The fairness of an exam can make the difference between students getting the grade they deserve and a grade that does not reflect their knowledge and skills. That difference can be life changing.
OxfordAQA’s Fair Assessment allows ALL international GCSE and A-level students to achieve the grade they deserve.
Five Ways We Achieve Fair Assessment
We achieve fair assessment by drawing on the expertise and research that our partner, AQA, has developed over more than 100 years. This is the same research that has enabled AQA to become the UK’s largest awarding body, marking over 7 million GCSEs and A-levels each year.
We also draw on the deep educational expertise of Oxford University Press, a department of the University of Oxford, to ensure students who speak English as a second language have the same opportunity to achieve a top grade as native English speakers.
OxfordAQA students are tested solely on their ability in the subject – not their English language skills or cultural knowledge of the UK.
An exam question is invalid if it contains unfair barriers that prevents students from demonstrating their knowledge. This can happen if the language is too complex, the context of the question is unfamiliar, or the question has been designed poorly.
We’ve removed such barriers in our international exams, giving every student the same chance to succeed.
3. The Oxford 3000™
OxfordAQA uses the Oxford 3000™ word list, an approach unique to us that ensures students with English as a second language can understand a question just as well as a native speaker.
The Oxford 3000™ is a list of the most important and useful words to learn in English. It was developed by dictionary experts working in the English Language Teaching division of Oxford University Press, a department of the University of Oxford.
During the development of our exam papers, we review all the questions using the Oxford 3000™. If we identify any word that is not in this core vocabulary list or the specification for the qualification, we replace it or define it within the question.
For example, in a maths exam, why use the word ‘tariff’ when the word ‘price’ has the same meaning and is universally understood?
The Oxford 3000™ allows us to benchmark the overall demand of incidental vocabulary in our exam questions to a maximum B2 level on the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR).
This can be a real benefit for students who speak English as a second language – even those who speak English fluently – to reduce worry and so that students can be confident that they are tested on their subject knowledge only.
4. Reliable exams
We create high-quality and clear mark schemes so all examiners award marks consistently. Both the mark scheme and exam questions are designed alongside each other, to ensure that the question clearly reflects what answer we expect from students.
In addition, we always make sure our mark schemes enable positive marking. If a student underperforms on part of a high-mark question, they still get the credit for performing well on other aspects. We also have rigorous training and quality assurance processes so that marking is consistent.
Ultimately, this all means the final results are the best possible reflection of your childs’ abilities.
5. Consistent results
Our exams represent a consistent standard that has currency with universities and employers. OxfordAQA’s International GCSEs and A-levels are benchmarked to the same standard as the reformed qualifications in England.
Our globally-relevant syllabus content is closely aligned to the UK curriculum and our assessments emphasise the higher-order skills that are the foundation of the new UK exams.
This means that universities and employers can have confidence that your child can demonstrate the same advanced critical thinking skills as students in England if they take OxfordAQA qualifications.