[Everyone] New GCSE to be Unveiled
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?