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It’s interesting to think for a moment about how these two might interact and, from there, about which tests these are, on how they are constructed, which knowledges and skills they aim to assess. If a grade 4 is fixed by a blend of historical precedent and expected outcomes for the cohort (ie “Comparable Outcomes”) but a grade 5 is set by benchmarking against international cohorts as measured by PISA or similar then a grade 4 will be a particularly odd (and novel) sort of grade indeed. The idea of a truly National Curriculum has long gone but it may not be so far-fetched to say a PISA™ curriculum is around the corner.
Ofqual proposes that the new GCSEs be influenced by a much larger system of assessment – “international tests”.
Either way, Ofqual proposes that our assessment system grow a step more complex – it is a conversation worth having indeed. Don’t forget the gherkin in your classroom when planning your Outstanding OfSTED lesson! Posted in CPD, MathematicsTagged with: GCSE Grades 1 to 9, GCSE grading scale, Maths GCSE 2015? Ofqual have today confirmed the new GCSE boundaries and their initial relationship to the current GCSE grades. The great news is that they listened to teachers' concerns over the equivalence of the lowest grades. Full feedback from our teachers regarding the new GCSE grades is available here: it's been updated to reflect Ofqual's confirmed plans. Ofqual have also clarified the position re international benchmarking - which is to say that, to all intents and purposes, schools can forget about this feature. Grade boundaries which are in between those that are set statistically, eg those between 4 and 7 (ie 5 and 6) will simply be the score gap between them divided by however many grades the score i nthe gap need to be shared between.
PS, if anyone's itnerested, the national standardisation test is also confirmed as going ahead (eg sample schools, with not all students doing all questions) but not used in 2017.
This is the student performance across 8 subjects and school performance across 8 subjects. Within Attainment 8 we will calculate how much progress a student has made by reviewing a pupil’s actual attainment compared to their estimated attainment from other statistical data for each student. The Progress 8 measure will be the ONLY measure used for floor standards (-0.5) and is averaged across all pupils completing GCSE’s in any ONE year.
Within the Progress 8 measure, the double weighting of English and Mathematics means that 40% of Mount Carmel RC High School’s Progress 8 score is determined by the results of these 2 core subjects. All external examinations will be in the form of linear exams meaning all exams will be sat at the end of Year 11. Internal assessment (controlled assessment) will either be removed completely or significantly reduced, depending on the subject.
The content of each subject’s syllabus will be reviewed and modifications made after a consultation period.
Pupils will study the new syllabus for English and Mathematics from September 2015 with the GCSE examination taking place in 2017.

All other subjects are in the process of being reviewed and updated with first delivery to the Year 10 cohort in September 2016, with examinations taking place in 2018. The current A*-G grading system will be replaced with a new nine-point scale (1-9), which will be phased in over the next few years.
The rationale behind this change is to provide greater differentiation of student outcomes, especially for the higher achievers given the new GCSE grade 9 (A**) and also students who achieve broadly ‘middle ranged’ GCSE grades.
For some pupils it is proposed that the proportion of students who achieve a grade ‘1’ in the new GCSE structure will be about the same as those who currently achieve a grade F or G.
It is important to remember 1-9 in 2017 is for the new English and Mathematics GCSE’s ONLY.
The exams regulator Ofqual today released its annual survey on the perception of A-levels and GCSEs. Lots of people were consulted, including: headteachers (281), teachers (697), youngsters (338), parents (259) and academics (253). The survey, carried out by YouGov, comes during the government’s overhaul of qualifications in its push to make them “more rigorous”. Breaking it down per group, seven out of ten headteachers agreed that “GCSEs are well understood” – however this was down from the 83 per cent of heads who agreed last year.
This could be down to the government’s GCSE reforms, which includes an overhaul of the grading system. The survey found nearly a third of youngsters were not aware of the new grading scale, compared to nearly half of parents. Also, only 59 per cent of headteachers surveyed knew that grade 5 was the lowest grade the Department for Education will consider a good pass. Two thirds of respondents said A-levels are well understood, and nearly nine in ten teachers regarded them as a trusted qualification. But half of employers did feel qualification reforms are needed – compared to just 26 per cent of parents and 37 per cent of heads. Overall, four out of ten people said the move to linear end of course assessment is a bad thing at A-level.
Breaking that down, more than half of heads were against the decoupling of AS and A-levels.
This appears to have caused lots of problems for universities, who have expressed their opposition to the changes. Ofqual figures reported by Schools Week last month also showed that despite all the upheaval, pupils were actually still plumping for AS-levels.
Also, when asked whether that system was fair, 42 per cent of heads disagreed – the largest of any of the groups surveyed. Commenting on today’s release, Sally Collier, Chief Regulator Ofqual, said: “In general, these data show patterns similar to previous years.
A lot depends on GCSE results and Ofqual might well be keen to find out what people think about how best to maintain standards as GCSEs exchange letter grades (for courses starting next year and assessed in 2017) in favour of numbers.

It is worth remembering a point made by Harry Torrance in a review of the assessment of the National Curriculum in England in 2003: “The larger the system of national assessment envisaged and implemented, the simpler the testing regime must be. This will have an effect on what students do in school though quite how, it is harder to say.
This will effect all Mathematical teaching from 2015 and Maths GCSE assessments starting in summer 2017. One of the major reforms is the GCSE grading mechanism. At the consultation attended by Schoolzone, we put our teachers' views (gathered via our research programme) very strongly. For schools wanting to realign their current assessment schemes, they can at least do so for grades current grades G, C and A and the others are simply equal intervals between - but note that the others will not be very reliable - extra care needed with predicted grades.
This is how the entire cohort and their attainment compared to the average across the whole cohort in eight subjects. This will be similar to a GCSE grade A** which is recognition of exceptional performance and will only be achievable by the students who currently achieve the ‘top end’ of a grade A*. This is because the new grade ‘5’ will be set about two thirds of a GCSE grade higher than the current requirement for a grade C.
This means that the same proportion of students who currently achieve a grade C will achieve a grade ‘4’ in 2017 and beyond. But its survey has revealed that roughly a third of both parents and youngsters were unaware there was even a route to appeal exam results. It is reassuring that GCSEs and A-levels continue to be trusted qualifications, and that employers and those in higher education believe students’ results are reliable measures of ability.
But, if we assume intentions translate unproblematically into actions then these extra grades above a C-equivalent Grade 4 will wash back into teaching and learning: a range of practices and discourses will develop, so the idea presumably goes, that bring about real improvement in assessment outcomes. The traditional allocation of A* to G is being replaced with the new GCSE grading scale of the numbers 1 to 9. The main one was that if the new grade 1 was pegged at the old grade F, all those students currently targeting a grade G would have nothing to aim for. If the lower bound of our confidence level is greater than zero (0) this means our school has achieved greater than average progress compared to other pupils nationally. But there are kinds of teaching and types of skill practice that would return higher scores on a PISA test – these are not ones that I would want to teach nor have my children taught. We also pointed out that Ofqual had stated that the new GCSEs would be accesible to all the same students as previously, so it had to include grade G. And you test a theory before you put it into practice, especially on this scale, don’t you?

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