Ofqual announces improvements to A Level languages

29 Sep 2014

Ofqual has announced that changes will be made to A Level gradings in MFL to ensure that the most able students can be differentiated in a more reliable way.

Following an in-depth look at A Levels in French, German and Spanish across all exam boards, Ofqual reached the following conclusions:

  • In many of the exams, a large number of questions were not effective in differentiating between students of different abilities, especially between the most able.
  • Problems were identified with some of the mark schemes. Expert reviewers found instances where the principles for deciding what did or did not constitute a correct answer in the mark scheme were unclear. Marking rules were also identified that did not have a sound basis and appeared to be actively reducing the differentiation between students.
  • The marks that students were awarded for speaking were very high. The relationship between students’ speaking marks on different assessments was also generally weak. This may also be a reflection of the lack of differentiation between students or may be related to inconsistent marking.
  • In a number of instances, the relationships between the marks that students achieved in other elements of the exams (such as listening and writing) were surprisingly weak. While there may be other factors that influence this relationship, it suggests that issues may exist with the design of some questions or with the quality of marking of some elements.

You can read the full press release from Ofqual at http://ofqual.gov.uk/news/improvements-made-level-foreign-languages/


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