Reforms to the GCSE grading system in England has created “big uncertainty” for colleges, the NASUWT union says.
The union says the brand new 9-1 GCSE grades will enhance the strain on pupils and slim the vary of academic alternatives for younger individuals.
The brand new grading system is being phased in from this summer season, beginning with maths and English, with grades 9-1 changing grades A*-G.
The federal government maintains the adjustments will drive up requirements.
However the NASUWT’s annual convention in Manchester heard that the introduction of a brand new grading system was inflicting pointless confusion, with damaging penalties for pupils and lecturers.
Paul Daly, a maths trainer at Whitworth Park faculty in Spennymoor, County Durham, mentioned pupils can be taking the brand new maths GCSE imminently, amid confusion about grade boundaries.
“We nonetheless have not bought our head round what the grade boundaries are as a result of no-one will present us with any.
“So we’re giving them mock exams after which telling them ‘we predict that your grade is likely to be a 4, or is likely to be a 5, or it is likely to be a six, or it may very well be something as a result of we do not know as a result of we’ve not been instructed something about grade boundaries.
“All we all know is, in comparison with final 12 months, the marks are very, very low and only a few individuals are scoring very excessive marks within the exams.”
Mr Daly mentioned college students have been typically anxious and confused, and that low scores like 25% meant “a little bit of a counselling session goes on” after mock exams.
“You sit down with the youngsters and also you attempt to make them really feel like really they’re doing properly, they’re working exhausting and ‘I do know that final 12 months you’ll have gotten a grade B, you are that form of pupil, you’ll have gotten a grade B final 12 months.
“‘This 12 months I believe you are in all probability going to get a 5 however I’ve no clue as a result of I haven’t got any grade boundaries, I’ve nothing to guage it off, in order a lot as I need to make you’re feeling higher, I can not provide you with any ensures.”
Claire Taylor from Woodlawn Particular College, in North Tyneside, says her pupils, who’ve particular wants, is not going to even be capable to entry the brand new exams.
“I’ve bought no younger one who is ready to take the present maths GCSE at current.”
This makes them “really feel completely different” from their friends, she says.
“They’re already struggling, given the truth that they’ve a studying incapacity or a bodily incapacity […] and they’re now standing out even farther from the group as a result of they cannot entry the identical kind of curriculum and the identical kind of alternatives and as different younger individuals throughout the schooling system.”
Chris Keates, common secretary of the NASUWT, mentioned the adjustments – introduced in beneath Michael Gove when he was schooling secretary – had been pushed by “political crucial”, reasonably than the wants of younger individuals.
“The federal government has persistently sought to painting GCSEs as ‘damaged’ and ‘dumbed down’ with a view to push by means of its imaginative and prescient of an elitist, narrowly targeted curriculum and system which dangers failing to satisfy the wants of the vast majority of younger individuals.
“The adjustments to examination grading have created big uncertainty for pupils, lecturers, dad and mom and employers which can be tough for colleges to handle.
“Faculties already buckling from extreme workload at the moment are going through much more bureaucratic reform and younger individuals, already experiencing rising charges of tension and psychological unwell well being, will face even larger strain to carry out.”
A Division for Training spokesman mentioned the brand new GCSEs would offer “extra rigorous content material” and the brand new grading system offered “larger stretch” for the very best performers.
“These adjustments will assist younger individuals to compete with the very best on this planet and ship the abilities that employers inform us they want.
”Nothing has modified with regard to varsities being held to account for the proportion of kids reaching a robust move and we’re working with Ofqual to help lecturers as we implement the brand new system.”