Friday, 31 March 2017

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, GCSE Passes

Are you confused about the new GCSE grading system? It has grades 1 to 9, with 9 being the highest.

As reported in Schools Week.
Grade 4 is a "good pass" according to Ofqual.
Grade 4 is a "standard pass" according to the DfE.

This must mean that "good" and "standard" mean the same thing. Call me old fashioned but I always thought "good" meant better than "standard".

Are you confused?

Well Ofqual has been warning that users will be confused about the new GCSE grades, so has decided to clarify things.

To clarify things, Ofqual has just sent out guidance to schools saying "grade 4 is a good pass". But they also say that they have other literature which says that grade 4 is a standard pass. But they have not sent this other literature out to schools.

So how do you rate Ofqual's clarification?

Is it a "good clarification" or a "standard clarification"?
We used to call this a "cock-up".

The Secretary of State for Education has called a grade 5 GCSE, a "strong pass".

Ofqual is correct in one aspect. Users will be confused about the new grades. Only an idiot could understand them.

Friday, 13 May 2016

The Crankshaft Test for Primary Schools

There is discussion about how many English primary schools should be classified as failing this year. Should it be an increase of 1 percent, or 1 percentage point? This is the level of argument that we have descended to.
Whether it is 1 per cent or 1 percentage point, the system is wrong. The figures are purely arbitrary. It means that the government has decided that however good schools become, they plan to fail a particular number. They can pick any number they wish, and this is what they are doing.
Imagine if we did the same with driving tests. You could be a good driver but the authorities could decide that a set percentage always have to fail. Why would you do that? Would the population feel that was reasonable or fair?
To continue the analogy, the driving test could fail you if you did not know what a crankshaft was, even though it had no bearing on your ability to drive. Driving instructors would have to give lessons in crankshafts and drivers would be more likely to pass the driving test if they knew about crankshafts, than if they were good drivers.

Something is seriously wrong with this policy.