CCEA Publishes Information on the Standardisation Process for Summer 2020 Qualifications Grades

Published: 07/08/2020, 4:00pm
Statistical Standardisation

Today, CCEA has published information on this year’s standardisation process. The short animation video, available online at, provides an overview of the process and the steps that have been taken to produce grades in these exceptional circumstances.

“Fairness, maintaining standards and enabling students to progress to further study or employment -have all been key drivers in our work to deliver grades for this summer’s qualifications. The cancellation of examinations required a rapid review of the traditional awarding process to develop an alternative solution. The alternative awarding arrangements resulted in a significant contribution from the teaching profession and a different standardisation process by CCEA. Throughout this process we have provided information of each step of the alternative awarding process, and today’s publication is another step of the process” said Justin Edwards, CCEA Chief Executive.

In March 2020, the Minister of Education, Peter Weir MLA, announced the cancellation of the summer 2020 examination series as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. CCEA was instructed to implement an alternative awarding process which would involve teacher professional judgement and statistical standardisation models.

Mr. Edwards continued “The data supplied by the schools and colleges in June was based on a wide range of evidence including coursework, mock exams, homework and other previous student achievements. Once submitted to CCEA it then became our job to standardise that data by using a range of additional evidence such as student prior attainment. In line with every year, standardisation is an essential part of the qualifications process to ensure that every student is treated fairly and that standards are aligned across schools and colleges. The aim is to reflect performances seen in a normal exam series.”

The standardisation process this year involved three statistical models, one for each qualification. The models were developed in co-operation with academics and assessment specialists. Rigorous testing combined with internal and external peer reviews validated each model. It was also important that the process adopted by CCEA aligned with similar processes in England and Wales to ensure consistency of standards.

 “We are confident that the approach we have taken is the best solution under these exceptional circumstances. Every stage has been checked and rechecked. Expert statisticians and education professionals have advised or reviewed and tested every aspect of the process. This summer’s grades will have the same value and recognition as those issued previously and in the future thus enabling every student to compete on a level playing field whatever they choose to do next,” continued Mr. Edwards.

To view the animation, which provides an overview of the Standardisation Process for Summer 2020 Qualifications Grades, visit the links below.

Note to Editors

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