A level equivalence formula for 2011Â A level equivalence Efforts under way to revise formula
Karachi, Dec 14: The conversion formula for the General Certificate of Education (GCE) A level is likely to be revised from the next academic year, ie 2011, in the light of marathon sessions held during the past couple of years between the Inter-Board Committee of Chairmen (IBCC) and the Cambridge University, it was learnt.
A three-member delegation of the IBCC – a body of the federal ministry of education and whose certificates are binding and applicable throughout Pakistan – left for London on Saturday to discuss a number of proposals concerning the revision formula for GCE O level and A level with senior officials of British examining bodies, in general, and the Cambridge International Examination (CIE) system, in particular, at meetings scheduled for Dec 13 and 14.
The IBCC delegation comprising Board of Intermediate Education Karachi (BIEK) chairman Prof Anwar Ahmed Zai, Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISE) Lahore chairman Prof Ahmed Kashmiri and IBCC secretary Mohammad Ramzan Achakzai has been tasked by the ministry of education to have a detailed discussion with the British examining bodies and the CIE for different proposals aimed at taking a final decision concerning the IBCC conversion formula for GCE O level and A level exams.
These proposals formulated by the IBCC Equivalence Committee are as follows: IBCC may equate both Grade A* and Grade A to 85 numbers as considered in the IGCSE (before 2010) and Grade F and Grade G might be treated as fail; it may apply 7.5 per cent deduction of each subject on percentage uniform marks. For stance, if a student gets 88 uniform marks in English, the IBCC should equate it to 81 and the same pattern may apply on all subjects; it may equate the uniform marks envisaging the CIE Letter grade A*, A, B, C, D and E will be at par with IBCC equivalent marks of 90, 80, 70, 60, 50 and 40, respectively; IBCC may continue the Equivalency on the prescribed formula approved in the 115th Equivalence Committee meeting and in future the IBCC restrict the CIE to award A* to limited the number of students, who get 90 and above marks.
According to IBCC sources, the revision of the conversion formula for GCE O and A levels had earlier been discussed in various meetings of the IBCC and in the follow-up meetings the CIE in its reply had insisted that A*/A1 grade shall be equated to 90 marks.
However, it was during the 10th Inter-Provincial Education Ministers Conference (IPEMC) the matter was discussed on the request of the Sindh education department and it was agreed that if the United Kingdom examination bodies were ready to print actual marks instead of standardised percentage on the certificate, the IBCC/ministry of education might consider the same for conversion.
Later on the IBCC forum discussed a proposal with British examining bodies to use A-1/A* in GCE O level whereby for high achievers (1-2 per cent) of Pakistani students and A* would be equated to 90 marks and A to 85 marks, the sources said, adding that this was, however, subject to agreement between the education ministry (IBCC) and the UK exams bodies on specific percentage of A-1/A*.
Moreover, printing of percentages with O/A level grades being irrelevant and used in Pakistan only will have to be stopped for uniformity of their certificates while a limit in terms of a specific percentages of straight A-1/A* achievers would be required to determine so as to ensure equal opportunities for both the streams particularly in professional institutions of Pakistan, the sources added.It was further resolved at a meeting of the IBCC, British Council, CIE and Edexcel that CIE will introduce an A* for O level and A level in 2010. Edexcel will also introduce A-1/A* grade for O/A levels in 2010 and the IBCC on its part was to ensure that the overall number of candidates receiving these higher grades remains proportionate.
They said that though a consensus had already been reached among all the concerned examining bodies about the IBCC
conversion formula for GCE O and A levels, some observations which have come to light while going through the results of GCE O and A levels announced by CIE on Aug 12, 2010, will be raised by the IBCC delegation at their meetings with the CIE and other British examining bodies during their visit to the Cambridge University.
Listing the observations which had come to light in the wake of above-mentioned results of the CIE, the sources said these
include a) a large number of students got A* although CIE had agreed that A* would be awarded to limited students, b) CIE also print uniform marks on the statement of results of GCE O/A level in Pakistan, c) Edexel has also announced GCE O and A levels on Aug 20, 2010 but it did not introduce A* grade in GCE ‘O’ and ‘A’ level for June 2010.
It is, however, worth mentioning that all those students who passed their GCE O level in June 2010 had been admitted to first-year classes in the public sector colleges on the basis of grades they had obtained following the introduction of A* grade although issues concerning revision of the IBCC conversion formula in the light of the observations made by the IBCC following announcement of GCE O/A level results of 2010 by the CIE are yet to be sorted out and for which the IBCC delegation had gone to the Cambridge University.