Analytic Quality Glossary


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Citation reference: Harvey, L., 2004-18, Analytic Quality Glossary, Quality Research International,

This is a dynamic glossary and the author would welcome any e-mail suggestions for additions or amendments. Page updated 24 January, 2018 , © Lee Harvey 2004–2018.


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Relative standard

core definition

A relative standard is one that adjusts the specification for each level of pass or success depending on the performance of the student cohort.

explanatory context

For example, the percentage of first-class degree may be kept constant and so the pass mark will vary from year to year. This contrasts with an absolute standard, where the pass mark is fixed and the proportion of first-class degrees varies each year.

analytical review

Wojtczak (2002) states:

A relative standard can be set at the mean performances of the candidates, or by defining the units of standard deviation from the mean. A relative standard may vary from year to year due to shifts in the ability of the group and may result in a fixed annual percentage of failing students, if the scores maintain a normal distribution across administrations.

associated issues

related areas

See also

absolute standard





standards monitoring


Wojtczak, A., 2002, Glossary of Medical Education Terms,, December, 2000, Revised February 2002, accessed 2 September 2012, page not available 30 December 2016.

copyright Lee Harvey 2004–2018

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