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Redbridge GCSE pupils felt the pressure of the new grading system

PUBLISHED: 14:53 24 August 2017 | UPDATED: 16:40 24 August 2017

Students sit their GCSEs. Picture Brighton College

Students sit their GCSEs. Picture Brighton College

PA Wire/PA Images

An A* grade student has spoken out against the new GCSE grading system.

Beal High School pupil, Shenel Mushtaq, despite doing well herself, wants to be a “voice” for all students in her year.

Young people picking up GCSE results this summer where the first cohort to receive number grading for maths and English and letter grades for all other subjects.

“It needs to be said, the new system put a lot of pressure on students,” she told the Recorder.

“I did ok, but others didn’t and I don’t think people appreciated how it affected our mental health”

“We feel like Guinea pigs.”

Suzanne Terrasse, Commissioning Editor at Maths – No Problem! said the piecemeal introduction of the grading system has lead to a lot of confusion amongst pupils teachers staff and employers.

“There is no doubt that the reformed GCSE exams are harder and they now contains material that was previously only in A level papers,” she said.

“Teachers and students have had only two years to prepare for this, which is simply not enough time.

“The pass grade is being described as either Level 4 or 5, but we know that some universities are already indicating that they will demand the level 5, certainly in core subjects.

“This devalues the level 4 and introduces yet another layer of uncertainty for students.”

Minister of state for school standards, Nick Gibb, congratulated students and said the 2017 cohort were well equipped for what lies ahead.

“The government’s new gold-standard GCSEs in English and maths have been benchmarked against the best in the world, raising academic standards for pupils,” he said

“These reforms represent another step in our drive to raise standards, so that pupils have the knowledge and skills they need to compete in a global workplace.

“The fruits of these reforms will be seen in the years to come, but already pupils and teachers are rising to the challenge with more than 50,000 top 9 grades awarded across the new GCSEs and more than two thirds of entries sitting the tougher English and maths exams securing a grade 4 or C and above - a standard pass.

Sukhjeet Padda of Seven Kings School achieved a mixture of A*s, As and B grades as well as an 8 in maths and a 9 in English.

He found the exams challenging.

“I was a bit confused by the new grading system” he said.

“It was a harsh jump, but i did better than expected.”

His co-pupil Shrujal Jain, said the maths module had no coursework and students had to sit long exams over three days.

“There was lots of pressure on students, especially over exam days,” she said.

Jessye Durrant of Beal said the change in system were “more intense with so much more to learn” while her fellow student Yusuf Chaudhry said English was hard but Maths was ok for him.”

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