vikpaw (13th June 2013)
BBC News - New-look tougher GCSEs revealed
Now I don't particularly care if English students have to read a whole book for a pass. Neither do I care which exam board does which subject or what any of the pass rates are, all I do is collect a grade off the teachers, analyse it and send it off to the kids, parents and senior staff. Which is fine...until Gove decides he is going to scrap the A*-G system and replace it with the 8-1 system.
Now this has me concerned because it doesn't seem like that big a change. After all:
A* = 8
A = 7
B = 6
C = 5
D = 4
E = 3
F = 2
G = 1
So this entire 8-1 system is not a change at all, it is a pointless renumbering and rebadging of an existing system familiar to everyone in the country. We all know the difference between a straight A* student and a straight F student when we look at a CV. Sadly this proposed administrative exercise of political gaming by Mr Gove causes me great concern for the following reasons:
1) Nobody will know what 8-1 means instead of A*-G.
2) All of my tracking systems will need to be reworked. Fair enough, tweak the Excel sheets (numbers mean no need for VLOOKUP, bonus!) but it still scraps all my prior art so to speak in data analysis techniques and tools that I have built over the years.
3) Sadly this isn't as easy for MIS providers as every single provider from Aspen to Facility to SIMS now has to take a concept core to their system and change it throughout the whole program. And your own tracking sheets too on these systems. This is a lot more work and thus I predict more expense from MIS providers!
4) This also applies to programs that hook into an MIS. From analysis tools to those Excel sheets plastered in company logos that some staff pay large sums of money for, they all need to be changed from A*-G.
5) And last but not least the cherry on top, it does not fit into the national assessment structure. A level 7+ in KS3 does not equate to an A or higher at GCSE, so if a student scores less then an A at KS4 try explaining how they went from a 7 in KS3 to a 5 which is a perfectly good pass in the current system, but looks like the student has dropped two levels and gone backwards. It's confusing and misleading being all too easy to view out of context and compare two completely different grading structures that look exactly the same.
Has Michael Gove really lost the plot? Are we seeing changes for the sake of changes so that the next government has to pick up the mess?
Last edited by CAM; 10th June 2013 at 11:43 PM.
vikpaw (13th June 2013)
I hear that the plan is that GCSEs are to revert to a system much similar to 'O' Levels - rid of testing and coursework with an exam at the end of the course - like was dropped 1988 and have been tinkered with by successive governments ever since.
Why on earth can't this Conlib current government stick to it's election pledge of ridding teachers, health workers and police of change and mountains of paperwork? No wonder the electorate don't engage!
Methinks that there is going to be yet another U-Turn on this particular issue.
i dont get why they dont just drop grades below d as lets be honest no employer cares if it isnt an a*-c grade and by keeping d you are showing that the candidate tried
yes i know everyone can do something and having a fail looks bad BUT it might spur people on to doing better
Don't worry, if we've learnt anything from Gove's policies these last two years it's that he'll abandon his plans completely in a fortnight.
EDIT: @sted - for some people, a D or an E is a magnificent achievement though - taking away their sense of accomplishment at that will do nothing for their motivation or continuing drive to contribute to society. Being told that despite how hard you tried you're just a failure in the eyes of society is probably a situation worth avoiding if we want to fix this benefits culture everyone is on about.
Last edited by sonofsanta; 11th June 2013 at 09:07 AM.
Hmm.. I thought it was going to be more like the Scottish Standard Grades (1-7) where 1 = A and 7 is a No show
As for the scrapping of coursework & continual assessment - I think this is the wrong way to go and there should be a balance between CA and Exams
The problem wasn't so much CA - more the near limitless resits that could be granted -
I was at school in Scotland when they first came in and there were strict limits - you got a deadline that was strictly adhered to unless there were exceptional circumstances (usually hospitalisation/bereavement or a problem with the course itself) - also you had a max of 3 retries - if you failed it the 3rd time round - that was it - you failed the module - and possibly even the whole course if you failed a critical module or too many of them.
When working at the school here I was appauled at the number of resits, extensions, etc pupils were being given - making it virtually impossible to fail the course..
i honestly think the culture of praise can go to far you have to learn to fail as you often learn more by failing and if you dont learn at a young age its harder to take i would guess
Last edited by sted; 11th June 2013 at 09:42 AM.
More vocational, though? Hear hear. The whole educational system is far too focused on academia at the moment, and vocational training does wonders for some kids - usually the ones who are labelled as "bad kids" because they play up in the academic lessons they get nothing out of. Some of the worst Year 9 kids at my last place suddenly turned out to be the finest mechanics or bricklayers once they got to GCSe and got access to those courses.
I almost thing we need to split schooling at 11/12 into 3 grammer schools for the best and brightest, "normal" schools for the average kids and some sort of technical college (for want of a better name) that teaches kids who just arnt accedemically inclined (and any one else who feels its the way they want to go)
On a more positive note it also makes a bit more sense when you're adding up point scores for all exams taken. Only golfers are really at home with a lower score being better.
So 9 is the new A*
I thought it was to fit in with the baccalaurate. We have International Baccalaureate here for 6th form, instead of A-levels, so i'm already using a mixed system.
I think numbering is much easier and will make analysis easier, though yes changing the systems might be a pain. At least the point scores they get will be more comparable to other institutions, especially abroad. However, we only have grades from 1-7.
I don't agree with the dropping of lower grades, because it's useful to have them there so a student can see where they are on the scale. It's like saying we'll drop 0-30% off the % number line, you can't do it. Sometimes kids might be off, sick, not performing well, they need to see what they got, and how far away they are from the other grades. It's easier to keep a uniform grading system than say, you have to get 50% to get on the scale then we'll give you grades.
I see what you mean from an end grade point of view, awarding a G might not be much use, but for the all the in between work, averaging grades, etc. they are useful. I don't think students are under any illusion that being awarded a G is going to get them a (G)reat job, but at least they might see progress from G to E over a year... or even higher. We've spent enough time on valuing C grades, and working on those D/C boundary kids for them to know where they stand.
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