It is estimated that the Government has spent nearly £400,000 on publicising the new GCSE system. However, there is still confusion as to exactly what these changes are and the impact that they will have on pupils who are waiting to receive exam results next week.
Read on for answers to common questions that parents and pupils may have.
Why is there a new GCSE system?
The Government have stated that the change is to promote higher standards and to ensure that pupils have the skills required upon leaving school. The new system aims to push pupils to achieve their full potential by having a larger differentiation between high marks.
What are the main differences?
The new GCSE system is initially for English Language, English Literature and maths with plans to phase it through all GCSE subjects over the next two years. Pupils will therefore receive a mixture of numbered and lettered grades until the new system has been applied to all subjects.
The most obvious change is the introduction of a new grading system, with letters replacing the numbers that previous pupils have received. A 9 is now the highest possible grade and is set above an A*. 3 and below are failing grades, with 1 being the lowest mark that can be received.
Another change is that subject results are more dependent on exams, rather than marks obtained for the completion of course work throughout the year. Each subject’s curriculum has also changed, as course content has been designed to be more challenging,
Are pupils facing a disadvantage under the new system?
Some people fear that pupils who sat their GCSEs this year are being used as guinea pigs to trial the new system. There have also been reports that the lack of information about its impact has caused anxiety amongst students which, in turn, could have an impact on exam results.
English teachers have also voiced concerns that the new system will deter pupils from taking this subject at A Level, due to the difficulty of the new course.
However, Ofqual have stated that they expect the same proportion of students to receive 1, 4 and 7 grades as would have received G, C and A grades, and that if pupils have struggled overall then this will be reflected by grading boundaries.
What are your thoughts? Do you think the new GCSE grading system is a positive change?
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