This blog post might not make total sense if you haven’t had a look at my previous one: The Implications of GCSE Changes to School Accountability. In the post there was an exercise to complete on calculating Attainment 8 and this is the follow up post with the answer to the exercise.
The Changing Attainment 8
The “answer” to the calculating Attainment 8 exercise is not simply about checking the correct numerical totals have been determined; they hopefully provide snapshots of what might happen in terms of the changing curriculum and impact on the lower and middle attainers of the redistribution of GCSE point score. It’s time to get the curriculum sorted for all pupils, if you haven’t all ready, and focus on great teaching, assessment & learning.
The change from eight grades (letters) to nine grades (numbers) produces an increase in the number of points available for high attainers. Instead of 7 and 8 being awarded for A and A* respectively there is the potential to score between 7 and 9 points. In the 2017/2018 change from one system to another only the A* (point score = 8.5) will increase. It is likely that the point score of higher attainers increases over the next few years particularly as we move from 2016 to 2017 with the introduction of the numerical scale.
Overall the point score will dip quite significantly from 2016 to 2017; middle and lower attainers’ point scores decrease due to the reduction in points awarded for certain grades. In 2016 grades G to C will be worth 1 to 5 points respectively whereas in 2017 the same grades will be worth from 1 to 4 points with grades, E, D and C each worth one point less.
It’s also worth remembering that the new “pass grade” will be a grade 5 which is equivalent to the top end of a current grade C. It is anticipated that this will reduce pass rates by over 20 percentage points; for example, instead of pass rates for English and Mathematics being in the mid-high sixties they will be in the low forties. This will also affect the percentage of students achieving a pass in the combined English and Mathematics which is likely to be in the high thirties.
The exemplar suggests that schools will move towards a greater percentage of students studying EBacc subjects, in response to the Government seeking to implement 90% of pupils studying the EBacc, and other subjects will see a decline in numbers. This will present a further recruitment challenge for schools who may, at the same, time also be implementing redundancy procedures or looking to retrain teachers so they can teach a different subject area. Teachers may well vote with their feet at this point. EBacc pass rates are likely to decrease as a percentage of pupils studying them from 2017 as the new Grade 5 pass rate is required in 2017 for English & Mathematics and 2018 for the other EBacc subjects.
Reviewing the Sheets
In an attempt to limit errors I approached the exercise in a systematic way looking to identify using a colour coding system which subjects should go in the English & Maths basket, the EBacc Basket and the Open basket
Please note in some of the examples it is possible to use another one of the qualifications as opposed to those highlighted as long as they follow the rules above. For example, in 2016 Phil could have either the GCSE RE or Music qualification included in the open basket (I’ve highlighted Music but RE is equally valid as they both have a point score of 5). Similarly in 2019, Simon could have the MFL grade 4 included in the EBacc basket instead of one of the Sciences which were also grade 4.
Answers to the Attainment 8 Challenge:
If you spot any errors please send me an email via the blog or tweet me the correction; I’ve checked and double checked but I’m bound to have missed something.