Benchmarks for the new GCSE Double Award Combined Science

18th September 2018

In the last few days we have finalised the benchmarks for this new qualification. These are now available in our KS4 Reports and in Connect Interactive, allowing schools to carry out subject review analysis across all subjects in the science department.

Alps benchmarks are generated from validated national data released by the DfE, however as this is a new qualification, with a new grading structure, we were unable to generate benchmarks from previous DfE data. KS4 Reports and Connect Interactive analysis on Results Day had no value-added scores for GCSE Combined Science.

We were keen to generate some benchmarks as soon as possible from our schools’ data, and we were delighted with the response. The fact that so many schools have sent us their KS4 data in the last few weeks has meant that we now have a robust enough sample size to publish this client generated benchmark.

If you have a KS4 Report and KS4 data in Connect Interactive, you will find that Reports have been automatically re-run, and Connect Interactive analysis has updated. Your science teachers can now perform ‘What If’ analysis on their 2018 examination outcomes and will be able to track student progress across Years 10 and 11 from a monitoring perspective.

 

What are the implications?

If you added data to Connect Interactive or ordered a KS4 Report on Results Day, then be aware that you may find there are changes to the following strategic indicators:

  • GCSE – RED teaching and learning
  • GCSE – BLUE teaching and learning

The reason for this is as follows:

The RED teaching and learning grade is calculated from the number of entries in subjects that have RED Alps grades as a percentage of the total entries across the school. The higher the percentage, the better your RED teaching and learning grade. In contrast, the BLUE teaching and learning grade is calculated from the percentage of entries in BLUE Alps graded subjects as a percentage of the whole. The lower the total percentage means a better BLUE teaching and learning grade.

Now let’s say you have a strong science department where the new benchmarks mean that your GCSE DA Combined Science Alps grade is a RED one – in other words, this subject has now got an Alps grade of 1, 2 or 3. You are likely to have a high number of entries in this subject, and therefore this will positively impact on the total percentage of entries in RED subjects, increasing your RED teaching and learning grade. Conversely, if the grading for the DA Combined Science has resulted in a BLUE Alps grade (grade 7, 8 or 9), then the BLUE teaching and learning percentage will increase, which decreases your overall BLUE teaching and learning grade.

There will be no effect on your QI and QI8 scores, as the points for DA Combined Science were already incorporated into these measure – in other words, they do not rely on having an actual subject benchmark.

Please note, that because this is a double award qualification, 0.1 of a difference in the Alps score is equivalent to all of your students performing one grade lower. This is different to all other GCSE subjects where the equivalent difference is 0.2.

 

 What do the benchmarks tell us?

The Alps score required for a RED Alps grading of 3 (equivalent to the top 25% of departments) for the new benchmark for GCSE DA Combined Science is 1.01. If all of your students hit their MEGS, your score would be 1.00, an Alps grade 4 in this subject. If all your students achieved one grade below their MEG, the score would be 0.90, which on this thermometer would be an Alps grade 6.

The Alps methodology is detailed in our Guides which can be found on your Connect Homepage.

OP010/09/18

Need more information?

If you would like any further information, please contact one of our expert advisers.

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