How to Understand the New GCSE Scoring System

A Guide to Understanding the New GCSE Scoring System and How it Affects Teachers

With GCSE results being released you may be concerned about how the new GCSE scoring system will affect teachers. Teachers and supply teachers in London will have to adapt their teaching approach to match the new curriculum, and marking systems will be set to change; meaning marking criteria’s will also receive a new makeover. This may seem like a hard transition for both students and teachers , but hopefully – with time – we will see the benefits of this new scoring system.

Why this change?

30 years on from the GCSE system we’ve all grown to… understand, and now there’s quite a dramatic change – the main one being from alphabetic grading A*-G to numerical grading 9-1. What teachers in London really want to know is why.

In short, the idea behind this change in marking is to provide differentiation across students’ results – namely the top scoring students. The prediction is that fewer students will achieve grade 9 than current A* levels, with the statistics suggesting that 20% of students that gained an A-A* grade would now hold the equivalent grade 9.

How it affects teaching jobs

This will of course, mean an adjustment for any tutor, teacher or supply teacher and with the first results of this new system coming to fruition we can start to see the effects that it will have on classroom teaching. Some of the effects new GCSE scoring will have on teachers include:

  • Curriculum changes –

With the GCSE changes come more focus on exams and less on coursework. This puts demand on both teacher and student to perform for one final exam

Exam factories –

This is a growing criticism amongst teachers and implies that the new system is ‘teaching to test’.

  • New marking criteria –

Teachers will have to adjust their marking strategy to reflect the new grading system, with more focus on written communication. However, the curriculum has been said to push more creative application in the sense of thinking around the subject.

  • Differing grading systems –

Teaching in the middle of this transition means that teachers have to adapt to both the new system and the old, two different grading systems across year groups may cause confusion.

Effects on students

How the new system affects students is a different story.  Issues of mental health have come to light recently, with complaints about exam stress rising teachers have criticised the effects of such a large change in the curriculum. The new GCSEs are said to be purposefully more challenging with more content to be learned, from reports of high anxiety to panic attacks, pressure in the classroom has been amplified past usual exam stress.

Supply teaching in London

If you’re thinking of becoming a supply teacher in London and find it daunting searching for teaching jobs in London, especially considering the new GCSE syllabus, then you could benefit from the support of World Class Teachers. Our service makes finding teaching jobs in London easy, with various events and outlets to connect with other supply teachers in London you can discuss with others ways to handle the new GCSE systems.

Register and submit your CV online today to start your search. If you need any more information about our supply teaching jobs in London then please don’t hesitate to call us on 0208 579 4501. Alternatively, you can contact us online, request a call back, or email us at teach@worldclassteachers.co.uk for advice on any teaching jobs in London.

 Read more

Do you spend more time managing behaviour than teaching? Are you at your wits’ end trying to control some of the children in your class?  These ten tips should help you gain control and get back to doing what you do best:  teach.

Rules

Rules are important to establish expectations of behaviour in the classroom.  Ideally, rules should be discussed and decided upon by the whole class, in order that the children understand why they’re needed.  They are more likely to abide by the rules if they are involved in writing them. Limit the number of rules to no more than 5 and make sure they are phrased positively. Rules should be clearly displayed and children reminded of them frequently.

Understanding the Behaviour

All behaviour happens for a reason and is a way for the child to communicate with us. We need to look beyond the behaviour to what’s driving it.  It’s important we address the causes of the challenging behaviour, rather than just managing it when it happens. By meeting the child’s needs, we can prevent it from happening again in the future.  Reflect on what happened and look for patterns by using an Antecedent-Behaviour-Consequence (ABC) chart.  Be proactive, rather than reactive.

Building a Relationship 

According to James Comer, “No significant learning happens without a significant relationship”. Having a positive relationship also encourages the children to behave appropriately, and will make your behaviour strategies more effective.  Use every opportunity to get to know the children; greet them as they come in, find time out of the classroom at break time and lunch time to chat, show an interest in them and their lives.  Your interest may be rejected at first; you need to be committed to building trust. Little and often works best.

Countdown 

A countdown is useful at the end of an activity, as it gives children time to finish what they’re doing.  For example, 5…. Finish the sentence you’re on, 4…. Put your pens down, etc.  This is especially important for children with additional needs or attachment issues as they find change and transition particularly difficult.  Countdowns are also useful for getting the children’s attention.  For example, “Give me 5” (show high 5 with your hand):  5… Eyes on me, 4 … Ears listening, etc.  A “High 5 hand” listing the steps can also be displayed on the wall.

Praise

The ‘Attention Rule’ states that what we give attention to, we will get more of. Children strive for our attention and if they’re not getting it for positive behaviour they will often resort to negative behaviour.  This means that effective praise is a really powerful strategy.  Make sure praise is genuine, immediate and labelled, e.g., “Well done for putting your hand up, Zach.”  Use proximity praise to make sure attention is given to those doing what you’ve asked; praise the ones lining up on either side of the child who isn’t. Praise the challenging children more often – spot the good. Use more subtle praise for those who find it hard to accept; thumbs up, pat on the back, wink.

