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Alternative conceptions of comparability

Research output: ResearchChapter in a book

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTechniques for monitoring the comparability of examination standards
EditorsPN Newton, J Baird, H Goldstein, H Patrick, P Tymms
Place of PublicationLondon
Publisher or commissioning bodyQualifications and Curriculum Authority
Number of pages42
ISBN (Print)1858389771
StatePublished - 11 Mar 2008


Comparable examinations have to be at the same standard. But what do people mean by ‘examination standard’ and what kinds of comparibility are expected? How is evidence to be gathered about these types of comparability and are all of these approaches valid? This chapter outlines different definitions of examination comparibility used in England by academics and the expectations of the media and general public. The purposes to which assessment results are put are discussed, as the alternative conceptions of examination comparability are linked to the uses of the assessment results. Given that there are different approaches, some commentators have proposed that we should select a single definition of examination standards and stick to it, so that the system is clearer and false expectations are not raised about that the examination system can realistically deliver. Whether a particular definition of examination standards can be prioritised above others is considered, we well as the implications of doing so.

Additional information

Rose publication type: Book chapter Sponsorship: QCA-commissioned research (2006-7). Terms of use: © Qualifications and Curriculum Authority 2007

    Research areas

  • examinations, comparability of examinations, examination standards, standard setting methodologies, comparable examinations, definitions of examination comparibility, assessment, assessment in education, assessment results

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  • Baird

    Accepted author manuscript, 741 KB, PDF-document


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