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TV advert to explain new 9-1 GCSE doesn't mention new pass grade.

(58 Posts)
noblegiraffe Mon 06-Mar-17 22:06:16

www.tes.com/news/school-news/breaking-news/ofqual-ramps-publicity-amid-confusion-over-numerical-gcse-grades

Ofqual has been forced to launch TV and Facebook ads explaining the new GCSE grades after a survey showed that most people didn't know know anything about them, including 84% of HR professionals.

However, in a bizarre decision, the advert mentions that the proportion of kids getting a 4 and above will be the same as that who previously got a C or above but doesn't explain that the 5 will be the new good pass grade.

Why are they covering this up? Are they going to backtrack? Trying to avert panic?

Why are teachers around the country telling kids that 5 is the new pass and in future this is what employers will be looking for, when the government are not using this presumably expensive one-off opportunity to tell employers this?

mumsneedwine Mon 06-Mar-17 22:25:40

I am telling my kids not listen to anything about new grades. Poor things are stressed enough what with having to tackle stuff that used to be on 2nd year of A level. It's total crap - sorry but I'm sitting here marking papers for year 11 maths and knowing I'm going to have to try again to explain inverse functions and iteration - with 15 year olds. For the first time ever I'm considering leaving next year - I really can't keep doing this angry

Onceuponatime21 Mon 06-Mar-17 22:37:19

So I think that DfE want to encourage businesses and colleges etc to use grade 4 as the same benchmark / min requirement for recruitment. But businesses and colleges are all going "well yes, we accepted Cs, but actually those with low Cs struggled, so let's up it to 5." So it's not the government doing it per se, but actually it was a pretty obvious consequence of the change. And just suggesting that businesses and colleges don't change to using Grade five is clearly not going to stop them making the change.

noblegiraffe Mon 06-Mar-17 23:15:08

Thing is, it's going to be a grade 5 for the league tables so while the DfE are clearly going to take the 5 as the new pass for school accountability measures, for some reason they haven't communicated that.

JamDonutsRule Tue 07-Mar-17 00:55:54

I think it's going to be a 5, because the whole point of this massive cock up reorganisation was to bring standards 2/3rds of a grade up so we were in line with affluent countries in the PISA testing.

I think what we are seeing now is the transition period when the govt would like a 4 to also count as a good pass, in the hope that achievement will have risen in a few years at which point a 5 can become a good pass.

somehow I doubt achievement will rise

sashh Tue 07-Mar-17 06:45:51

I'm going to have to try again to explain inverse functions and iteration - with 15 year olds

Part of me is thinking, "so what? We learned it at 15" but a couple of weeks ago I was in a special school. Students who have learning disabilities attempting work that last year would have got them a B grade and now they have to learn it for a predicted grade bellow 'pass'.

Then I remember that yes I did do iteration and matrices and other stuff not done until A Level, but that only a minority of children took the exams let alone passed them.

WhoKn0wsWhereTheTimeG0es Tue 07-Mar-17 06:48:18

Speaking as a parent (oldest child is yr 8 so not chosen options yet or had any info from school) who has only heard about this change from MN, it's bad enough trying to remember that 9 is the highest not lowest grade let alone get your head round the pass cutoff confusion.

timeforabrewnow Tue 07-Mar-17 06:51:36

No doubt hedging their bets.

MutePoint Tue 07-Mar-17 06:54:46

DD's school are saying that 4 is equivalent to a C hmm

timeforabrewnow Tue 07-Mar-17 06:55:46

I failed my maths o level abysmally - but managed to get a Grade 1 CSE which served as an O level pass at that time.

My year 11 DS has battled with Maths for some of his time at secondary school and has just sat his 3 Maths GCSE mock papers. I think the majority of his class has done very poorly indeed. This is at a good school, with an excellent teacher. sad

mummytime Tue 07-Mar-17 07:03:24

We went to the National Apprenticeship show yesterday, and actually quite a few businesses are accepting the 4 grade as a benchmark for entry. Not demanding 5s, which surprised one of my DC.

