'Maybe I'm not as good as I think I am.' How qualification users interpret their examination results

This study formed part of a two-year investigation into the reliability of public examination outcomes in England and the current paper explores participants’ narratives relating to one of the themes that emerged from the study of public perceptions of assessment reliability. It examines how individuals interpreted and rationalised their examination results, particularly those that failed to meet expectations, and discusses the impact that such results may have on individuals’ academic self-concept. Participants tended to internalise ‘blame’ for results that were poorer than expected by constructing explanations that focused on a perceived lack of preparation, ability or knowledge. These experiences appeared to have a negative impact on individuals' academic self-concept. Secondary school teacher participants shared experiences of marking, technical and standard setting errors, and were more aware than other qualification user groups of the external factors that can impact on assessment outcomes.

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