GCSE Science – Performance Tables

Watch how the numbers add up

In those heady days of August when the results come through – what do you look for first?  A*-C percentage?  A* percentage?  Which members of the ‘intervention group’ made the grade? Your own teaching group’s grades?  The grade achieved by the non too industrious offspring of a colleague? Which of these will determine whether the new school year starts with a spring in the step or a heavy footfall?

Perhaps best to be aware then, that when the School & College Performance Tables are published by the DfE at the end of this term they’re going to look a bit different.  Along with other EBacc qualifying subjects, science is set for a starring role.  The ‘two science’ figures will feature in a number of guises (including, of course, those doing separate sciences); they will show the proportion of the year group that were entered and what proportion gained A*-C.  There will also, however, be a ‘Science Value Added’ score.  VA scores will also be published for languages and humanities as well as English and maths; the stated intention of the DfE is to “show the progress that schools have helped their pupils make” in each EBacc curriculum area.  Now, this could have quite an impact; it’ll certainly put a premium on tracking data.  Look around the classroom – which of the students are making good progress?  A particular student might look a safe bet for a grade C, but will that show good progress from KS2?

Progress indicators are more problematical than outcomes but they can really show where teachers are making a difference.  More credit for getting a L4 student at KS2 to a B at GCSE than a L5 student.  It’s hard to argue with that (at least until the way of identifying the starting point is revealed).

Ed Walsh
Science Advisor with Cornwall Learning

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