As you may be aware there are a number of changes happening nationally to the way GCSEs are delivered and assessed. In September 2015 we started a 3 year transition to new GCSE specifications. English and Maths were in the first wave and have been started by our current Y10. The majority of other subjects will start new specifications in September 2016 with the remainder starting in September 2017. In summary the new specifications:
- No longer have Controlled Assessments
- Have terminal examinations at the end of Y11
- Have changes to the content and skills that are delivered through the courses
- Will have GCSE numbers 9-1 replacing grades A*-G
More details about each subject are available through the ‘curriculum’ section of the website.
Students in Year 11 will take their final examinations in the summer of 2016 and will be awarded A*-G grades in their GCSE courses as they are still following the previous specifications.
Students in Year 10 this year will take their final examinations in the summer of 2017. They will be the first cohort of students nationally to sit new specifications in English Language, English Literature and Maths. These new courses will award students a grade 1-9 for their achievements. Other GCSE courses will continue to award A*-G grades.
Students in Years 7-9 will sit their final examinations in 2018, 2019 and 2020. They will sit new specifications in a whole range of subjects as new courses are phased in. Those examinations will all be graded on the 1-9 assessment framework.
How will GCSE grades change?
We have worked on a diagram to show rough equivalencies between the old and new systems. It should be noted that subject content and skills are no longer attached to the same grades as they were under the ‘old specifications’ so direct comparisons cannot be made as the curriculum has undergone such a significant change. The diagram below is intended only as a guide and subject to inevitable change as the DFE and examination boards publish more information and exemplars of students work at each of the new 1-9 grades.
Student Data Sheets
Student attainment and progress continues to be reported every half term through data sheets. These report:
- A current GCSE grade based on a recent piece of assessed work
- An Informed Prediction where the teacher has made a prediction about the grade the student may receive at the end of the course if they continue to work and progress at the same rate.
- Behaviour for Learning scores.
Target Grades and School Performance Indicators
Previously, the government has used a student’s English and Mathematics Year 6 SATs grades as a predictor to estimate what GCSE grades they should achieve as a minimum ‘expected progress’. These were then used to produce target grades for each student in each subject. Under this system, students could have been viewed to have achieved or not achieved their expected progress through their time at secondary school and this was used as a measure of school performance. However the risk in this system was that students who under performed on their SATs stood the risk of target grades that did not provide enough challenge. Additionally for students who achieved lower SATs grades, allocating and sharing lower GCSE target grades could risk demotivating them from believing that higher grades could be achieved.
From 2016, Progress 8 is now used as the main performance indicator of school performance. In a nutshell the Government looks at a student’s Y6 SATs in English and Maths and their GCSE grades in 8 core subjects. If the student achieves the national average, they get a Progress 8 score of 0, if they achieve 1 grade above the national average they get a +1 score etc. The entire year group is averaged to give the school score which is reported in the league tables. In 2016 The Roseland Academy achieved the highest in Cornwall, with +0.52.
The advantage of this system is there is no minimum expected progress, the system expects and rewards the maximum progress from each student irrespective of starting point.
At The Roseland Academy we use this data to set challenging targets to flightpath our students at least one whole GCSE grade above what we estimate to be the national average. Target grades are now continually reviewed in light of national trends, and may be updated to ensure we have the right data to track all students irrespective of ability, to achieve in the top percentiles nationally.