Assessment – New GCSEs
The new GCSE’s have been implemented in three stages. Students sat the new GCSE examinations in English and mathematics this summer and were the first cohort to leave school with a mixture of the old “A* to G” and new “9 to 1” grades. Students in our current year 11 will sit new examinations in most of the remaining subjects next summer (with the exception of business, ICT and technology subjects, which will still be graded using the old “A* to G” grades). Students in our current Year 10 are now following new GCSE courses in all their subjects and will be the first cohort to leave school with a full set of the new “numbered” grades.
You should have already seen the latest Assessment Point report for your child. This report shows current progress towards an End-of-year target. However, it should be pointed out that we review these targets each year in the context of national examination results. Each year, once the final examination results have been published, the Government publish a table of Attainment Estimates which show how well all students have performed nationally when compared to their KS2 starting point. Given the introduction of the new, more demanding examinations in English & Maths this summer, the national attainment estimates went down slightly from previous years, so this may have affected the End-of-Year targets for some of our students.
Some parents have asked how the old GCSE grades “map” with the new grading system. On the grid shown, you can see that a Grade 4 equates roughly to the old “Grade C”. The government have now said that students who achieve a Grade 4 will have achieved a “standard pass”, but students achieving a Grade 5 will have achieved a “strong pass”. A Grade 8 is roughly the same as the old A* grade, but the prestigious Grade 9 will be awarded to only the top 2 to 3% of students nationally once the final examination results have been published.
Year 7 and Year 8 students will also be assessed on the new GCSE grading system, but as many students will find it difficult to demonstrate the required GCSE skills when they are only in Year 7 or 8, we use a series of “P” grades. These grades range from P1 through to P3. Once a student has demonstrated the required understanding and skills required to move to the GCSE scale, they will “graduate” from the “P” (primary) scale onto the GCSE scale. We would normally expect most students to make at least one grade of progress each year.
I do hope that this short explanation helps you to get a better understanding of your child’s report. If you have been unable to access the report, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and your logon details will be sent to you.