It’s time to get serious about getting GCSE results for some of the most prestigious schools in the country, and now, the new GCSE grading system is out to help.
But is it fair?
What will it take for the system to be more fair?
Is it worth the hassle?
Read more about the GCSE Grading Scheme.
For a start, the system is not based on an absolute GCSE score.
It is based on three key things: the number of A* grades, the average grade across all A*s, and the proportion of A grades in the overall GCSE average.
These three indicators have been linked to changes in how students perform on the test.
There is a lot of debate about whether they are the right ones to base grades on.
“The A* grading is a good indicator of where students are on the curve, because it is a snapshot of their performance and they can see how their grade changes over time,” says Professor Michael Glyn, director of the University of Warwick’s Institute of Educational Technology.
However, the way it is calculated is very complex and there is a fair bit of uncertainty around the overall average grade.
The A level grading is based largely on the performance of students from Year 11 through Year 11E.
This means that students who are in Year 11 in Year 10A will also score higher than those who were in Year 1 in Year 12, but students who were at Year 11A in Year 5A in Years 11B and 12A will not.
That means that it’s very difficult to tell which students are in the middle of the curve.
One of the main problems with the current system is that it is based solely on how students did on the A* scale.
Some of the best GCSE students are from Year 12 and there are some that were in their final year and are now going to be graduating from Year 10.
In theory, this should mean that students will be able to grade themselves according to their actual performance.
Not so fast, says Professor Glyn.
First, he says the system does not reflect the best performers.
“[This] is partly because it doesn’t include the students that have achieved an excellent GCSE result but that are now entering Year 12.
Second, the current grading system has a bias towards the higher end of the academic spectrum.
Students who are very gifted but also have good A* scores may score better than those with A grades of a lower A*.
Third, students who do well on A*-levels may not be graded as highly as those with lower scores.”
The best performing students tend to be those who do better on all three A* exams, says Dr Sarah Kaller, head of education at the University of Exeter’s Institute for Educational Research.
So how does the new system affect students’ chances of being in the top 20% of their GCSE grades?
Professor Kallers says that while the current scheme is fair, it is not perfect.
At present, students are graded on the basis of how well they do on the three A**-level exams, with a higher A** grade for a more excellent performance, and a lower one for a less excellent one.
According to the new grading system, a higher A* grade will be given for a better average score, which will mean that a student in Year 6 will get a higher average grade on the a**-scale.
If a student does very well on the a**-scores and a very poor performance on the GCSE, this will mean they will be graded on an A-scale and a B-grade, which would mean that they are likely to get a B+ on the scale.
This will mean students from lower GCSE classes will be rated lower than those from higher classes, meaning they will not be awarded a higher grade.
“That’s why students with poor performance grades will have a lower overall average and will be lower in the GCES, and students who have an excellent performance grade will have higher scores on the all-encompassing scale,” she says.
“So the overall impact of the changes in the grading system will depend on how well the students perform.
We’re confident that the new grade system will help students who don’t achieve a good result on the exam to achieve a better result on their GCES.”
The changes to the grading scale have already had a big impact on the success of some students.
Professor Glyn says that the improvement in the grade system has meant that students have been able to take advantage of the lower A* levels in Year 4A, which are less important to the attainment of a higher GCES