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Developing and applying level descriptors

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Level descriptors are developed and applied by many educators, for example, in mark schemes and Credit Accumulation and Transfer Schemes. Level descriptors can be helpful for informing students about what they need to do to achieve different levels of achievement. But what are the best methods of developing level descriptors and ensuring that educators and students have a shared understanding of the level descriptors? It is concluded that level descriptors are preferably written from empirical evidence, to describe the achievement of average students at each level and to exemplify rather than define performance. Additionally, a shared understanding of the level descriptors and, in some cases, consistent application of the level descriptors might be facilitated by developing a community of practice where level descriptors are discussed in relation to students' work and associated decisions, e.g., assessment decisions.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate, UK

Publication date: October 1, 2003

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