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How are you calculating GCSE grades?

Discussion in 'Education news' started by mistermanager, Jun 8, 2020.

  1. mistermanager

    mistermanager New commenter

    Given the current situation, I am interested in how everyone is developing final 'estimated' grades for GCSE in your different subjects?

    Are you encountering 'pressure' from above to 'inflate' or even 'downgrade' your marks so they sit nicely 'in line' with previous academic years' performance and how do you feel about this?

    My personal situation is this... My Year 11 cohort are a particularly able lot, and were all set to achieve particularly excellent results, comfortably in the green based on residuals and SPI. I am now being asked by powers above to 'reduce the estimated grades' I have developed for a vast number of students, as the data for this year is higher than that of last year and the previous year. This is making me very uncomfortable and is completely 'doing the students out of deserved grades'. Surely every cohort is different? Why should we penalise this cohort for being 'excellent'?

    Share your own views on this and your own situations/experiences. :)
  2. strawbs

    strawbs Established commenter

    with the deadline rapidly approaching, I'm sure most HoDs decided on their methodology some time ago!
  3. bessiesmith2

    bessiesmith2 New commenter

    I teach a subject with coursework - most of which I had collected in before the lock-down. I've marked it (without bothering with all the paperwork but following the mark-scheme as per usual). This accounts for 60% of the marks in my subject - and then I've got some mock papers and practice questions that the students took. These are less useful given that they were taken so far in advance of the real exam and we should have had several extra months of revision but at least give some idea.
    My marks are slightly above FFT data on average but in line with what my class had last year and senior team have gone with them.

    The problem is that to try to make it fair the exam boards are proposing to look at previous results patterns to check that no schools are wildly inflating their grades - but of course it does mean that if you do have an exceptionally bright class - or have rapidly improved teaching / learning - then this is not likely to be reflected in the final marks. This is why I am not in favour of permanently moving to teacher-assessed grades - although many colleagues have said they would like this.

    If you've got hard evidence to 'prove' the students were on course to overachieve then I think the school should stick to the higher marks as there will be an appeal process by the sound of it and completed, high quality coursework should be a compelling argument in that case. If the evidence is less irrefutable then it might be the case that your students unfairly end up with less than they deserve.
  4. ScienceGuy

    ScienceGuy Established commenter

    Methodology for this will vary greatly by subject - core subjects are unlikely to have massive changes in grade profile whilst option subjects, especially those with small cohorts, would have greater variation.

    You don't say if your class is the only one for your subject, in which case you would need to predict as best you can or if there are multiple groups in which case your HoD will have to co-ordinate and ensure that all classes are predicted to a similar standard.

    I teach a core subject and we worked out grades based on the following.
    1. I ranked every student in the year based on their assessments
    2. I used the grade profile from our results last year for both the Higher and Foundation tier to assign a likely grade
    3. I shared the grades / rankings for each class with my colleagues and asked them to change the grades / rankings as appropriate and to give a fine grade for each student e.g. 5a being top of grade 5, 5c being bottom of grade 5. With a couple of colleagues, who moved up the grades of over a third of their class, I had to get them to reconsider.
    4. Once I had the grades in from my colleagues, I put the new grades and rankings together to come up with an overall year ranking.

    Overall, our grades were broadly similar to last year (slightly less grade 7+ and grade 5+, slightly more grade 4+).

    Once the departmental results were finished, SLT looked at them and went back to different departments if the grades were much higher / lower than last year (I think that departments had only predicted higher). There was no need for any grade alteration in my subject.
  5. moscowbore

    moscowbore Star commenter

    "Hard" evidence can be forged. That is why coursework is now banned in almost all subjects. Teachers/schools cannot be trusted with coursework. Just producing a spreadsheet to justify a set of grades is not proper scrutiny and it is not evidence of anything.
    Boardingmaster likes this.

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