller pool of more competitive individuals. The latter is true because of the precedent that the Batch of 2020 achieved in the AS Level examinations in 2019.
There also seems to be another discrepancy. The ranking system is simply not reflective of the individual’s true performance in the Cambridge Assessments. For example, attached are a student’s computer science grades over the course of the year. The average percentage he has maintained over the course of two years is 88.17%. The Computer Science A* threshold in June 2019 was 237/300 which amounts to 79%. The student would have most likely received an A* were they not in competition with students from their own center. This particular student received an A. There are many such cases which have often resulted in the university admissions of students being jeopardized.
There has also been a similar storm swirling around social media surrounding the Scottish Ofqual examinations in which many talented candidates were not awarded the grades that were predicted by their schools (we understand that this is not possible because some schools may artificially hike grades), but the more surprising aspect was students with 3 A’s in their AS Levels dropping to C’s and B’s in their awarded A Level grades. This has occurred with Cambridge as well and with a frightening consistency and volume at that. Such dramatic drops happening across such a large range of students is surely a sign of some blemish in the grade assessing system.
We have but one request which is to perhaps recalculate these grades with better consideration of all these listed factors. We have provided evidence and we respect the efforts that CAIE is making in these trying times to deliver the fairest possible results.
Batch of 2020
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