Accessibility Links

Ofqual seeks to dispel confusion over numerical GCSE grades

10/03/2017 Joanna

Exams regulator Ofqual is to launch a series of TV adverts and online content in a bid to remove the confusion concerning the new numerical GCSE grading.

The 9-1 grading scale, which will replace the present A-G system in England, will be used for the first time this summer as students sit exams in English, English Literature and maths.

However, the Times Educational Supplement (TES) revealed it has been given exclusive access to Ofqual research showing that employers are widely ignorant of the new system. Over four-fifths of human resources professionals and 76 per cent of small business owners do not know what the new grade 1 will mean.

In response, Ofqual chief regulator Sally Collier has said she wants to end confusion, such as that where some believe a 1 is the highest grade and 9 the lowest, when the reverse is the case.

She remarked: "Our role is to set out the changes to ensure that people understand what they are, why they have come in, what it means, and to dispel some myths."

At the same time, she said it cannot be expected that everyone will get the message, as 26 per cent of SME bosses do not know how the A-G system of GCSEs works, despite the system being introduced in the 1980s. "I think we need to avoid setting ourselves targets that are completely unrealistic in terms of businesses, for example," she reflected, adding that the support of the rest of the education sector is also needed to grow understanding.

As well as the TV adverts, Ofqual has launched new Facebook and LinkedIn pages to provide information.

In addition to changing the grading system, Ofqual has recently announced an overhaul of the appeals system for grades for GCSEs, as well as for A and AS-levels.

Among the new measures will be a requirement for exam boards to make GCSE scripts available to centres ahead of the deadline for requesting reviews of marking.

The new system will come into effect from 2020, from when exam boards will also have to provide the reasons for initiating any reviews of marking decisions.

Add new comment