Reward a D-G grade for what it is - a pass

24th June 2011 at 01:00

The education secretary's intention to increase the floor standard to 50 per cent of pupils achieving "five good GCSEs by 2015" ("Gove forces academy switch on primaries", 17 June) might seem a laudable aim. And with smaller classes and one-to-one tuition, improvements in pupil behaviour, and increased support and motivation from parents, more children could achieve grade C or above.

However, how will such a substantial increase in GCSE passes be achieved? Will there be a lowering of the standard of the grade C, or some miraculous transformation in pupil performance? Whichever option is attempted, the media is likely to portray any improvement in results as a lowering of standards.

It is unrealistic to expect that every child is capable of achieving grades A*-C at GCSE. Many children work very hard to achieve grades D-G, and we must not lose sight of the fact that these are still pass grades.

How do we allow teachers to be creative and inspirational in a politically enforced regime that encourages teaching to the test and ticking targets?

The whole assessment system needs to be transformed, with more teacher and ongoing assessment, a greater range and type of subjects on offer to inspire pupils, parity between vocational and academic qualifications and an end to the constraints of the pointless EBac.

Ian Toone, Senior professional officer (education), Voice: the union for education professionals, Derby.

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