GCSE top grade boundaries

(10 Posts)
stubiff Thu 08-Sep-16 13:12:13

For those interested in the new top grade boundaries, please see here.
www.gov.uk/government/news/how-the-top-grades-will-be-awarded-in-new-gcses-in-2017

yeOldeTrout Thu 08-Sep-16 14:18:32

I can't even make sense of that.
I could understand normalising the grade distribution (O-level style).
Or grade = threshold for knowledge (previous GCSE style).
This seems 2 b a weird mash up of both systems!

tiggytape Thu 08-Sep-16 18:18:15

It seems to say that if you would have got an A or an A* under the old system, you will now get a 7 or an 8 or a 9.

And the less clear part:
Does it mean that instead of bluntly awarding the top 20% of A and A* pupils (now the 7 and above group) a grade 9, they will instead tweak the number of grade 9's so that they continue to reflect the differing proportions of A* grades by subject (GCSE Latin for example traditionally has a huge % of pupils gaining an A* whereas in subjects like maths and English - it would be lower)?

hesterton Thu 08-Sep-16 18:21:51

Latin gets high marks because it attracts academic students who will a hive high grades across the board. Why would they choose Latin now? It may be their only B even with the same effort and ability as other subjects.

tiggytape Thu 08-Sep-16 18:25:19

One of the consultation documents outlines it a bit more:

"The tailored approach uses a formula that would result in, across all subjects, close to 20% of those awarded a grade 7 or above being awarded a grade 9.
The formula used to achieve this outcome is: Percentage of those achieving at least grade 7 who should be awarded grade 9 = 7% + 0.5× (percentage of candidates awarded grade 7 or above).
This differs from our previously announced ‘20% approach’ which would have meant that,for each qualification, the top 20% of those who got grade 7 or above would get a grade 9."

tiggytape Thu 08-Sep-16 18:35:10

It won't be a B though hesteron. A grade B now becomes a grade 5 or 6.
If they would have got at least an A under the old system, they'll get at least a grade 7 under the new one.

The real issue looks like maths. Fewer pupils will get the top grade now in relation to subjects like English Language plus they've made the course much more difficult - adding some A Level content to the curriculum. Currently 8.8% of pupils get A* in maths. Under the new system only 3.7% will get a grade 9 (it would have been 4.2% of not for today's tweaking announcement).

hesterton Thu 08-Sep-16 18:40:28

Really useful, thanks Tiggy.

tiggytape Thu 08-Sep-16 18:55:24

I think it's going to take some getting used to hester for everyone

I doubt for example many pupils are going to get a string of grade 9's in the same way that some got a string of A* grades under the old system.
We'll all have to get used to a grade 7 or 8 being really good, a grade 9 being exceptional.

High attaining children may feel disappointed not to be able to have all top, top grades but I think it is hard for the others too.

A grade 6 is equivalent of a high grade B but doesn't quite have the same ring to it somehow (getting a 6 when 9 is the highest doesn't sound as good as a top grade B just a few points off an A)

And a pass (grade 5) will be set at the old 'low grade B - high grade C' standard but, again, it doesn't sound as good (scraping a B grade sounds so much better than being awarded a grade 5 where grade 9 is the highest).
It will also mean that those who used to scrape a low C and therefore a pass will, in future years, not be deemed to have passed well at all. A low grade C will be a grade 4 which won't be classed as the target pass grade.

yeOldeTrout Thu 08-Sep-16 19:30:39

3.7 or 4.2, they both round to 4. <shrug>

tiggytape Thu 08-Sep-16 19:36:25

I think it is a difference of around 3000 pupils so them at least it might be a disappointment.

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