The brand new-style GCSE exams in England are probably the most troublesome for the reason that finish of O-levels within the 1980s, in response to an impartial faculty chief.
The primary outcomes of revised GCSEs in English and maths will likely be printed this week, with a grading system utilizing numbers from 9 to 1.
Barnaby Lenon, chairman of the Unbiased Faculties Council, says they’ll stretch probably the most ready college students.
However he urges universities to be cautious about utilizing the highest grade 9.
“Universities shouldn’t think about the excellence between an eight and a 9 price making till they’ve proof that it does point out one thing,” Mr Lenon writes in an article to be printed later this week.
“In any case, 95% would possibly get you a grade eight, 96-to-100% a grade 9. Does the grade 9 pupil have better mental capability and educational potential or are they merely higher at writing quick, or higher at checking for foolish errors?
“Solely time, and evaluation of outcomes, will inform.”
The brand new-style exams, starting with English and maths, will now not use coursework or modules, however will likely be graded on closing exams.
Mr Lenon predicted that colleges that had relied on coursework to spice up outcomes might “undergo a fall in grades this 12 months”.
He argues that coursework was an “unreliable measure” of capability, “a lot of it had little worth” and it might too simply be “influenced” by academics or mother and father.
There may even be modifications to the syllabuses to make them extra demanding.
Whereas a lot of the eye will likely be on the brand new grading system, Mr Lenon says it’s important to not miss the size of change for the qualification.
“They include questions of a degree of problem that we’ve not seen for the reason that abolition of O-levels in 1987,” says Mr Lenon.
That is meant to stretch pupils in England in order that they’ll meet up with the requirements of pupils in east Asia, he says.
But when the brand new exams present extra problem for probably the most gifted pupils, he says the influence on the common and decrease capability finish stays unsure.
“Elevating the bar” won’t essentially assist these pupils, he says, except they’ve the help to “soar greater”.
“It’s the high quality of instructing of much less ready or much less diligent pupils that can assist them to achieve their GCSEs.”
Head academics’ chief Geoff Barton stated that colleges could be involved about “volatility” within the outcomes of particular person colleges, under the floor of nationwide outcomes.
New exams ‘demanding’
Mr Barton, head of the ASCL head-teachers’ union, stated there ought to be warning about deciphering and evaluating the outcomes of such a unique type of GCSE.
Academics and pupils must modify to a unique type of qualification, he stated, and he warned towards folks “springing to judgement” over unanticipated outcomes.
John Blake, head of training on the Coverage Change assume tank, backed the modifications.
“These new GCSEs are demanding, and rightly so,” stated Mr Blake.
“The comparability with O-level is an efficient one – these had been designed for our most educational youngsters, and as we enhance our curriculum and our expectations of all our younger folks, it’s proper they be the benchmark for fulfillment.”
GCSE outcomes are to be printed on Thursday – together with the primary wave of latest 9-to-1 grades.
There have been warnings of confusion over numerical grading and questions on a system that can have two several types of cross grade – with grade four a “normal” cross and grade 5 a “robust” cross.
The Institute of Administrators warned final week that some employers may not perceive the brand new grades and would see them as “gibberish”.