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The higher / foundation tier cock up

(33 Posts)
Cathpot Mon 20-Aug-18 20:57:24

A friend just sent me this article www.tes.com/news/ofqual-saves-wrongly-entered-gcse-pupils-failure
which makes me feel vindicated for all the ranting I’ve been doing about how I felt there wasn’t enough info to chose the tiers properly and higher tier was essentially a gamble on grade boundaries, but also very sorry for the kids put through the wrong exam.

OP’s posts: |
noblegiraffe Tue 21-Aug-18 01:14:39

Oh well done Ofqual for ‘saving’ pupils from those useless teachers who entered them for the ‘wrong’ tier.

FFS teachers have been working their arses off for these kids, tier of entry decisions are never easy but for a totally new exam where standards aren’t set and everyone is blundering about in the dark?

17% for a 4 on higher tier maths last year. Surely with grade boundaries that low it’s understandable why some science teachers thought higher tier the better bet for borderline kids. There have been sleepless nights about tier of entry decisions no doubt and to paint teachers as the problem here is appalling reporting.

Cathpot Tue 21-Aug-18 09:21:02

I note that they are refusing to say how many pupils this involved- it must have been a sizeable number for this sort of last minute panic. Now I’m wondering what this means for the foundation grade boundaries, part of the reason lots of colleagues went for higher was that foundation grade boundaries seemed disproportionately hard. I have never been this nervous before results day.

OP’s posts: |
JufusMum Tue 21-Aug-18 09:22:50

I don't understand this at all - a 3-3 is still not a pass so how does this help anyone?

noblegiraffe Tue 21-Aug-18 09:30:37

A 3-3 is a pass, anything above a U is a pass.

The waters were muddied for the new GCSE with the whole standard pass and strong pass thing, but it all started with the C grade cliff-edge on the old GCSE. GCSEs were designed to be accessible to the majority of students, and thus be able to be passed by the majority of students. The C was supposed to be equivalent to an old O-level pass, not to be the GCSE pass grade.

noblegiraffe Tue 21-Aug-18 09:39:23

In maths before the first 9-1 sitting Edexcel ran a national mock where schools taking Edexcel all sat the same mock GCSE, the scores were then all sent off to Edexcel and analysed to show the national picture. Once the results were in, Edexcel sent everyone an analysis that basically said OMG people were are in trouble, FGS can you switch pupils from higher to foundation. They recommended that 25% of students who had been entered for higher on the mock be switched to foundation. This helped with tiering decisions and I think in the real thing there weren’t that many students who fell off the bottom on higher.

I don’t think Science teachers had this sort of info? What it shows is that Michael Gove was a fucking idiot. The changes should have been piloted to avoid situations like this, and he was told that.

JufusMum Tue 21-Aug-18 09:42:45

noble but...for instance my DD has to get an average of a 5.5 for Sixth Form, so if she gets a 3-3 in Science it's not going to count is it?

noblegiraffe Tue 21-Aug-18 09:45:36

Why would it not count? Unless they specify that they need a strong pass in all subjects then an average points requirement means you can get a couple of duff results so long as you get good ones to pull your average up.

noblegiraffe Tue 21-Aug-18 09:46:50

Erk, I mean duff and good in terms of the requirements. Obviously there are students for whom a 3-3 would be an excellent result worth celebrating.

JufusMum Tue 21-Aug-18 09:47:27

noble probably a bad example in my case as we have an average score requirement but say for instance our local college says 5 gcse passes - is that 3-3 a pass or not? I thought a 4 was a pass?

noblegiraffe Tue 21-Aug-18 09:50:09

Your local college isn’t being precise enough in their language! A 1 is a pass. A 4 is a ‘standard pass’ and a 5 is a ‘strong pass’. So do they want 5 passes, standard passes or strong passes? I suspect standard passes.

The whole thing is a mess, tbh.

MaisyPops Tue 21-Aug-18 09:52:05

jufus
Usually the post 16 phrase for level 3 courses is '5 good passes at gcse' which was (in old money) 5 A*-C, often including maths and English.

Now a 4 is classed as a standard pass and a 5 is a strong/good pass. Colleges can choose which they want (But schools are judged 9-5).

PhysicsCat Tue 21-Aug-18 10:57:11

This has made me angry enough to stop lurking.

Noble is right. As a science teacher I had almost nothing other than gut instinct to help decide tier of entry. All we had from AQA was an indication of the 7 boundary for the end of Y10 paper. Even more anxious about Thursday now.

ThisIsTheNational Tue 21-Aug-18 10:59:23

I am slightly curious about this making TES now. DD's science teacher told them this would happen before the end of term. It feels rather like news management in advance of a shocker on Thursday!

mmmz Tue 21-Aug-18 11:07:23

Noble edexcel ran a free year 10 mock in march 2017 for combined science that was exactly like the maths mock in 2016 you described. Results came out last September. Each student (who did the e am) was given a % mark, but, there were no grade boundaries, and therefore, no levels.
Doing it was not mandatory but all schools had access to the conclusions.

noblegiraffe Tue 21-Aug-18 11:14:54

Interesting, mmmz. I think March of Y10 was probably too early. Ours was November Y11 and the results were dire, there was a definite panicked tone to the analysis! We didn’t get grade boundaries either, but some lovely graphs that showed the crap distribution of marks. March Y10 you would probably expect not very good marks and think that things could improve.

Roxers Tue 21-Aug-18 11:19:38

Is it right that a 4 is a low C and a 5 is a high C?

noblegiraffe Tue 21-Aug-18 11:24:21

4 is low to middle C, 5 is high C to low B. 6 is middle to high B.

Ish.

MaisyPops Tue 21-Aug-18 11:25:46

What noble says, but they aren't a like for like comparison on reality as what students have to do to get those marks/grades has shifted too (certainly in my subject).

Cauliflowersqueeze Tue 21-Aug-18 11:28:27

What an absolute muddle.

catslife Tue 21-Aug-18 11:35:46

It's complicated - what do you do if a pupil is much better at Biology than Physics, for example, and you are no longer allowed to mix tiers for entry for the Combined award?
In past years, controlled assessments would have made the difference for some borderline pupils but these have now gone.

jeanne16 Tue 21-Aug-18 11:38:59

It has always been easier for pupils to get a C grade on the higher Maths paper than to get one on the Foundation paper. Everyone knows this is ridiculous and soul destroying for the kids sitting the higher paper. Now with a 4 in Maths at around 18%, of course schools are still entering pupils for the higher paper. Science Departments will take the same view.

AlexanderHamilton Tue 21-Aug-18 11:43:21

Catslife - that worried me about ds who is due to sit his GHCSe's in two years time. He is predicted 5 for chemistry, 6 for physics and 3/4 for biology. Unusually his school are letting him drop biology completely and sit single science Physics & Chemistry.

Dd hets her results on Thursday. Her teachers didn;t have a clue during mocks. Unfortunately she suffered some poor science teaching from a due to retire teacher in years 8-10 and the new teachers in year 11 had a lot of cathing up to do with them but none of the three science teachers had any clue about gradeboundaries during mocks. Hence she was given 4 5 6 mock grades in each science for fairly similar percentages.

Cauliflowersqueeze Tue 21-Aug-18 11:43:41

In languages we used to be able to choose different tiers for different students. Now we can’t. I absolutely hate choosing tiers of entry.

Cauliflowersqueeze Tue 21-Aug-18 11:44:19

Her teachers didn;t have a clue during mocks

No - no teacher in the entire country had any clue during mocks.

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