GCSE pass grade confusion deepens: EBacc requires grade 4 for pupils but grade 5 for schools

The TES reports that teaching union brands Department for Education decision to have two different grades for judging the EBacc as “nonsense.”

Confusion over new GCSE pass grades has deepened, as the government revealed there would also be two separate “passes” for the English Baccalaureate – one for schools and another for pupils.

With just seven weeks before exams begin – education secretary Justine Greening tried to provide “clarity” around the new numerical 9-1 grades for GCSEs.

She announced that grade 4 will be the “standard pass” and grade 5 – originally due to be a “good pass” – will be deemed a “strong pass”.

Now the Department for Education has told Tes that from this summer schools will be judged to have met the EBacc according to percentages of pupils who achieve grade 5s in English and maths.

But the situation will be different for individual pupils. “In terms of achieving the EBacc, a pupil will have done so if they get a 4 in English and Maths, not a 5,” a DfE spokesperson said.

Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said: “To have two different levels – one accountability measure for schools and another for pupils – is nonsense. 

Suzanne O’Farrell, curriculum and assessment specialist at the Association of School and College Leaders, added: “You can’t have a pupil achievement in EBacc with a 4 and a school achievement in EBacc with a 5. That seems a bit confusing.”

More at GCSE pass grade confusion deepens: EBacc requires grade 4 for pupils but grade 5 for school

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  1. Stevius

    The students don’t really care if they have EBacc or not – they need the individual grades to move to their next stage of study/training/work. To have 2 different standards is therefore pointless and illogical.

  2. Yet another ‘measure’ which disadvantages schools working in the most challenging areas with the most challenged students. The concept is utter nonsense resulting from the dogmatic approach to a 1-9 grading for only 2 subjects with little understanding of how they would relate to GCSE’s.

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