1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Use of new/old GCSEs or indeed data within tracking

Discussion in 'Education news' started by MrMedia, Nov 27, 2015.

  1. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    I visited a school yesterday and was startled to see them using GCSE lettered grades for year 10 within atomised objectives at the start of a lesson. I then reviewed the data sheet provided for the class and indeed all the GCSE predicted grades were using letters.

    I was talking to a teacher in another school who said they were using GCSE lettered grades with the Year 7s.

    Both schools stand out as having not moved forward as the other schools I have seen have done.

    As I visit a lot of schools (about 40 secondary schools a year) I summed up to this teacher what I have seen so far this year. The vast majority of schools have stripped all reference to lettered grades from the system. The leading schools have also stripped out the use of summative grading within assessment and tracking. Instead, they are all working towards to the level 1 mastery criteria of the GCSE. Students are either making progress towards this or not, but they are not 'grading' the pupils. Now just to clarify this: they are assessing them summatively and generating numerical data. However, they are not converting this into 'grading' as OfQUAL have said that the boundaries are more aligned with norm referencing rather than criterion referencing and thus the grade boundaries and indeed progress 8 will all be calculated post assessment. This means you cannot 'grade' work anymore. You can only give it a raw score. This doesn't stop summative assessment nor does it stop measuring progress. However. In keeping with all the research on formative feedback over summative feedback, the majority of the best schools have stopped embedding reference to grades or indeed numbers within the lessons or feedback to students. Everything is on progress.

    I thought it worth flagging this up as most teachers don't see many other schools and I am in a unique position in visiting a lot of schools and seeing their different approaches. It is interesting to see how schools do slowly move in collective directions and without sharing practice some schools can get left behind.

    I'm not an Ofsted inspector but it does show how Ofsted inspectors could be used as a medium for sharing how other schools have approached things like assessment. I mean, that they could make a presentation to the inspected school rather than just write their report!
  2. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    Correct me if I'm wrong... but the lettered grading was only stripped away for two reasons surely?

    1. To make data management easier, just pop the number in the spreadsheet and set your formulas a-whirring!

    2. It made comparison between old and nuGCSEs virtually impossible... allowing government ministers to spin how successful the nuGCSE were without really having an evidence to support.

    Am I wrong?
  3. kscience

    kscience New commenter

    As current year 10 will be receiving a lettered grade for their GCSE Science why would you use a different grading system to inform pupils and parents where pupils currently are?
  4. Sisyphus_rolls_again

    Sisyphus_rolls_again Established commenter

    Y10 pupils will receive letter grades in all subjects except English & maths.
    Y9 pupils will receive number grades in all subjects except product design.
    Y7&8 pupils will receive number grades only......unless it all changes again in the next 5 years.

    I think.
  5. Sisyphus_rolls_again

    Sisyphus_rolls_again Established commenter

    Except 'U' which will remain a letter even on the number scale...presumably 0 was too complicated.
  6. Sisyphus_rolls_again

    Sisyphus_rolls_again Established commenter

    Surely the very definition of 'progress' is 'positive change from an original position'.
    How do you judge progress without a starting point and a current position that are capable of being compared?
  7. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    You are converting an arbitrary performance into a grade without reason or substance. You can strip grades out and still assess them for progress. This is why level descriptors were abolished. The research is very strong in saying that individual grade descriptors and assessments are limiting. The shift has been to mastery criteria. If you look at KS1 and KS2 they have mastery descriptors also.

    However, my point is this. I am seeing schools shift from letters to numbers and then from summative to formative. Schools that miss this shift could fall behind the curve rapidly. You only need one Ofsted inspector to see fifteen schools on the trot and then roll up to your school to say your school has slipped behind.

    Although a level 4 is being notionally fixed to the old C, bands for each numbered grade are longer than the old grades and in addition, the norm referencing is being fixed to an international benchmark. You simply can't grade work under the new system - you can only give it a raw score. Progress, on the other hand, is easy to track: both formatively and indeed summatively albeit as a raw score.
  8. Sisyphus_rolls_again

    Sisyphus_rolls_again Established commenter

    I agree that it is easy to show that progress has happened.
    I used the word 'judged' as our lords & masters in SLT will not be content to be shown that progress has happened, they will demand to be shown how much progress has been made and whether that amount of progress is adequate.
  9. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    Whether progress is adequate or not will not be known until they complete their GCSEs, ofqual have awarded the grade boundaries and the mathematicians who run the system have worked out what constitutes progress from year 6 based on a mere modicum of a test.
    SLT need to be better trained alas. Therein lies the problem and is a step that must be o'erleapt or they fall down.
  10. waikatoriv

    waikatoriv New commenter

    Talking about outdated things, having seen a couple of maths SOWs on the websites at local secondary schools near me, I am seeing (still!) 3 year KS3 and 2 year KS4 schemes of work. I would judge that these are the same as were used with levels. I see repeated repetition of topics in KS3 (i.e probability covered in Year7 and 8 and 9) and then retaught in Year 10 and 11.) Then I notice that KS4 is top-heavy with new topics in Year 11. Is this kind of SOW "fit for purpose" to gain the best GCSE results in Year 11? In my opinion it is not! As a maths tutor, I have seen first hand the amount of money spent in Year 11 in extra revision lessons, extra tuition etc . Not sure this is money well spent, when more benefit would be gained from a revamped and intelligent sow, to make best use of the 5 years of specialist maths teaching at secondary school.
  11. Sisyphus_rolls_again

    Sisyphus_rolls_again Established commenter

    I don't know about the schools that you visit but in ours it's SLT who decide when KS3 ends and KS4 begins. Departments have to plan within the constraints put upon them.