There was also a news story yesterday which points out that relatively few of those children who fail to get a pass in English and Maths first time, are actually obtaining these grades on resits. And the huge strain colleges and schools are under with all these resits. They don't have enough teachers for English and Maths, and enormous numbers are sitting these exams, so they are having to provide or hirer huge venues (and large extra costs of First aiders etc) for all those sitting the exams.

OddBoots Tue 07-Mar-17 07:26:00

I'm not too sure what the answer is really, the new GCSEs have been pushed through too quickly for it to be fair to the first years of students taking them.

The curriculum has changed in the other key stages too (at least down to KS2, I don't know much about KS1 at the moment) so younger children will be studying harder stuff for years before taking these GCSEs. The children in KS4 now have just been thrown into it, they don't have this background, they (and their teachers) have been expected to cram all all the new stuff into a short space of time.

It only seems fair that for those students a grade 4 is a good pass and it allows them to move on in their education, it is not their fault that the rug has been pulled out under them so fast and so hard. It will still be unfair for them, this grade 4 will not hold its value in future years when the children behind them go through, I'm not sure what can be done to sort that.

It's going to be tough in a different way for the current Y9 and possibly Y8 as (at least when looking at retake requirements for English and Maths) that is when the grade 5 becomes the good pass, they will have had more time to learn the new stuff not not as much as those coming after them so it is still a steep learning curve.

I think over these next 5 years or so there will be an even greater divide between the children whose families can afford tutoring and extra support and the families who can't.

troutsprout Tue 07-Mar-17 07:32:33

I read that mummytime
And how many more pupils will need to resit them next year with these harder GCSEs !

noblegiraffe Tue 07-Mar-17 07:50:26

It only seems fair that for those students a grade 4 is a good pass and it allows them to move on in their education

Here's the problem. A 4 isn't a good pass for these students. A 5 is a good pass and they will have been deemed to not have passed in the school accountability measures.

The government has said that these students only need to get a 4 to not be required to resit in sixth form. I've seen from threads on here that some colleges are anticipating that this will not be good enough for these kids further down the line and are requiring resits for 4s. I've also seen that some sixth forms are requiring 5s to do course that would have previously accepted a C.

It's a mess with poorly communicated expectations.

LooseAtTheSeams Tue 07-Mar-17 09:29:36

I wonder if the ad is a sign they're going to back down? The resit policy is a complete mess. I'm not surprised parents and employers are confused!
The 4 really should be the pass level full stop. The content is harder so it's a fair level. Also the 9 isn't a level you can really define - it's set after the results are in and a small percentage (really small for mainstream subjects) is selected from the level 8s. So really the scale is 1-8 with a kind of bonus grade. Of course a level and degree courses will set their own requirements but they do anyway.

noblegiraffe Tue 07-Mar-17 10:04:14

The new head of the ASCL, Geoff Barton has also criticised the government for the lack of clarity on this issue. He says that applications for his school's sixth form are down as students don't think they will get the required grades. And what's really frustrating is that because teachers have no idea about grade boundaries for the new maths and English GCSEs, some students will be told that they will not get the grades, and will be put off from applying for sixth form, when actually they will get the grades.

www.tes.com/news/school-news/breaking-news/incoming-ascl-general-secretary-warns-confusion-over-new-gcse-grading

Clavinova Tue 07-Mar-17 11:54:49

I'm going to have to try again to explain inverse functions and iterations - with 15 year olds
What set are you teaching? I was under the impression from a previous thread that maths teachers didn't attempt to teach all the A* material from the syllabus to every set even though they were sitting the higher paper. There has to be harder material at the top end to separate the 8s and 9s. For what it's worth DS1, 14/Year 10 is currently going over inverse functions for the so called 'easier' IGCSE maths exam this summer. His class are finding the work challenging.

portico Tue 07-Mar-17 11:58:56

Will the first cohort to sit Eng/Maths 2017, and the first cohort to sit the rest in 2018 get an easier ride in terms of grades. I am hoping the boards go easy in the first year

noblegiraffe Tue 07-Mar-17 12:01:40

The same proportion of students who got a C or above will get a 4 or above for the first year. However the good pass grade will be a 5, so significantly more pupils will fail.

