Employers confused by new GCSE grading system as a quarter think bottom grade is the best mark

Posted on: 2018-04-20 08:00:00

Ofqual commissioned a YouGov survey of 2,974 employers, universities, school leaders, parents, teachers and members of the general public to ask about perceptions of GCSEs and A levels.

Some 23 per cent of employers wrongly believed that 1 was the top grade, compared with 64 per cent who correctly stated that 9 was.

Eight per cent of universities also thought that 1 was the top grade, along with six per cent of headteachers, the poll found. The proportion rose to 16 per cent among parents.

Last summer, students received their marks for GCSEs for the first time under the new numerical system which uses grades one to nine, rather than from A* to G.

The numerical grades were designed by former Education Secretary Michael Gove as part of a package of reforms to toughen up syllabuses and to counter grade inflation at the top end, since A and A* are split between seven, eight and nine.

Almost a third (31 per cent) of employers, and 15 per cent of universities said they were unaware of the new grade 9 to 1 system.

Michelle Meadows, deputy chief regulator at Ofqual, said: "We recognise the need to continue to engage with stakeholders as reforms bed in. 

"To that end, we have launched new films and other resources related to GCSE science ahead of this summer’s exam series and will be doing more to explain other aspects of the reform programme in the months ahead."

The Institute of Directors has previously warned that the new grading system is “gibberish” and will cost students jobs.

Seamus Nevin, head of employment and skills policy at the Institute of Directors, which represents leaders of British business, said that many employers will only discover that the GCSEs have changed once they begin receiving CVs from pupils.  

“They might think, ‘What is this gibberish and what does it mean and how has it changed from previous grading systems?'" he has said.

“If the employer is time-poor and resource-constrained then they can, on occasions, be quite keen to get through as many [CVs] as possible. So if they have a CV that they don’t understand then they might opt for the ones that they do.”

Last year, pupils were marked under the new system for English Literature, English Language and Maths, while the rest of their subjects will be given the old A* to G grades. This summer, another 20 subjects will have 9 to 1 grading in 2018, with most others following in 2019.

Source: The Telegraph

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