15 Sep '14

News Fifty-seven varieties of GCSE performance | @guardianletters

The changes to the grading of GCSE announced by Ofqual (Changes to GCSEs may cut number of top grades, 12 September) is confirmation of a perverse and punitive system of gauging aspiration, achievement and progress. By yoking grades to an arbitrary distribution curve and determining in advance what proportion of students get a particular grade (to ensure tougher marking and greater ease of international comparisons), students performance will be pegged to how they fare in competition with each other, not how much they know or can do. It will also further impair the ability of teachers/schools to demonstrate progress year on year. The results will, therefore, continue to stifle individual progress and social mobility. Dr Simon GibbsReader in educational psychology, University of Newcastle How does the governments watchdog under the stewardship of Ms Stacey hope to achieve a fair award with the new GCSEs and the new gradings? Awarding the top 3% the top grade will do nothing to improve matters. This years AQA GCSE English award meant that a student could gain an A* by achieving 57 marks. You can gain 57 marks on the higher-tier paper by gaining eight different marks within band 3, which is notionally the B/C band of marks, and no marks from band 4, the notional A/A* band. (NB A/A*; not solely A*.) Continue reading...

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