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NC levels 'equal to' GCSE Grades?

Discussion in 'Assessment' started by dontdoit007, Sep 3, 2009.

  1. dontdoit007

    dontdoit007 New commenter

    can someone please guide wrt to equating level descriptiors to GCSE grades.
    Is level 7 = grade C?
    Thanks in advance.
  2. p1j39

    p1j39 New commenter

    I have had a debate with collegues over this. I teach science and when I looked at the grade descriptors from qca the grade C was comparable to level 5. That is to say the level of cognitive demand is roughly the same.

    I have gone on to apply Bloom's to different topic in the GCSE course and I have found that Grade 5 appears to be all about describing situations and starting to use abstract ideas. This fits in with our level 5 level descriptors.
    As level 5 students are expecting to attain a grade C this does raise the question of cognitive progression. The over difference seems to be the context of the students' thinking.
  3. dontdoit007

    dontdoit007 New commenter

    Thanks p1j39 - wow - impressed and grateful for your input
  4. markuss

    markuss Occasional commenter

    Bit of ancient history here!
    The original intention with levels, when the NC first came in, was that they would continue until the end of KS4. GCSE results would be in levels. (For a few years, we were actually marking GCSE with level descriptors in the mark schemes.) There was a definite, deliberate policy of having no equivalent to the old C grade "pass". The notional equivalent would be somewhere between a level 6 and a level 7.
    When Dearing became the main man in national assessment, he saw almost at once that really, it was nonsense to try to assess sixteen year olds on the same scale, with the same criteria for attainment as seven year or even eleven or thirteen year olds and so he got GCSEs back on to assessment and reporting in grades rather than levels, saying that it made no sense to try to equate the two scales.
    Of course, that doesn't mean that if you study enough evidence, you can't hypothesise some sort of relationship. But is there any point in it?

  5. p1j39

    p1j39 New commenter

    I didn't know all this back story. I agree with you that as there is no relationship we shouldn't be looking for one. However, we do have to meet targets for students based on their KS2 and KS3 levels. Maybe the whole target system is wrong (yes, it's the bleeding obvious) but we are still stuck in it!!!
  6. starlightexpress

    starlightexpress Occasional commenter

    Very anecdotal and admittedly possibly outdated too but when I did my GCSEs years and years ago when NC levels introduced I was told L7= C; L8=B, L9=A, L10=A*. I got level 9+s and 10s for English coursework and got an A for GCSE (bearing in mind I was a slower writer for the exam).
  7. I've been having the same discussion with a few colleagues, mostly in terms of how we target through KS3 and KS4 for non-core subjects. GCSE C grade is equal to 40 points, and a NC level 7 is equal to 42-45 points, which is where I think the whole "C is the same as a level 7" approach is based.
    I'm not convinced that this is how things work in practice though - I view it more as a modelling premise that allows us to track progress through both stages, and to target KS3 based on KS4 targets. Does the equivalence have any merit beyond a working model to come up with *something* for targets? I'm not sure - what does everyone else think?
  8. When was there ever a level 10? Or a 9 for that matter?

    I think I found this stuff on the CAT3 website. The school give us this stuff though. Totally useless as its all based on English Maths and Science but they make us compare our students to it for all the demoralising good it does them.
  9. p1j39

    p1j39 New commenter

    Is there a link for this 'CAT3' website?
  10. In terms of target setting it is accepted that if you attain a level 5 in year 9 then, with 2 years working in the same manner, you are expected to attain a grade C, Level 6 = grade B and Level 7 = grade A/A*. This is roughly how the fisher data worked also.
  11. What if you are a level 5 in year 4, in primary? Are we expecting higher than a grade A* to start appearing? (We are under pressure at the moment to get our year 4's to at the very very least a level 4a, and really they should be solid 5s. Give me strength!!).
    Or doesn't primary school leveling factor in the range? (That sounds argumentative - not meaning it to, just this will really help us to know we can ignore the 'must be a level 5 in year 4' mantra and have something to back it up with to the parents!)
  12. p1j39

    p1j39 New commenter

    The child should be targeted a level 7 at the end of KS3 so should be targetted a grade A/A* at KS4.

    The problem will be with those students who only just got a level 5 with huge support from their teacher. How secure is their level and what will that mean for the secondary school?
  13. Thanks Pj39 - so we all have classes of outstanding genius' then in our school? Not just above average, but absolutely wonderful, all straight A/A* students? Althought that's not that hard to acheive now, so not really a shocker.
    Thanks again :)
  14. tafkam

    tafkam Occasional commenter

    Yes, until Dearing sorted things out at GCSE level.
  15. Thelatest DCSF stuff now works it slightly differently!
    GCSE C is equivalent to a level 7, at least for the purposes of progress measures, with a B equivalent to an 8, D = 6, A* 10 and so-on. The "expected progress" is now 3 levels altogether across KS3 and KS4, so that a level 5 KS2 student is "expected" to get B at GCSE.
    This is only applied to English and maths though; beyond that, they're more interested in all the 5A*-Cs with E&M type thing.

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