Pass­ing judge­ment

TES (Times Education Supplement) - - CONTENTS -

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.

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