Marking and Grading
Whether an assessment exercise is a written paper produced under formal examination conditions, a coursework task, a task completed under controlled conditions in the classroom, a project, a piece of artwork or a musical performance, it will in due course be marked. There may be several stages to this process. Examiners marking formal written papers, or assessing project or coursework exercises, have their performance monitored and sampled to ensure reliability and consistency. The marks they award will subsequently be adjusted, where necessary, to give uniformity of treatment across all candidates and centres.
Where project exercises or coursework tasks are marked internally by Trinity School staff, marking is checked and moderated within the department to ensure consistency of assessment. This is carried out in line with the relevant examination board's requirements and there is a right of appeal that this has been carried out appropriately; a copy of our appeals procedure can be viewed in the School Office. A sample of work, selected by the exam board, is then scrutinised and checked by an external moderator appointed by the relevant examination board. The raw mark originally given may be agreed, or can be shifted up or down by the moderator to achieve uniformity of standards between examination centres, so marks awarded at Trinity School cannot be considered as final until they are confirmed or shown as adjusted on results' day.
The marks from the various assessment criteria are then combined with an appropriate weighting to generate a subject grade. An iGCSE or GCSE comprises a single overall grade awarded from the total marks gained from a number of contributory elements. The exception to this is where a separate grade is given for the speaking element for iGCSE French, German and Spanish [however, the speaking element is due to be incorporated into the overall grade from results published in 2014]. GCE AS and A2 awards are modular in structure with each module attracting a mark and grade. Modules may comprise a written paper and/or a practical test, coursework or other assessed task, leading to a mark and unit grade. Various processes of scaling and shifting are then applied to this raw mark to map it onto an agreed ‘Uniform Mark Scale'. This gives the ‘UMS' mark that is credited to the student. AS and A2 grades are then awarded on the basis of the sum of the UMS marks gained in the contributing modules, not on the average of the grades they individually attract.
The scaling and shifting of raw marks to produce the UMS mark can produce some misleading outcomes. At the top end of the range of performance it can result in a candidate being credited with full marks for a paper, even though the raw mark may have been some way below 100%. This is never unwelcome! Further down the range, though, it can cause a shift in the opposite sense, with a respectable-looking raw mark being mapped onto a proportionally lower UMS mark because the majority of students did rather better than this, and the reported mark has to rank them accordingly. Students who receive encouraging feedback from preliminary marking and grading processes, especially of coursework or project exercises, are sometimes disappointed if subsequent moderation or the later mapping of raw marks onto the UMS scale seems to devalue their performance.
A* grade for A level
An A* at A Level will be awarded to candidates who achieve a grade A on the A Level overall, i.e. 80% on the uniform mark scale [UMS] and achieve at least 90% or more across the A2 units. For example: A four-unit A Level comprises a total of 400 UMS of which 200 UMS are available for the A2 units. To achieve an A*, candidates need to gain at least 320 UMS for the full A Level (i.e. an A overall) and 180 or more for the A2 units. A six-unit A Level comprises a total of 600 UMS of which 300 UMS are available for the A2 units. To achieve an A*, candidates need to achieve at least 480 UMS for the full A Level (i.e. an A overall) and 270 or more for the A2 units.
A Level Mathematics
The structure of A Level Mathematics is different from other subjects and so uses a slightly different rule. It is currently possible to achieve A Level Mathematics with four AS and two A2 units or with three AS and three A2 units. Therefore, so that the same rule can be applied to all unit combinations, candidates must get a grade A on the A Level overall and achieve 90% of the UMS on the two mandatory A2 units combined [units C3 and C4].
It is possible to achieve A Level Further Mathematics with more than three A2 units. In this case, the A* is calculated in the same way as it is for all other subjects, based on the three best A2 units.