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GCSE English Lang & UMS

Discussion in 'English' started by mediadave, Aug 27, 2011.

  1. mediadave

    mediadave New commenter

    Hoping someone can help me with this as I'm utterly confused.
    Year 10 students were entered with WJEC for their English language exam and now the results are in, we want to add their marks onto their controlled assessment marks in order to determine whether they've averaged a C overall.
    My understanding of UMS was that the mark for a C was the same irrespective of foundation or higher. E.g. 24 UMS marks out of 40 would be a C (this is 60%) since the UMS conversion would adjust the foundation mark and lower it.
    However, looking at the results, the UMS grade boundaries differ; for foundation a C is 27 UMS marks (which is 67.5%) whereas for higher it's 17 (42.5%).
    Thus, I cannot add up the marks with the coursework marks because 24 UMS marks for higher tier students will be different to foundation.
  2. You are quoting the raw mark boundaries for the written papers this summer. Candidates' raw marks are converted to UMS and it is these marks which are then used to calculate the final grade next summer. Controlled assessment raw marks will similarly be converted to UMS once boundaries are established after moderation next year. Please see the specification for further details.
  3. mediadave

    mediadave New commenter

    Thanks Hugh. When will those raw marks be converted into UMS? I was under the impression that the mark we were given on Thursday for these candidates was UMS, as the most recent English bulletin says:
    "Results for New Specification units sat in Summer
    2011 will also be issued on 25th August. These results will be in the
    form of a UMS mark and grade for each unit sat."
    However the marks we were given can't be UMS since the C grade differs between Higher and Foundation, and my understanding was that UMS marks are the same in each tier once they've been scaled.
  4. Centres have access to both raw marks and the UMS conversion for the two units in GCSE English / English Language and one unit in GCSE English Literature sat this summer. Raw mark boundaries have also been provided. This information is available through the WJEC secure website; please see your exams officer for details of how to access.
  5. mediadave

    mediadave New commenter

    Can you clarify where the UMS marks are? When I go into "Item Level Data" and then "component marks drilldown" I get each candidate's raw mark and grade but cannot see a UMS mark anywhere
  6. sunflower48

    sunflower48 New commenter

    My exam officer gave me a sheet with my results which was from WJEC called Explanation of Results.

    It gives UMS marks out of 40 through to 120 and what the grade is. So Maximum UMS out of 40 is A* = 36 marks,
    A = 32, B = 28, C= 24, D =20, E = 16, F = 12, 8 = 8.
    It does the same for UMS for 50, 60 70, 80, 90, 100 and 120,

    It then gives maximum UMS mark for the subject and the minimum UMS required for each grade of subject Award are:
    and it gives the short course GCSE, Full course, Applied single course, etc

    in that case maximum = 100, A* = 90, A = 80, B = 70. C = 60 etc

    So if I am doing this right, I can look what they have so far for their controlled assessments (although this has not been submitted to the WJEC yet) add that to what they got in their exam and then look at the maximum for the full course and that should give be an idea of where they are at present. It should also tell me what they probably need to do to improve.

    That is unless I am completely wrong!!!!
    Anyone else done this.
  7. mediadave

    mediadave New commenter

    I have been doing the same thing sunflower.
    The trouble is that you need the UMS mark for the exam because foundation and higher raw marks are very different; e.g. 27 marks on foundation is worth fewer than higher.
    My understanding is that the UMS marks are adjusted to ensure that the grade boundaries the exam board have set for raw marks match the standard percentages which are agreed between exam board.
    If we have the UMS marks then yes, we can probably do that to get a fair idea. The trouble is that with C/D borderline students, they could be on either grade depending on where the grade boundaries fall, and that won't be decided until the summer of 2012. This puts us in a quandary: students who missed on the C for Language might be better converting to the combined English course, but it would be wrong to make them do that and then find they were on a comfortable C after all; likewise we don't want to put students forward for literature assuming they've passed the language, only to find they've missed out on a C because of where the grade boundaries were set.
    So very complicated. As for working out the controlled assessments, unit 3 is marked out of 80 raw marks but is actually out of 60 UMS so you'd need to do your own UMS conversion before adding up the marks gives you any real indication of what grade the students are on.
  8. sunflower48

    sunflower48 New commenter

    The whole thing is a nightmare. I knew exactly what I was doing with the legacy one, how to teach the coursework and how to teach targeted students, now it would seem it is anyone's guess!!!

    I thought we would be in good position to say to students well if you work hard you can achieve but we can't.

    Oh well we wait to see what comes from WJEC until then we are all in the dark.!!!!!
  9. To see UMS scores you need to click on "Walled Garden" in the left-hand column and then on the "Overview by Candidates" button (yellow) on the main screen. We hope to be able to present raw marks and UMS side-by-side in the future, as this would clearly be more logical.
    The uniform mark scale (UMS) is used for unitised specifications to enable marks from units taken in different sessions to be combined fairly to give the correct overall result. Each unit is allocated a certain number of UMS marks based on its weighting. For example, in English there are 200 UMS marks. Unit 1 is worth 20% of the assessment. Therefore the unit is allocated 40 (i.e. 20% of 200) UMS marks. The conversion from "raw" (i.e. actual marks for a unit) to UMS is not simply a mathematical calculation. It is based on the relation of the raw mark to the grade boundary established for that unit. If, for example, the C boundary on Unit 1 is set at 27 one year, 27 marks on the unit will achieve the set UMS mark of 24. However, if the following year the boundary is set at 29, a candidate will need to get a mark of 29 on the unit to achieve the set UMS mark, 24. The UMS thus allows achievement to be accurately recorded even if a unit is more or less challenging in a particular year. It also allows candidates to enter some units on the higher tier and some on foundation if desired.
    Controlled assessment grade boundaries will be established each year in the same way as those for exam units. Controlled assessment will be submitted for the first time next summer, and these boundaries have not yet been established. Therefore at this stage it is not possible acccurately to convert "raw" CA marks to UMS. However, if notional grade boundaries based on the legacy specification marking are applied (i.e. 12/20; 48/80 = C; 14/20; 56/80 = B) a rough calculation may be made using the UMS tables in the specifications (GCSE Eng p10; GCSE Lang p11; GCSE Lit p11). It must be stressed that these are NOTIONAL boundaries only and may change when CA units are awarded each year. Bearing this caveat in mind, here is an example (based on GCSE Lang). Unit 3 CA has a UMS of 60 (i.e. 30% of the assessment). The candidate has a "raw" mark of 48 / 80 for his Unit 3 CA. If the boundary for C is set by the awarding committee at 48, this mark will then convert to 36 on the UMS scale (see chart p11).
    Once all units have been completed and "cashed-in", the UMS marks are added together to give a total score (out of 200); this is then converted to a grade.
    I hope this has helped.
  10. sunflower48

    sunflower48 New commenter

    Thank you Hugh. It has certainly explained it all, although I am not sure I fully understand it all. I think I need to re-read your reply several times to get my head around it. I'm sure in another year we will all fully understand everything!

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