Facing the Challenges of Ranking your Students

Information about the methodology for awarding grades for students is gradually being released before the official guidance comes out from exam boards. A clearer picture is emerging that the grades will be informed by your current data (see Preparing for Teacher Predictions), and it will involve an element of student ranking within your subject (ASCL, March 31st). The grades submitted will be moderated against prior KS2 data, prior school attainment data and national distributions by the exam boards. If adjustments need to be made to the distribution of grades, then the rankings will provide a fair basis on which students will move up or down a grade. 

The process of ranking students brings further challenges, especially to larger departments. This more refined approach could also increase the effect of unconscious bias. So what should be taken into consideration at a subject level to ensure a fair and justifiable approach?

Published 02/04/2020

What Percentage Should I Alter My Grade Boundaries By In 2019-20?

This year has seen the third year of the new 9-1 GCSEs for English & Maths, and the second year for most other subjects. Ofqual said that the first year of the new GCSEs would have Grade Boundaries that would be slightly lower to account for the expected challenges and resulting impact related to delivering a new course. In the second year, we were warned the boundaries would rise. So, what happened to the Grade Boundaries between June 2018 and 2019? And what does it mean for teachers?

Published 19/09/2019

7 GCSE Revision Tips to Help Your Students Succeed

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out” – Robert Collier

Your lesson begins. You present your students with a quick recap quiz to assess their readiness for their GCSE exam (which has somehow crept up on all of us). Answers are given and students score themselves out of 10. Scores range from 2 to 10. The panic and anxiety begins to set in for all students gaining lower scores – they have not been revising. Those gaining perfect scores? Fatigue and exhaustion are obvious – they’ve been doing too much revision!

Published 24/05/2019

What Percentage Should I Alter My Grade Boundaries By


We’ve been getting a lot of questions regarding the grade boundaries that subject areas and schools should be using: 2018 + 5%? 2018 + 10%? Boundaries from different subject areas? 

We wanted to write this blog about what we’ve been recommending and why, not only to share our suggestions but also to explain the methodology behind our theory.

As we shared in our previous article Predicting the Impossible, there is a logical process that has informed our recommendations, and we’ve come to what we feel is a sensible, informed decision on the boundaries that should and shouldn’t be used. Part of our recommendation is made up of statistical evidence and analysis, and the other part from considering the psychology of target setting and attainment on both teachers and pupils.

Published 20/12/2018

Predicting the Impossible: Grade Boundary Review

Life without boundaries

With the announcement of the change to 9-1 exams, the exam boards announced a change in grade boundaries that left many teachers across the country feeling perplexed. This was largely because the exam boards and Ofqual said it wasn't possible to predict. We understood teachers’ frustrations with the exam boards & Ofqual not releasing any grade boundaries. They said it was not possible to predict a reasonable range or provide any specimen & practice papers.

Published 04/09/2018

GCSE Scaling Factors

Some exam boards have scaling factors for the 9-1 GCSEs and A-levels. Those specifications that use Scaling Factors have clearly stated them at the end of the assessment section in the specifications. They change the weighting of the marks achieved in exam units and therefore affect the final grade students achieve.



Published 16/11/2017

GCSE Grade Boundaries 2017/18

As you can imagine, pupil progress has received a lot of questions relating to grade boundaries for the new 9-1 GCSEs, including how we are providing grade boundaries. For English and Maths, the wait is over, as there are actual grade boundaries from this year’s exams to refer to. For other subjects, there is no way of predicting accurately where the grade boundaries will sit. At this stage, we can only make an informed guess based on the information that Ofqual and Dfe have published.



Published 16/11/2017