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Report on the comparability of SGCSE and cambridge IGCSE: mathematics
The Examinations Council of Eswatini (ECESWA) developed the SGCSE qualification with Cambridge Assessment International Education (Cambridge). The Swaziland General Certificate of Secondary Education (SGCSE) qualifications enable learners to further their studies at tertiary institutions. Successful learners receive a certificate that carries both ECESWA and Cambridge logos and a statement that confirms that both qualifications are equivalent in terms of the standard and grade awarded to each qualification.
Cambridge Assessment International Education regularly conducts research to support claims of equivalence. This is done through comparability studies. In 2018, a comparability study conducted looked at the demand and awarding standard of SGCSE assessments in Mathematics against Cambridge International IGCSE Mathematics.
The aims of the study were to: 1) verify the extent to which the two qualifications are equivalent in relation to the demand and awarding standard 2) find out if there are disparities between the standards of SGCSE and the Cambridge IGCSE and 3) identify and prioritise ways to address any disparities between the standards of the SGCSE and the IGCSE.
The study employed both qualitative and quantitative approaches. The qualitative approach sought responses about the demand standard of the qualifications with the aim of ascertaining how the assessment objectives and assessment materials of the two qualifications compared, and how the demand of the question from both assessment was ranked. Eight judges were selected and with the help of the Scale of Cognitive Demands (CRAS) framework, the questionnaire was able to elicit information on the five dimensions of CRAS which are: complexity; resources; abstractness; task strategy and response strategy. The analysis used a quantitative approach which used a statistical Mann-Whitney U-test to analyse the rankings obtained by each judge.
The findings indicated that: 1) the demand of the questions for the Core and Extended tiers were broadly comparable in both qualifications. However, there was evidence that the response strategy was more demanding in the IGCSE than in the SGCSE 2) it was clear that there was a disparity in the awarding standard, with the quality of work required for Grades A and C in the Extended tiers being greater in the IGCSE than in the SGCSE. The study therefore recommended different ways of addressing the disparities identified in the response strategy demand standard and awarding standard of the SGCSE and the Cambridge IGCSE.
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