Send me your old O level, CSE, GCSE and A level science and maths papers, any format, any condition, email firstname.lastname@example.org, fax 020 7117 3593, snailmail 119 Farringdon Rd EC1R 3ER. Anything more than ten years old gratefully received. Ideally I’d like the accompanying marking schemes, where possible, but I’ll take anything you’ve got!
I’m cracking on at work stuff today, but the GCSE results are out, and the inevitable squabbles are ensuing over the dumbing down of education.
It occurs to me that this is a very simple and familiar problem: on the reliability and validity of a test.
Test reliablility refers to the degree to which a test is consistent and stable in measuring what it is intended to measure. Most simply put, a test is reliable if it is consistent within itself and across time.
Test validity refers to the degree to which the test actually measures what it claims to measure. Test validity is also the extent to which inferences, conclusions, and decisions made on the basis of test scores are appropriate and meaningful.
Now clearly any thoughts or data you might have addressing the question of reliability, of consistency across time, is going to be confounded by the fact that the mission has changed: examiners are quite free about the fact that they aim to measure “different stuff” these days. Science education has been made into a bit of a joke, for example, and in many schoools they’ve stopped doing proper science GCSE’s in favour of “double science”.
However there are interesting things that can still be collected, and I need your help.
Firstly, we can look at whether, even when the mission has remained the same over time, the questions have remained similar.
But more than that, we can construct a narrative that people can simply experience for themselves. Can you believe I just said that? What I mean is: can people – and I know a lot of you are science teachers – send me examples of old science and maths papers which I can post, in the public interest? Either whole papers, or silly examples? Is there a good archive of old O Level science papers we can compare them to?
My fax number is 020 7117 3593, you can bung stuff at me anonymously or in the interests of your own microfame, at your choice, and if other people have blogged on this, do let me know. I’m happy to hold off writing on it until next week if it means doing it properly, and hang timeliness in the name of having something really interesting to say, but it would be good if I could bash it out tonight.
If we get a lot I’ll bung them all up in a nice database for everyone to see.
Almost nothing more than ten years old coming in, if you can help, or know someone who can, please do get in touch, or just bung the papers over. There’s almost nothing online more than five or ten years old, except for this..