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A grade 4 is a pass...but grade 5 is what they will use to hold schools to account?

Discussion in 'Education news' started by galerider123, Aug 24, 2017.

  1. galerider123

    galerider123 Lead commenter

    According to the BBC today:
    "However, the Department for Education has introduced two levels of passes; a "standard pass" at grade 4 and a "strong pass" at grade 5.
    The latter would be used to hold schools to account in performance tables."

    So 4 is not really a pass then. What is all this nonsense!!!????
  2. PeterQuint

    PeterQuint Lead commenter

    A grade 4 is a pass if you're a pupil applying for a job/college.

    A grade 5 is a pass for the purposes of league tables.

    And yes, that's stupid. Especially when the 'every grade matters' idea is already reflected in Progress 8 data.
  3. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    It's the same nonsense as the OFSTED Satisfactory which quickly became UNsatisfactory.

    Adequate is obviously INadequate.

    And a pass must, by this logic, be a fail.

    It's quite simple.I'm amazed people haven't sussed it yet! :rolleyes:;)o_O
    tonymars, Anonymity, Alldone and 4 others like this.
  4. peggylu

    peggylu Star commenter

    Basically this 'dual pass' situation is because the government realised that if they only had grade 5 as a pass this year and next year the sheer amount of students that would have had to continue Maths and English study in FE or while on apprenticeships would be untenable and embarrassing. So grade 4 becomes a 'temporary' acceptable pass, but only for the student, not for the school to be judged on - that remained a grade 5 :rolleyes:.

    In 2019-20 grade 4 will no longer count as a pass as they expect the system to have bedded in by then and more students to be obtaining the grade 5's.

    This will leave 2-3 cohorts of students with grade 4 'passes' that future employers looking at their CV's will interpret as fails. These 2017-20 'special arrangements' will get forgotten by anyone not involved in education and employers, say in 2022, will just be looking for a grade 5 in English and Maths on a candidates education history.

    These poor students are destined to spend the rest of their lives explaining away those anomalous grade 4 'passes'.
  5. PeterQuint

    PeterQuint Lead commenter

    I've just seen David Laws on the news; he was at the DfE when the Con-LD coalition was on the go, when this system was first devised.

    His rationale was this. We needed to keep the 4 = C = pass so we could ease the new exams in. Employers need to know what a numeric grade means when compared to a lettered grade. So if someone has an application in front of them with a 4 in English, they know that means pretty much the same as a C did last year.

    But then he said they'd looked at international data. They'd seen grade inflation at GCSE, but that didn't seem to be reflected in our standards compared to other countries. In other words, passes were going up, but our standards compared to others weren't They figured that, if we were to have a pass standard in line with the best of the rest of the world, we'd need something a bit higher. And that's what a 5 is.

    He conceded we weren't going to get most pupils from a 4 (C) up to a 5 in one year, so that's why the 4 is still a pass.

    I think the 5 is therefore a sort of future aspiration.

    I'm not saying I necessarily agree with the arguments (is PISA reliable, for example), but the rationale in itself appears to be relatively sensible. And, as one of the ministers who devised it had given his reasons, I thought they should probably offered here, be they good or bad.
    tonymars likes this.
  6. PeterQuint

    PeterQuint Lead commenter

    Yes, that appears to be it. It's a future aspiration. If in 2020 as many are getting a 5 as now get a 4 (or previously got a C) we'll have 'world class standards'.

    As I've intimated, I'm not sure PISA is necessarily that reliable, but that aside I 'get' the idea of what they're doing.

    My biggest criticism is that they've not explained this as well as they should. Indeed, judging by the comments at these forums over recent months, I feel I'm more up on the new grading than most teachers. But even for me this is the first time I've heard that articulated, and it's not stared that way on any of the government/DfE publications.

    And this was a former minister, not a current one, or a current civil servant
    peggylu likes this.
  7. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    It just invites employers to administer a maths test to all applicants. That's what I'd do. It's the only reliable way to assess.
    tonymars, needabreak, Alldone and 2 others like this.
  8. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    plus this year;s cohort will have to explain why their Maths and English results are graded 9 - 1 and other subjects still A* to G. :rolleyes: Not sure if Science changed this year or not, but most subjects are generally not changing till next year. o_O :confused: abounds for everyone.