Tactical Ignoring 

The Attention Rule also means that tactical ignoring works well to eliminate unwanted low-level behaviours, but it’s not easy.  Start by saying what you want; “Hands up, who knows…” then ignore those who are calling out.  Ignoring means no interaction; no glowering, raised eyebrows, tutting. The ignored behaviour will usually get worse before it gets better, as the child seeks the point at which you will give in.  You must continue to ignore until the behaviour stops, then make sure you look for the next opportunity to praise.

Secondary Behaviours 

These are the additional behaviours that children engage in, often in protest to doing something you’ve asked.  For example, putting their gum in the bin but kicking a chair on the way past, or rolling their eyes, or muttering under their breath.  They’re trying to get a response out of you but if they’re doing what you’ve asked, don’t rise to the provocation of any secondary behaviour; ignore it and use labelled praise for doing what you’ve asked them to do. You can always make a note of and address the secondary behaviour later.

Choices 

Using choices is a great way to get the behaviour you want, whilst teaching children to take responsibility for their actions. For example, “You can either put the football cards away in your drawer, or put them on my desk. It’s up to you, it’s your choice.” You could also add a consequence – make sure it’s logical –  which helps children learn that their choices have consequences and teaches them to make good choices, e.g. “You can either continue to play with your football cards and I will take them away until the end of the day, or you can put them in your drawer now and then take them out at break. It’s up to you, it’s your choice.”

‘When – Then’

‘When-Then’ is another great strategy for getting the behaviour you want, without nagging. However, the ‘Then’ must be something the child wants to do, e.g., “When you have finished that sentence, then you can go out to break”.  By using ‘When’ instead of ‘If’, there is an assumption that the child will do what they have been told to do and there is no room for argument. If the child does try to argue, just repeat the statement like a “broken record”.

Clear Instructions & Positive Language 

Often, the way we give instructions to children is not as clear as it could be.  Remember, children are usually very literal.  If we say to them, “Would you like to put your books away now?” they could quite easily say, “No.” Don’t phrase instructions as a question, simply say, “Put your books away, thank you.” Saying ‘thank you’ assumes compliance, whereas, ‘please’ sounds like you are asking and not necessarily expecting compliance.  When giving a child an instruction, use their name to ensure you have their attention.

Always use positive language; say what you want, not what you don’t want.  If you say, “Don’t run”, children hear ‘run’, so instead say, “Walk, please”.  Children are more likely to do what they hear you say, as mentioned above for rules.


We hope these tips are useful starters for taming the children in your class! Remember not to take it personally as all behaviour is for a reason.  Think about WHY the child is behaving the way they are.  It might be the only way they can think of to express their needs.  We need to understand them to make our behaviour management strategies most effective.

Check our website: https://www.behaviourmatters.org.uk/,  follow us on twitter: https://twitter.com/BehaviourM and facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BehaviourM/ for blogs and other information you might find useful or interesting.

Whether you’re a NQT or seasoned teacher,  we’ve compiled some of the most inspirational and influential must-follow education blogs. Offering insight and experience, you’re sure to learn a thing or two from these teaching professionals.

 Read more

In an address that will appeal to American and English teachers alike, Obama has recently addressed standardised testing calling for US schools to incorporate more creativity into the classroom and reduce the pressure associated with formal tests.

 If our kids had more free time at school, what would you want them to do with it?

A) Learn to play a musical instrument?

 

B) Study a new language?

 

C) Learn how to code HTML?

 

D) Take more standardized tests?

Take the quiz, then watch President Obama’s message about smarter ways to measure our kids’ progress in school.Posted by The White House on Saturday, October 24, 2015

 

Obama expressed his views on releasing students from the time required to prepare and sit for tests and redirect some of this activity toward creative expression and learning.

“When I think back on the great teachers in my life, what I remember isn’t the way they prepared me for a standardised test,” he says. “What I remember is the way they taught me to believe in myself, to be curious about the world, to take charge of my own learning so I could reach my own potential. To inspire me. To open up a window to parts of the world I had never thought of before.

“That’s what good teaching is. That’s what a great education is.”

Testing “takes the joy out of teaching and learning.”

In regard to how testing should be implemented he asserted that “they should be worth taking, they should enhance teaching and learning rather than taking up classroom time unnecessarily, and they should be one of many sources of information on a child’s ability”.

“Learning is about so much more than just filling in the right bubble,” the President said. “So we’re going to work with states, school districts, teachers and parents to make sure that we’re not obsessing about testing.”


 

What are your thoughts? Do we need to change the way students are assessed?

Follow WCT on Twitter and like WCT on Facebook for more stories like this.