Benchmarks for Welsh Science (Double Award) GCSE and the Skills Challenge Certificate

5th November 2018

Information for Welsh Alps Schools

The benchmarks for the qualifications above will be available in your KS4 Reports and in Connect Interactive this week, allowing you to carry out subject review analysis across all subjects.

For both qualifications, we had no previous data from which to construct a benchmark, and therefore we have used our Welsh schools’ data to generate these as a guide for your subject staff.

Once released, if you have a KS4 Report and KS4 data in Connect Interactive, you will find that your PDF Reports have been automatically re-run, and Connect Interactive analysis has updated. Your subject teachers will then be able to 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?

Your KS4 data in Connect Interactive will take the two new benchmarks into account. This means that you may find there are changes to the following strategic indicators:
GCSE – RED teaching and learning
GCSE – BLUE teaching and learning
Alps Quality Indicator score

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 Science GCSE Double Award 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 Science GCSE Double Award 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.

The science qualification will not affect your Quality Indicator (QI) scores, as the points were already incorporated into these measure – in other words, they do not rely on having an actual subject benchmark. However, the Skills Challenge Certificate will impact on the measure. This is due to the inclusion of the new benchmark in this measure. As you are likely to have a large number of students in this course, the overall effect could impact significantly on your QI.

Please note when analysing your science value-added scores – 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 higher / lower. This is different to all other GCSE subjects where the equivalent difference is 0.2.

For your reference, Connect Data will call this subject WBQ – Foundation/National Skills Challenge Certificate, and it will appear in Connect Interactive as WBQ – F/N Skills Challenge Cert. It can also be recognised as CBAC – Tystysgrif Her Sgiliau Sylfaen/Genedlaethol.

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

OP012/11/18

Need more information?

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

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