We here at Howden School have recently been introduced to the new progress points. Progress points are a new way of formative feedback that marks your work, assessments and your test papers, but it has become very different from what the usual letter and number levels were.
The new progress points have been traveling round most of the East Riding now. But the real question is: why change the system?
Before the progress points were released we had the simple letter levels system (e.g. 6c, 5b, 4a). This was still a marking and recording scheme but it was easier because of everyone being common with it. In my opinion I found it so much easier since I was getting taught it at year 1-2.
The government, as you know changed the national curriculum from levels as they felt they were no longer suitable. Apparently, the levels were changed because the parents could not understand how much progress their child has made. I personally think that is not entirely true since my mum understood them and I’m sure many others did too. Also in my view it doesn’t matter how many times you explain to parents it doesn’t always mean they want to know, so if they don’t want to know they will take no interest. You can only learn if you want to. I think that it is not the levels with the problem always; it can sometimes be the adults.
As part of my investigation I asked a number of people their opinions on progress points (whether they like, don’t like or haven’t made their minds up about them yet). From my results it was said that 50% of students admitted their hatred of progress points. I also recorded a separate survey for teachers in general, it was recorded that 7 liked, 6 disagreed and 4 have not decided yet whether they think they are a good idea or not.
I have also asked a few people for their full opinion. One of my friend’s, Maia, had said that ‘it’s very difficult to understand and sometimes you feel like you’re below target most of the time because of the numbers being quite small.’
Many people disagree because they’ve been learning that levels system for around seven years and now all that has changed also it’s become hard to concentrate sometimes because your worrying about getting in trouble(even though you won’t, you’re only thinking that because you might work up everything in your head ) for getting it wrong.
It is also annoying because now you have to teach parents a whole new system.
I believe that even though one more teacher out of the survey liked progress points that it must have been difficult at first because the teachers will have been stressed because they have to go into their extra time to change all levels to progress points which could make them a bit tired for not getting enough sleep.
Also, recently the way GCSEs are graded have changed from A*-U to 9-1. This is also a confusing time for the people who have to sit a 9-1 GCSE because they’re supposed to be focused on A*-U since they have been learning and hearing it from maybe older friends/sibling or parents. It could also be difficult in the future since the government are going to make the GCSEs harder, so it would be harder to get a 9 or even a good pass (5). It will also make it difficult for employees and other important people to get used to the new system and make sure that their students are focused; all whilst they figure out the true grades and make sure everyone knows what to do. Essentially they will have to take control, making sure the students all know what they’re doing and that the teachers know what they’re doing too.
Written by Rachel, BBC School News Reporter
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