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What are the Cambridge Primary Assessment Criteria?

The Primary Programme is divided into academic year groups called Stages with the end of Primary being Stage 6.  The Progression Tests, our formative assessments for Stages 3, 4, 5 and 6, have a similar grading scale to Checkpoint i.e. 0.0 to 6.0, however as each year group has its own scale it is presented in the following way:

3_1, 3_2, 3_3, 3_4, 3_5, 3_6

4_1, 4_2, 4_3, 4_4, 4_5, 4_6

5_1, 5_2, 5_3, 5_4, 5_5, 5_6

6_1, 6_2, 6_3, 6_4, 6_5, 6_6 

(Also, the Lower Secondary Programme follows the same grading scale for Stages 7 and 8.) 

If a candidate achieves 3_3 at Stage 3, they would be expected to achieve 4_3 at Stage 4 and 5_3 at Stage 5, etc. If this same candidate achieved say 4_4 at Stage 4, their progress would be above what was expected.  This grading system is also adopted for the summative Primary tests, i.e. the externally moderated Achievement Tests.  Unlike Cambridge Checkpoint, we cannot say that we have a typical 'average' Cambridge International Primary Programme candidate because the Primary Programme is still relatively new and continues to grow at a great pace; therefore, as yet, we do not have a stable cohort.  Within your own school you will need to monitor the individual progress of candidates from year to year and to compare their progress with those of other candidates within their cohort and previous cohorts.  To assist you to do this for the Progression Tests, you can produce reports using the Analysis Tool on the Cambridge International Primary Programme website.  

When the Cambridge International Primary Programme was created, the original grades were set for all Stages according to the results of the developmental international cohort, and this created the benchmark grades. (The test development and grading is explained in the attached document which is also available on the Primary website). For the externally moderated Achievement Tests, we continue to grade according to the original benchmark.  In contrast to Cambridge Checkpoint, conventional grading procedures are used to grade the Cambridge International Primary Programme Achievement Tests.  To explain how grades are determined and the grading process: 

Key grade thresholds at component level

To gain a qualification in a particular syllabus, candidates need to be assessed in one or more ‘components’ - for the Cambridge International Primary Programme, these are Papers 1 and 2 (plus Paper 3 in Mathematics).  For each component in turn the candidate is awarded a total mark, which reflects their performance on that component based on a pre-determined mark scheme.  Once the distribution of candidates’ marks for the component is known, ‘key’ grade thresholds (or boundaries) are then determined – e.g. the threshold for a Grade 6_3 is the minimum mark that a candidate would need to score to achieve a Grade 6_3 on that component.  The key grades for the Cambridge International Primary Programme are: 6_1, 6_2, 6_3, 6_4, 6_5, 6_6.

In determining grade thresholds, the objective is to maintain the same standard from one examination series to the next, i.e. to set a threshold for which the performance in the current series can be deemed equivalent to that achieved by candidates at the threshold for the same grade in the previous series.  Grade thresholds are determined using a combination of statistical information and professional judgment of the principal examiners for the component and other components within the syllabus.  Grade thresholds are not necessarily kept the same from series to series; for example, if the component is considered to have been more difficult than in the previous series, threshold marks lower than those used in the previous series might be considered.

Key grade thresholds at syllabus level

Having determined the key grade thresholds for each component, these are then aggregated to produce key grade thresholds for the overall syllabus.  A grade threshold mark at syllabus level is the sum of the threshold marks for each component, taking into account the weighting applied to each component.

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