Lower tiers do figure in tables

13th November 1998 at 00:00
The story "'Scandal' in maths blamed on tiering"(TES, October 16), contains a surprising inaccuracy. One paragraph states: "The pressure to enter candidates for the top tier (grades A to C) has increased because it is the only one that registers in the national league table of results." This is inaccurate.

The tiering structure in maths is as follows: highertop available grades A to C; intermediatemiddle available grades B to E; foundation available grades D to G If a candidate is entered at any of these tiers and fails to achieve one of the range of available grades he or she is then awarded a U.

The paragraph does not take into account the candidates achieving a grade B or C from the intermediate tier. These grades also count towards the league tables.

The rest of the article correctly points out that many students did become ungraded because they were entered for the wrong tier and generally sat a tier too demanding for them. The exam boards do, however, give guidelines as to the tier of entry best suited for the students and their predicted grade.

For example, a candidate predicted a C would be better doing the middle tier as opposed to the highest tier which may result in a U if they fail to achieve a grade C.

One of the most demoralising aspects of the agreed tiering system is that the weakest students who would be entered for the foundation tier cannot achieve a grade C.

Many of the students resent this and the motivation of such students for two years can become a hard task as the grade C is still seen as a pass; the rest are not.

I would like to see the grade C included in the available grades at the foundation level as this would help to give the weaker students an aim that they feel is worth striving for.

Jon Longstaffe 3 The Poplars Brogden Street Ulverston Cumbria

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