This paper reports some facts about grading standards across a varied sample of 16 countries participating in the 2003 OCSE-PISA Survey. Our main finding is that in all countries except Ireland and the USA there is conspicuous heterogeneity in standards across schools (Table 3, Figures 1 & 2). In most of the countries where heterogeneity is present a grading-on-a-curve practice emerges, with grading standards increasing with average competence of the school's students (Table 4, Figures 3 & 4). Where this phenomenon is more pronounced, it may be related to existence of a tracking (as opposed to comprehensive) school system (Table 5, Figure 5).
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