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am I being pedantic about this?

(42 Posts)
bigmouthstrikesagain Tue 06-Feb-18 13:39:46

I have my Y9 sons report in front of me and it has indicator grades/ current attainment grades for the subjects - obviously important as ds is choosing his GCSE options.Now as they are no numerical I am finding it a bit odd that they are still using a minus sign as part of the grading.

So for an example they would put 6- which is equivalent to B-? But if you are using numerical grades surely it should be 5.5!?? as a negative number 6- would be way below zero?!? Obviously I am overthinking it and I do understand what they are putting - but If they are getting rid of letter grades then they should not be using minus signs still. In my opinion it is a half arsed approach to something that has been a massive arseache already!

link explaining number grades and the letter equivalents for info

Ishouldntbesolucky Tue 06-Feb-18 13:44:29

I see what you mean, but of course 5.5 isn't possible as a grade. 6- would indicate that student should get a 6, but only just. And if he/she doesn't do enough work then a 5 is more likely.

I would view it as the school doing their best to give parents information at a time when no-one knows what's going on!

Pengggwn Tue 06-Feb-18 13:44:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Pengggwn Tue 06-Feb-18 13:44:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bigmouthstrikesagain Tue 06-Feb-18 13:45:11

"They are now numerical grades" - is what I should have put.

My point stands though - If they are using a - reportedly - more rigorous grading scheme - using numbers - there should be no need for minus and plus as well... a niggle I know - but does anyone see my point?

bigmouthstrikesagain Tue 06-Feb-18 13:47:17

Fair enough - I am possibly being pedantic - but is there going to be minus grades in the actual GCSE results if not then the grade they would get should be used with explanation if required in the text of the report.

Pengggwn Tue 06-Feb-18 13:48:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

falsepriest Tue 06-Feb-18 13:50:27

None of it has been adequately explained to everyone.

There won't be +/- grades at exam results time, but they're using them now as an indicator of whether your child is on a "high" or "low" grade... if they do that extra bit as a + they might go up a grade, or if showing a - and they don't improve then they might slip a grade.

SweetMoon Tue 06-Feb-18 13:50:58

Its not -6 though, its 6-. Which is basically lower than a 6 but higher than a 5+. They seem to go something like this 6-, 6, 6+, 7-, 7, 7+ etc. No idea in relation to the letter grades but if a 6 is a B for example, then a 6- would be a B- and a 6+ would be a B+?

Pengggwn Tue 06-Feb-18 13:52:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SandunesAndRainclouds Tue 06-Feb-18 13:54:27

Ours are explained as something along the lines of

6- working at this level but not secure in their knowledge
6= working securely at this level
6+ working securely and showing ability to expand, explain and rationalise.

needmysleep75 Tue 06-Feb-18 13:54:36

Are these his KS3 levels which are different to GCSE levels although both numeric just to confuse everyone!! Try googling KS3 levels for some help, is there not a sheet from the school explaining the levels? Our school does, if not point out to them they need to include one.

tiggytape Tue 06-Feb-18 13:57:32

The actual GCSE grades will just be whole numbers.

If the grade boundary for Grade 6 is 57%-67% then a student achieving 67% that exam will get just the same grade as the one who scrapes 57%

However, at this stage it is useful to know which end of the scale you are at to move forwards (it won't be helpful in the final GCSEs to know because a 6 is a 6 whether you barely scrape it or are very securely a 6 and unless an error in marking is found, remarks for being close the boundary are also not going to be so common).

Apart from the fact that the exams are brand new and the grade boundaries are complete and utter guesswork so not in anyway accurate to even one decimal place, the + or - is an entirely separate and extra piece of information - a shorthand way to tell you the security of the grade achieved so far.

If you are at 6- stage, you need to work hard to make sure you actually even achieve that grade. If you are at the 6+ end of the scale then you can relax somewhat knowing you are a secure 6 and (ideally) work a bit harder to reach a Grade 7. It isn't designed to be a completely accurate attainment grade.

bigmouthstrikesagain Tue 06-Feb-18 14:09:36

Definitely is confusing and not universal it seems.

I am happy to be set right on this as I am trying to make sure I have a good understanding so I can help ds.

The minus signs have not been explained or referred to in the cover letter. More effort is put into explaining the effort grades which is a letter based scheme but not alphabetical.hmm

All good fun. Anyway I understand what the numbers signify and I know they are based on current and indicated (from an average based on KS2 results and outcomes - that students with similar SATS scores have attained). So if the minus indicates an insecure 4/5/6 or whatever, then I can go along with that. But clearly my sons school just needs to put an extra line in the cover letter to explain why they are using them so there is no ambiguity.

Pengggwn Tue 06-Feb-18 14:11:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

falsepriest Tue 06-Feb-18 14:12:37

The matriarch hath spoken!

bigmouthstrikesagain Tue 06-Feb-18 14:16:21

Have you never heard the phrase 'there is no such thing as a silly question' Peng? Certainly there is ambiguity here if it is a question of secure 6 or nearly 6? Or am I not allowed to ask for clarification without checking with you first in case I come across as hard of thinking?

SweetMoon Tue 06-Feb-18 14:17:41

I expect you would Pengggwn, seeing as you're a teacher.

needmysleep75 Tue 06-Feb-18 14:30:04

I would check with the school if these are current attainment levels or GCSEs predictions. As there is no way they can predict what someone may get in 2 1/2 yrs times with all the changes going on with the GCSEs at the moment. Its pure guess work for this years year 11s at the moment.

Schroedingerscatagain Tue 06-Feb-18 14:31:16

Ds’s school use a similar system number eg 5e 5s 5m emerging secure and mastery which seems a reasonable way to grade the sub levels

Pengggwn Tue 06-Feb-18 14:36:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

meredintofpandiculation Tue 06-Feb-18 15:21:19

Your problem is you are thinking that they are use Real (in the mathematical sense) Numbers, rather like you'd read off a ruler. So 6 is a point on the ruler, and if you're a bit below 6, then you'll be 5.5, or 5.73 or something.

But actually they're using Integers, ie whole numbers. And there is nothing between 5 and 6. So they have to use 6- to mean not quite 6.

Which is a bit silly as they're using a discontinuous scale (Integers) to measure a continuous variable (attainment) so you are absolutely right to feel the oddness of it.

bigmouthstrikesagain Tue 06-Feb-18 16:24:03

You get me merewink yes!

This slight feeling of wrongess is compounded by the fact that the GCSE marking scheme is based on a percentage range of marks for each number grade. So theoretically you could use 5.75 or whatever to indicate exactly where on the range between 5 and 6 a pupil was.

But that too would be meaningless as for the year 9s at this stage, there is not enough data to base scores on really. It is just an indication of where the pupil is currently and a prediction of a possible result in 2 1/2 years.

Pengggwn Tue 06-Feb-18 16:29:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bigmouthstrikesagain Tue 06-Feb-18 16:43:31

Yes I get that, Peng. I really do. I think my issue as mere has pointed out is that the change from letters to numbers has no added value. You might as well use emoticons. So what was the point? I suppose my musing was philosophical while you are getting grumpy at my dumb question. But still trying to answer, thank you flowers

I was pondering the utility of number grades ... in another 30 years maybe one of my dc will be pondering why their dd has only got 😃- instead of 🤑+ in their latest school report. Could happen.

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