ThornyBird Tue 07-Mar-17 12:09:25

DC1 is in yr11 so new English/maths cohort. We went to a college open day at the weekend and were looking at the new A levels.

Interestingly, the tutors were all talking about required grades in term of C's and B'c. When asked about numerical grades, they weren't sure what the cut off for A level is - and this was looking at maths, English lit, History and the sciences!

DC2 is yr9 and will be the 2nd year of all new GCSEs. They are the first year of 3 year GCSEs at their school. Parent evening last week and the teachers are admitting they are not sure how things will work out yet as it has been pushed through so fast.

Makes me relieved I got out years ago (although I do some teaching for further ed vocational courses). Thank you to those of you trying to make sense of it all for my babies! starflowersgin

tiggytape Tue 07-Mar-17 12:47:04

Will the first cohort to sit Eng/Maths 2017, and the first cohort to sit the rest in 2018 get an easier ride in terms of grades. I am hoping the boards go easy in the first year

Sort of. As noble says, the exam grading will ensure that the same proportion of students who usually get a C grade will get at least a grade 4.

However, the trouble is that a grade 4 won't be considered a good pass (or potentially even a proper pass) after these first couple of years.

So therefore, students are going to need at least a grade 5 in their future lives and careers to be considered to have properly passed these GCSE exams and that's the equivalent of an old high C or low B. More will therefore 'fail' than before.

If you went back a year and told all of the students who got a low C grade at English GCSE or just about scraped a pass in maths by 1 point that they hadn't in fact passed and were now reclassified as having failed the exam, there would be a lot of students affected. That in essence is what's going to happen to the current Year 11's and younger pupils in the system.

DoctorDonnaNoble Tue 07-Mar-17 12:57:17

It's a bloody mess. The whole thing. It's the worst change I've come across in my time of teaching. Maybe if they'd taken the time over it properly then people would know what is going on. If we're moving towards students remaining in education until 18 (which we are) then it is surely essential to do a full review on education at this level. Are GCSEs necessary when everyone remains in school? I believe such a change was recommended; but ignored.

noblegiraffe Tue 07-Mar-17 17:29:49

When O-levels switched to GCSEs there was about a 10 year lead in period. Some kids sat both O-levels and GCSEs so achievement could be compared. Syllabuses were thought through and teachers had time to get to grips with them.

This. This is shit. And it didn't have to be. Syllabuses thrown together on the back of a fag packet based on the whim of an ignorant minister. Textbooks being rushed to print before everything was signed off now unusable because of major changes. Teachers having to teach new stuff without time for training or preparation. A confusing grade system that has had amendments made to how the grades will be allocated even as recently as a few months back. Horrendous mocks that have left kids shell shocked and their confidence in tatters. Schools that have no idea how their pupils will perform. Kids that don't know how they'll perform so they can't plan for their next steps. Sixth forms that don't know how to set entry criteria. Misunderstandings about what will even constitute a pass grade.

Try putting that on an advert, eh, Ofqual?

Devilishpyjamas Tue 07-Mar-17 17:39:48

My poor son is in year 10. I was a bit shocked by some of the things I heard at parents evening from teachers but nobel giraffes message above explains that.

WhoKn0wsWhereTheTimeG0es Tue 07-Mar-17 17:39:54

So the current year 8, who sat the old KS2 SATS and missed the start of the new NC in primary school will be the first year who will have to get 5s.

I have a yr 8 DC and one in yr 6 who has covered WAY more at primary school than her older sibling so a 5 for the year 8 one is going to be a massively harder task than it will be for the younger one, the whole thing does seem very badly thought out.

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