In 2017, awarding body Pearson, which runs the Edexcel GCSE exams, launched a pilot programme in three colleges designed to give teachers a clearer picture of their students’ numeracy and literacy ability.
The scheme provided colleges with a full, question-by-question, breakdown of the GCSE English and maths results for students who sat Edexcel exams. This gave college teachers a headstart in terms of knowing where their new students’ skills gaps might be.
Supplying this information saves staff a lot of time in start-of-term diagnostic exercises and allows colleges to start individualised learning plans for students much earlier. A spokesperson for Pearson says: “In the last 12 months we have continued to work closely with post-16 providers to better understand how we can support their incoming learners.
“We have seen particular success in our Access to Scripts service, enabling students to see their exam papers and understand where they had performed well and areas for improvement. Our focus is now on providing further tools, support and guidance for both our customers and their learners to continue this positive impact.”
Pearson, the biggest exam board for GCSE maths, adds that when it launched the pilot, it was hoped that the move would help colleges to identify areas where students need to improve. One of the pilot providers was Trafford College. Here, the college chose a group of school leavers who had achieved a grade C at school to see what improvement could be achieved.
The group of 25 students was split into three groups and taught by three different teachers. A control group of students, for whom previous results were not known but who had a similar profile, was also chosen. For students who sat Edexcel papers, English and maths teachers at the college made a diagnostic assessment quickly to create a personalised development plan. An assessment of the programme found that 40 per cent of students involved in the pilot improved their grades.