    I see something similar at ours....But I assign it to a need to deal with poorly planned change rather than being 'outdated'.
    As the new KS3 & KS4 curricula were introduced 'at a stroke', different year groups will have different amounts of 'old' and 'new' content in their history. Y7 will be able to follow the 'new' curriculum in it's entirety but other year groups will have had incrementally less of it.

    On top of that, I don't see a problem with repetition of topics. Repetition of content would be an issue..but not topics. In my subject (not maths, admittedly) we have deliberately planned the new scheme of work to revisit topics every year...to refresh them and to extend the depth of coverage..in a spiral. In this time of linear courses and final exams..it's our way of attempting to keep all of the content relatively fresh.
  12. Sisyphus_rolls_again

    Sisyphus_rolls_again Established commenter

    I hope that you had your irony hat on when you typed that (It's an orangey grey colour one that I put on whenever SLT criticise me for not using 'thinking hats' in my lessons)

    I look forward to a day when SLT do not demand an indication of the amount of progress made during the 5 years that precede GCSE results day. I suspect that it will not happen during my working life.
  13. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    Oh they will want an indication of progress and so absolutely right. However, if they want to know what 'grade' someone is working at that information isn't available until both the whole country has taken the GCSE and the international benchmark has been applied to regulate it to other countries. This is not a problem for grading as the raw scores use the same assessment system.

    To be really fair on a teacher you should measure a student's conscientiousness and then factorise the progress made. A student with poor conscientiousness will make less progress than their raisin and marshmallow eschewing counterpart. As Ofsted have now admitted, it is easier to show progress with students who score highly in deferred gratification tests than students who don't.
  14. Sisyphus_rolls_again

    Sisyphus_rolls_again Established commenter

    That sounds a bit like CVA.
    OFSTED and consequently SLT weren't too happy with CVA...they saw it as 'excusing' poor performance.
  15. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    But it could be used to explain why some schools who have conscientious pupils receiving private tutoring and seemingly getting 'good' grades are actually delivering less 'progress' than your hard working teacher currently not making their PRP in a different school. Even within the same school we all know that one year group contains different levels of conscientiousness to another and subsequently achieves lower grades despite all other variables (school, teachers, SOW) being held constant (Durkheim's multi-variate analysis).

    I digress, but my main point is this. All schools are changing to chase 'progress' within the context of no level descriptors, progress 8, Ofsted focus on progress and new GCSEs. However, they are all working in vacuums - silos if you will.
    What we really need is for, as part of the Ofsted inspection, the inspectors start the visit with a detailed presentation to staff setting out what they are seeing in other schools across the main areas of change. For once, Ofsted could be useful instead of merely a subjective summative experience.
  16. kscience

    kscience New commenter

    What cloud cuckoo land are you living in where SLT don't want a grade or level every 6 weeks showing progress AND Ofsted are useful?????
  17. drek

    drek Star commenter

    currently there are many 'visitors' going to schools. Is it to inform the research of a govt think tank. Or as an educational consultant? Or to sell educational strategies?

    A lot of schools and staff are being used as Guinea pigs across the nation. The past 5 years have been one example and now the group funded by and pushing the latest progress 8 theories is another. 'Schools will fail' same old same old fear mongering.
    Schools will always fail but it won't be in the basis of how quickly and blindly they push government reforms, more on whether the right people were selected in order to help make out that the reforms, if one can call it that, were 'correctly adapted to show progress'.

    Most schools will have a lot of visitors, some staff and their students will be selected as victims or Guinea pigs, some as supposedly control groups.

    they ask questions of staff being observed, pretend to know a student by speaking to them for a minute or so and a teacher by browsing their marking.! But In what capacity? As an observer? perhaps they should stick to questioning lead staff. They receive hours of training and are successfully promoted because they can spout out the latest bull on demand

    In a laboratory one can to a certain extent control some variables, say when producing a new chemical, but it's effect on the general population, has to be tested for several years before being rolled out.

    .....under different 'brand names' the price of paracetamol varies from 30p to 2 pounds. It is the SAME chemical!

    Perhaps the new 'reforms' and the way they are so badly rolled out in the cut throat world that has become teaching and learning are heading the same way.

    But we are only the foot soldiers, what we don't know about progress 8 will soon be rammed down our throats.

    Schools claiming success are doing so with a view to obtaining millions in funding from the dfe, a dangerous premise!

    Perhaps the schools claiming they have the key to 'pandora's box' are part of a chain of schools all sharing 'best practice' with each other, obtaining data for the dfe in the usual unscientific way, then proclaiming success and demanding even more funding for spreading a 'reform' like one would a perfect anti ageing cream!
    By writing meaningless epistles in the media and pretending to be the font of all knowledge regarding progress 8.
    lanokia likes this.

Share This Page