Sorry, your qualification isn’t good enough anymore

So this evening I was talking to a secondary teacher friend about many things, but among those was the general uncertainty about GCSE changes, what constitutes a ‘good’ GCSE, conditions of funding in Sixth Form and the like.

Then it hit me.

There are going to be literally hundreds of thousands of young people with worthless qualifications.

And I’m not meaning a “oh your C grade isn’t really up to the standard of an old C Grade and more” kind of worthless. I mean the directly comparable this isn’t the required standard any more worthless.

Because there will be Student X who get a grade 4 after leaving secondary in 2017, or 2018. Great, well done student X, the world is your oyster. You have achieved the minimum standard in Maths. You can go study English at Sixth form, and Politics and History and go and get your 1st at university and apply for a job. And see the words:

GCSE Grade 5 in Maths required.

Because now the government says this is the minimum standard.

Poor student X you think, but hey, they have a degree! I’m sure any employer worth their salt will consider that to be more important than some GCSE from years back. And maybe thats the case. Maybe. But tell that to the History or Art graduates from the early 2000s who had to take extra Maths courses to be teachers.

What about Student? Student Y works really hard in 2018 but doesn’t get her 4, she in fact gets a 3. But she has decent results elsewhere and gets into a local college on a BTEC programme. They put her through GCSE even if she doesn’t want to, because its a condition of funding. Student Y is  late bloomer and she pulls it off! she gets a 5. Life is good and just. The hard working are rewarded. In fact she now has a better grade than her friend, Student Z, who has a 4 from school. They want to apply for apprenticeships in 2020 after getting their BTECs and Student Z is left in the cold as he doesn’t have the 5.

Because now the government says this is the minimum standard.

What about Student Q. Student Q takes GCSE in 2017 and gets a 4. She looks ahead and realises that the standard will go up by the time she has finished uni and so asks if she can retake her GCSE. Turns out she can’t, because she has the minimum and there’s no funding for retaking a level 2 when you already meet the minimum. So she struggles through a Level 3 Maths course for a year and fails. The content is too much. All this algebra she has never seen before because it was on Higher tier and she entered for Foundation. Does she try again in the second year?

What. A. Mess.

Not sure of an answer, but does anyone else feel like this has been overlooked in the mess that GCSE reform has been?

This entry was posted in Assessment, General Maths Thoughts. Bookmark the permalink.

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