In a major change, the Department for Education has announced that schools will only be able to include grades achieved at the first attempt in future GCSE league tables. This is from the Telegraph…
The reforms will initially cover the core academic subjects such as maths, English and science before being extended to other disciplines.
It is intended to crack down on the practice of entering pupils for GCSEs a year or two early and taking multiple exams in the same subject to boost their grades.
Currently, many pupils are encouraged to take exams at 14 or 15 in an attempt to “bank” a C grade – considered a good pass – and then move on to other subjects in the final year.
It also gives teenagers more opportunity to retake the exam if they fail to do well at the first attempt, with some pupils sitting the same subject up to eight times.
But data shows that children who take exams at 15 or under are less likely to do well.
Just over half of early entrants gained A* to C grades in English last year compared with more than two-thirds of exams taken by 16-year-olds, it emerged.
The DfE insist that the latest reforms will put pressure on schools to only enter pupils for GCSEs “when they are confident the student has the best opportunity to succeed”.
…Under new rules, schools will be required to include pupils’ first attempt at a GCSE in their official rankings – shunning any subsequent exams taken in the same subject.
The change takes immediate effect for all subjects covered by the English Baccalaureate – a league table measure that marks out pupils with good grades in English, maths, science, foreign languages and history or geography. It covers the 2013/14 academic year and will affect next summer’s results.
The reforms will cover other subjects such as art, music, drama, design and technology, computing and religious education a year later.
What do you think of this change in policy and what impact do you think it will have on schools’ approaches to GCSEs and re-sits? Please share in the comments or on twitter…