Colleges are being given access to new students’ full GCSE exam marks for the first time in an effort to boost resit results, Tes can reveal.
The approach, which is being piloted in three colleges by awarding body Pearson, is designed to give colleges a clearer picture of new students' academic abilities. With the students' permission, colleges will be provided with a full, question-by-question breakdown of their GCSE English and maths exam results, immediately after their enrolment.
Pearson, the biggest exam board for GCSE maths, said it hoped that the move would help colleges to identify areas where students need to improve.
Lesley Davies, principal of Trafford College, in Greater Manchester, which is taking part in the pilot, said analysing students' results may reduce the burden on colleges of conducting diagnostic tests, and will allow them to put new, personalised programmes of study in place for resit students.
“Maths, in particular, is a subject in which a lot of students really do struggle,” Ms Davies said. “For the first six weeks, you are testing them and seeing how strong they are. They may struggle at geometry, they may not be good at algebra. Was [their exam result] a blip on the day, or do they need a bit more support?
“As long as we get students’ permission, we will be able to draw down the results on each of their papers and use them to diagnose where they’re starting from far more quickly, and use this knowledge to set an individualised programme of learning to see if we can really target their weak points earlier on. I would hope this will be rolled out by all awarding bodies, across all colleges.”
Fareham College, in Hampshire, and Barnet and Southgate College are also taking part in the pilot.
Focus on improvement
A Pearson spokesperson said: "Pearson is always looking at how to offer the best support to learners and work with our networks of schools, colleges and teachers to review this. We have been working hard to support colleges to offer the most appropriate support to those students who will be resitting the new 9-1 GCSE maths next year.
“In addition, we are working with a small group of colleges on a research project to explore how access to this data and support from our specialist teams can benefit learners and provide high-quality, tailored support to this group of young people. This includes making available (with the learner's consent) access to students' results and answers to individual questions and topics, where they have sat Pearson qualifications...This helps the students to really focus on the areas that they need to improve."