Parents confused and anxious over what constitutes a GCSE pass
Anyone confused about the new numerical GCSE grades has “not thought about it hard enough”, according to an Ofqual board member.
Barnaby Lenon, who is also chair of the Independent Schools Council, says: “There is no reason for anyone to say it’s confusing.
“People who say they are confused about the new grades have simply not thought about it hard enough. Those people have simply not sat down and worked it out. C equals 4, A equals 7.”
“If you can remember that, as a parent or a member of the public, then you have completely grasped everything you need to know about the reforms.”
In fact, Ofqual says only that “broadly the same proportion of students will get a grade 4 or above as would have got a grade C or above”.
And when the changes were announced in 2014, Glenys Stacey, then Ofqual’s chief regulator, stressed: “It is not right to say that a new grade 4 will equal a current grade C.”
While roughly the bottom two-thirds of pupils who would have got a C will now get a grade 4, the top third will get a grade 5.
The situation is further muddied by the government’s decision to make grade 4 a “standard pass” and grade 5 a “strong pass”.
Lenon says that schools should not worry: “What matters is what universities regard as being a pass. Universities generally are saying a
4 is a pass in the way a C was a pass.”
However, University College London and King’s College London have set grade 5s in maths and English GCSES as minimum requirements.