Reforms to the GCSE grading system in England has created “large uncertainty” for faculties, the NASUWT union says.
The union says the brand new 9-1 GCSE grades will enhance the stress on pupils and slender the vary of academic alternatives for younger individuals.
The brand new grading system is being phased in from this summer season, beginning with maths and English, with grades 9-1 changing grades A*-G.
The federal government maintains the adjustments will drive up requirements.
However the NASUWT’s annual convention in Manchester heard that the introduction of a brand new grading system was inflicting pointless confusion, with unfavourable penalties for pupils and lecturers.
Paul Daly, a maths trainer at Whitworth Park faculty in Spennymoor, County Durham, mentioned pupils could be taking the brand new maths GCSE imminently, amid confusion about grade boundaries.
“We nonetheless have not bought our head round what the grade boundaries are as a result of no-one will present us with any.
“So we’re giving them mock exams after which telling them ‘we predict that your grade is perhaps a 4, or is perhaps a 5, or it is perhaps a six, or it could possibly be something as a result of we do not know as a result of we’ve not been instructed something about grade boundaries.
“All we all know is, in comparison with final 12 months, the marks are very, very low and only a few individuals are scoring very excessive marks within the exams.”
Mr Daly mentioned college students had been typically anxious and confused, and that low scores like 25% meant “a little bit of a counselling session goes on” after mock exams.
“You sit down with the children and also you attempt to make them really feel like truly they’re doing effectively, they’re working arduous and ‘I do know that final 12 months you’d have gotten a grade B, you are that type of scholar, you’d have gotten a grade B final 12 months.
“‘This 12 months I feel you are in all probability going to get a 5 however I’ve no clue as a result of I haven’t got any grade boundaries, I’ve nothing to guage it off, in order a lot as I need to make you’re feeling higher, I am unable to offer you any ensures.”
Claire Taylor from Woodlawn Particular Faculty, in North Tyneside, says her pupils, who’ve particular wants, won’t even be capable of entry the brand new exams.
“I’ve bought no younger one who is ready to take the present maths GCSE at current.”
This makes them “really feel completely different” from their friends, she says.
“They’re already struggling, given the truth that they’ve a studying incapacity or a bodily incapacity […] and they’re now standing out even farther from the group as a result of they cannot entry the identical sort of curriculum and the identical sort of alternatives and as different younger individuals throughout the training system.”
Chris Keates, normal secretary of the NASUWT, mentioned the adjustments – introduced in below Michael Gove when he was training secretary – had been pushed by “political crucial”, moderately than the wants of younger individuals.
“The federal government has persistently sought to painting GCSEs as ‘damaged’ and ‘dumbed down’ as a way to push via its imaginative and prescient of an elitist, narrowly targeted curriculum and system which dangers failing to satisfy the wants of the vast majority of younger individuals.
“The adjustments to examination grading have created large uncertainty for pupils, lecturers, dad and mom and employers which shall be tough for faculties to handle.
“Faculties already buckling from extreme workload at the moment are going through much more bureaucratic reform and younger individuals, already experiencing rising charges of hysteria and psychological ailing well being, will face even better stress to carry out.”
The Division for Schooling says its GCSE reforms will create “gold-standard ” that match one of the best training techniques on the planet and permit younger individuals to compete in an more and more world office.
It says it’s working carefully with the colleges to make sure they perceive what the adjustments will imply.