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Grade Boundaries - Information for Year 11 and Year 13

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Dear Parents,

As you may, or may not know, exam Grade Boundaries (also known as Grade Thresholds) are used by exam boards to award grades to students for their exams (and Internal Assessments), based on the marks that they achieve. These Grade Boundaries alter slightly every year and are not decided on by exam boards until after all exam papers have been marked. Therefore, in schools, we need to examine our internal Grade Boundaries every year with the most up-to-date information available in order to provide the 'best guess' (it can only ever be an estimate) of Grade Boundaries in order to support our students.

This year, it has been particularly difficult to work out where we should place our school Grade Boundaries due to the lack of exams owing to COVID. We set the Grade Boundaries earlier in the year, using the best information available for each subject (and level) individually. However, as the year has progressed, and more information has become available, it has become clear that our internal Grade Boundaries are generally too low. This means that the Grade Boundaries we are applying across all subjects are providing our students with overly optimistic expectations of grades. 

The Head of Faculty team has spent considerable time re-examining the data available to us and have decided to make some changes to Year 11 and Year 13 grade boundaries only. This will mean that, in general, students will need higher marks to achieve specific grades. In some subjects the change is greater than in other subjects.

What changes have been made and why?

Year 11 - Most subjects are currently using the 2021 Grade Boundaries. We are concerned that this is presenting an overly inflated set of grades across multiple subjects. Whilst Grade Boundaries are unlikely to go all the way back to pre-COVID levels, they will probably rise a few percent from last year and we do not want students to be disadvantaged. Having examined a variety of different possibilities, it has been decided that using an average of years 2017 to 2019 will be most beneficial to, and most accurate for, our students.

Should we need to move to presenting portfolios due to examinations being stopped, information regarding Grade Boundaries will be provided by CIE.

Year 13 - Most subjects are currently using the 2021 Grade Boundaries. We are concerned that this is presenting an overly inflated set of grades across multiple subjects. Whilst Grade Boundaries are unlikely to go all the way back to pre-COVID levels, they will probably rise a few percent from last year and we do not want students to be disadvantaged. Having examined a variety of different possibilities, it has been decided that using an average of years 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2021 (non-examination route) will be most beneficial to, and accurate for, our students.

This is with the exception of:

  • Chinese A SL: due to these averages being lower than the 2021 GBs.
  • the three Science subjects: due to these averages being lower than the 2021 GBs and for consistency across the department.
  • the Maths subjects: due to the new syllabus in 2021.

Should we need to move to presenting portfolios due to examinations being stopped, information regarding Grade Boundaries will be provided by the IBO.

Teachers will share the new Grade Boundaries with students over the next week or so and I will be attending form times on Wednesday 26th January in order to explain what has been changed and why to students, and to take any questions from them.

I will also be offering a Q&A session for Year 11 and Year 13 parents about these grade boundaries via Zoom at 13:00 on Monday 31st January. Please ensure that any questions are emailed to jbell@romeinternationalschool.it by 5pm on Friday 28th January.

Should you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at jbell@romeinternationalschool.it

Best regards,

Mrs Mongare-Bell

Head of Curriculum and Assessment 

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