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GCSE Exam Results 2017
The new exam system
On Thursday 24th August we saw publication of the first set of results under the new more challenging GCSE framework which is being phased in over the next three years. Given that this is the first year of a new system the government has been at pains to point out that it is not possible to make comparisons with the results of previous years. Across the country, some areas have decided not to report any statistical figures at all since there is so much uncertainty in this first year.
In essence, three things are all changing this year, simultaneously:
- The subject content is tougher, syllabuses of all GCSEs have changed, in some subjects very considerably both in terms of topics covered, the amount of material and the level of difficulty; in some subjects content that was previously AS level is now in the new GCSEs.
- The assessment and examining methods have changed – there is no longer any coursework element, and all exams are now taken at the end of Year 11 with no modules any longer being sat during the course. (If you are old enough to have sat O levels, then this will be familiar to you).
- Grading of GCSEs is changing from letters (A*-G) to numbers (9-1) with the grade 4 a ‘standard pass’, the level at which students will be deemed to be ready to move onto the next stage of their education – they will not need to retake English or Maths in the Sixth Form or as part of any apprenticeship/employment based training. The DfE have stated that In the first year each new GCSE subject is introduced, broadly the same proportion of students will get a grade 4 or above as would have got a grade C or above in the old system. This is not the same as saying that a grade C is the same as a grade 4; they are not.
The other thing for parents/carers to remember is that Progress 8 (P8) is the government’s chosen performance indicator. This indicator includes all students and looks at how much progress each student makes from their Key Stage 2 starting point. Schools will have to wait until October when the government can provide national progress scores. It is very frustrating not to be able to provide parents/carers with definitive progress outcomes now.
GCSE 2017 Sir James Smith’s Community School, Camelford
Sir James Smith’s School is celebrating after achieving splendid GCSE results. Headteacher, Jon Lawrence, praised his students for their “fabulous” GCSE results, stating, “We are really pleased with this year’s results and congratulate all our students and staff who have worked incredibly hard. We are particularly pleased with the results in 11 of our subjects that beat national outcomes, with another three subjects being very close i.e. within the equivalent of one student.
Results in Art, the Sciences, Product Design (DT) and Geography being outstanding. All the baccalaureate subjects performed strongly. Parents/carers and the wider local community should be very pleased and proud of the achievement of our young people.
SJS subjects compared to national outcomes
The best of English or English Literature is counted for an overall English figure of 80%.
Drama, German and Graphics were very close to the NA – this means within the equivalent of one student.
French saw a dramatic improvement bringing outcomes very close to the NA. In just one year Mrs Day has rebuilt French and made a huge difference to GCSE outcomes.
Results in a few subjects were less than predictions suggested but not unexpected given staffing issues faced last year. These subjects were: computing, mathematics and textiles.
Maths outcomes, compared to other subjects, are a little disappointing at 63% which may be 6% below the national average. The appointment of Mr Coombs, a maths graduate and experienced teacher of mathematics, will see the team firing on all cylinders this year and I have no doubt enabling them to beat national outcomes next year.
Miss Dart, our new technology teacher (catering and textiles,) will provide the continuity missing over the past two years or so. We expect results to improve here as well.
Early indications show that once again the progress of all students from their starting point to their eventual GCSE outcomes is very good so the school is expected to achieve a positive Progress 8 score but this will not be confirmed until late October. Parents/carers will remember that 5+A*-C is no longer used as a schools’ performance measure. Progress 8 is now used as the key performance measure because it includes all students not just those able to achieve good grades. Early estimates suggest the P8 score will be +0.25 which is likely to make the school above average and place us in the top 10 at county level.
The number of Sir Jim’s students attaining GCSE grades of 4 (C) or above, identified as the standard pass, in English was 80%, and in mathematics 63%. More than 73% of students gained 5 or more 5A*-C grades. Nearly 59% of students gained a minimum of five or more GCSE grades at C/4 or above including English and mathematics.
Against a background of the changes noted above, this achievement across the school is a reflection of the commitment shown by our students, together with expert teaching, guidance and support from our highly professional staff supported by devoted family members. They have all played a part in the successes we have seen today.
High attaining students – top grades
Top grades are defined as A*/A/9/8/7. Most schools will report three outcomes: the proportion of students with 5 or more top grades, 3 or more and 1 or more.
Students who have gained 5 or more A*/A/9/8/7 grades this year include Isla Symons (Head Girl), Ella Slade (Deputy Head Girl), Bryony Davis, Akira Sidana, Lauren Brocklehurst, Eve Marshall, Ollie Sandercock (Head Boy), Tori Crutchley, Jodie Desousa, Kathy Glazzard and Jacob Marsh.
The star performers were closely followed by Lewis Bradley (Deputy Head Boy), Amy Chater, Pedro Corsico, Siro Corsico, Tanya Hale, Ethan Hall, Travis Lanaway and James Venning who shared more than 30 A*/A grades between therm. Pedro and Siro achieved A*s in both Spanish and Italian GCSEs. In all nearly 60% of the year group achieved one or more of the top grades with 20% achieving 3 or more.
Every student matters to us
This year the Cornish Guardian deviated from the usual media fixation on A*/A grades and asked its readers to think more widely about GCSEs. In response to the ‘new’ exam system they wrote:
‘But this new system seems to be a retrograde step which hinders those who might not be so academically minded….
Instead we should be celebrating and promoting the skills and abilities of all rather than shifting to a focus on academic subjects which might not be for everyone.’
Our response is that as a truly comprehensive school, whilst the number of top grades should be celebrated, the achievements of every single student at our School matters hugely to us. We are particularly pleased that all 89 students have passed GCSE qualifications allowing them to progress to Post 16 education or training. This supports the School motto of ‘Aspiration, Ambition, Achievement’.
There are many students that have achieved excellent personal bests, made significant progress, often overcoming personal challenges, and the School congratulates all students for their drive and commitment. When Progress 8 scores are published we will know which students have made the most progress – they may not be the ones with the highest grades!
Over the next few weeks we will be poring over our results to see if there are any lessons to learn. Our new staff appointments will provide a much needed boost in those subject areas.
All the staff and governors at the School are extremely proud of our students’ and are looking forward to hearing of their future success beyond Sir Jim’s. The splendid grades we have seen this year represent the culmination of 11 years of hard work, and show that our School continues to build on the achievements of our fabulous primary school partners and prepares students well for the future challenges of apprenticeships, A-Levels, university and eventual careers.
Explaining the new 9 to 1 Grades - GCSE grades are changing
GCSEs in England are being reformed and will be graded with a new scale from 9 to 1, with 9 being the highest grade. English literature, English language and Maths will be the first subjects to be graded in this way from August 2017. The subjects with the highest numbers of candidates (e.g. arts, humanities, languages) will follow in 2018 and most others in 2019. This is happening as GCSEs are being reformed to make them more challenging, to keep pace with employers’ and universities demands.
In the first year each new GCSE subject is introduced, students who would have got a grade C or better will get a grade 4 or better. Students who would have got a Grade A or better will get a 7 or better in the first year. Grade 9 will be more difficult to achieve than a grade A*. The extra top grade will also make it easier for employers and universities to distinguish between the most able students.
To see how the numbered grades compare to the current A* to G system google “ofqual 9 to 1 postcard”. More information about when subjects will switch to the new grades is available on the Ofqual website here.
Revision and Exam Top Tips
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Assessment and Exam Anxiety
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