    Plus some subjects had their 'boundaries' lowered and if the report we saw is correct a certain 'pass' in one subject this year is actually below 25%. Not sure where to verify that yet, There are always fake reports:rolleyes:, but if so, it makes a mockery of the whole thing. in the old days one needed at least near 50% to get a pass.
    peggylu likes this.
  9. peggylu

    peggylu Star commenter


    2018 will be our first 1-9 grades for the new, content heavy, rigorous, linear science GCSE's. Can't wait to see how the lower sets do :rolleyes:.
  10. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    And that 18% 'pass rate appears to be confirmed on this very site .
    So peig a grade 5 is the highest one can get on teh Lower tier i can see some schools enetering pupils for the higher tier aiming for that 'grade 4 pass', even if they miss most / mess up 3/4 of the paper..

    As for the pass rate for a grade 9 :eek: In my day to get the top mark would have usually been over 90%,even as high as 95% :rolleyes:
  11. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    18% can give you a 4 if you took a Higher paper.

    How easy would it be to get 18% by just guessing???
  12. Benbamboo

    Benbamboo Occasional commenter

    Just goes to show how fiddled the whole system is to show what you want it to show.

    It's the entire reason why grade boundaries are released after marking, so they can make them up. If the tests had been set as rigorously as they claim, they should be able to peg the grade boundaries before they are even sat. It's so bizarre that an assessment system is so openly rigged to show not what children are capable of, but what the examining bodies/government want it to show.
    tonymars and peggylu like this.
  13. Startedin82

    Startedin82 Established commenter

    Michael Gove has so much to answer for.......
    tonymars, Mrsmumbles and peggylu like this.
  14. Startedin82

    Startedin82 Established commenter

    That's quite high though isn't it?

    You only need 70-80% to get first class honours - Bachelors degree - and distinction at Masters.
  15. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Really? o_O
    I think years ago First Class was reserved for the very, very top achievers, though it's so long ago I can't quite remember the marks.
    This quote says ' Traditionally, first class honours have been awarded sparingly to students who show exceptional depth of knowledge and originality.'
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2017
    peggylu and wanet like this.
  16. tsarina

    tsarina Occasional commenter

    In the 1970's the average number of firsts was 7%, now it is 25%. My other half (who got a first 25 years ago) was incensed when he read that two weeks ago. He said it explains why some of the interns he looks after don't seem to be as good as he expects them to be. He assumed that with a first they would be exceptional :)

    "Among 20 institutions which provided their figures for 1970, the average proportion awarded firsts was just 7 per cent. By 1997, the year Labour took power, it was 8 per cent but in the last 13 years the proportion of firsts at the institutions has risen to 14 per cent."
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/educatio...mbing-down-of-university-grades-revealed.html (2011)

    "New figures detailing student enrolment and qualifications show a quarter of students at UK universities now graduate with a first-class degree - a dramatic increase from just 17 per cent in 2012."
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/e...-class-second-class-third-class-a7526286.html (2017)
    wanet and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  17. PeterQuint

    PeterQuint Lead commenter

    ...which means absolutely nothing whatsoever.

    You can take the course content and make the questions a bit harder and the pass mark would have to fall to keep an identical standard.

    To say an exam is easier/harder just because of where the pass mark lies is illogical.

    In an ideal world the grades would be as spread out as possible. If you have 10 grades (1-9 and a U), then ideally the exam should be structured so that each grade covers around 10%. If you get 'bunching' of grades there's more chance of someone falling down a grade by a silly mistake, rather than genuine skills/knowledge. The bigger the gap between grade boundaries, the less chance of inaccurate grading. If there are 10 grades, that implies a 10% band for each grade would be least error-prone.
    chelsea2, Lara mfl 05 and tsarina like this.
  18. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Fair enough. It was badly phrased with appalling grammar and shows I wasn't thinkng clearly.
  19. MacGuyver

    MacGuyver Occasional commenter

    Edexcel higher Maths grade boundaries.

    9 - 79%
    8 - 63%
    7 - 52%
    6 - 40%
    5 - 28%
    4 - 17%
    3 - 11%

    What's the point in making the curriculum and the exams more challenging and then just lowering the grade boundaries to a ridiculous level. It's still a race to the bottom.
    needabreak likes this.
  20. Lizbit

    Lizbit New commenter

    Pretty hard - have you seen a 9-1 Maths paper? Guessing would get you 0 as there is no multiple choice.
    MacGuyver and Lara mfl 05 like this.

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