Last week saw details emerge on the new GCSE reforms, in particular plans to introduce a new grade (9) for exceptional students, halving the number of students obtaining the previous highest grade of A*. Full details of this new grade and of the reforms in general can be read in this article by the BBC.
As advisers, this will no doubt be another twist and turn to get our heads around. But we will manage. Working alongside, or in close contact with, educators it will soon become our new ‘norm’. But the last 20 years have seen pretty much constant tinkering to our exams system which will necessarily lead to confusion. Having spent a large part of the last 12 years working with vocational students, I can really appreciate the difficulty of explaining and even justifying ‘new’ qualifications and grading systems to potential employers, who are necessarily much slower to get their heads around the changes (I’m not talking about the ‘bigger’ employers here – the grad recruiters and those recruiting for formalised school leaver schemes or apprenticeships will no doubt become well versed in the changes. But your SMEs, your local family run businesses…..).
And, of course, for the students themselves, particularly those that are faced with the unenviable situation of going through the first few transitional years of this new grading system. Those at the lower end of a system which is extending outwards toward ‘exceptional’, I suspect will be at risk of feeling further from success than ever before.