What do the numbers 9-1 mean / how do they relate to the old GCSE grades?
Is a 4 or a 5 a “c” grade?
Neither. A 4 is below the level previously required for a “c” grade and thus is referred to as a “standard pass”. A grade 5 is higher than the old “C” and is now referred to as a “strong pass”.
What is a "STANDARD PASS"?
A grade 4 is considered the same as a low "C", the Government acknowledges this, but is striving for a 5 to become an elevation of the old "C" grade. Grade 4 will continue to be the level pupils must achieve in English and Maths to avoid compulsory post-16 re-takes.
What is a "STRONG PASS"?
A grade 5 will be awarded to the top third of pupils achieving the current "C" grade. Pupils who achieve a middle or low "C" will receive a grade 4.
What is a "Benchmark"?
A Benchmark is a target grade set by the Government. Benchmarks are worked out from a student’s Key stage 2 scores/results and a projection is made of their future performance, based on national statistics and student’s context and that of the school. Student context includes, gender, month of birth, the area they live in, if they are entitled to "free school meals" etc. The government via the Fisher Family Trust (a company that specialises in data analysis for education) then set the child personalised target grades.
Do Benchmarks change?
Yes they do, they are reviewed 3 times per year by the Fisher Family Trust. They can be amended based on changes to national trends in exam results (this is the main reason for change) or a change to the child’s personal context, benchmarks can go up as well as down.
What does a college require for entry?
In the past they required "c" grade passes to access the majority of course. In the short term this will be replaced by the new grade 4. In the future we expect this to raise to a "5", thus we recommend that all students strive for a minimum of a grade "5" to secure entry to the college courses of their choice. In the summer of 2017 universities were stipulating that they require a "5" for students to enter their degree courses.
My child has an estimated grade that highlights performance below their "benchmark", what should I do as a parent?
Firstly, discuss the report as a whole with your child.
Discuss any subject issues, ask them how they feel they are doing in the subject and why they think they are on/below their "benchmark". If the child knows why and is working to improve this area, then monitor the situation or contact the child’s teacher if you require more information.
If your child has done well, then praise and reward as appropriate.
Reports are discussed and self-reflection is completed as part of the tutor time.
Your child may also be receiving additional support.