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Indicative Grades FAQs

Any reference to grades in the Pearson Progression Services is not to be used as an accurate indicator of how a student will be awarded a grade for their GCSE exams. This is because:

The Pearson Progression Scale, made up of 12 Steps, is not an accurate predictor of grades. However, teachers have told us that mapping to indicative grades, in this case using our criteria referenced Pearson Progression Scale, makes it simpler for teachers to accumulate the evidence to formulate their own grade predictions, apply any interventions and track student progress.

Our Pearson Progression Scale is criterion referenced. If a student can perform a task or demonstrate a skill, we say they are working at a certain Step according to the criteria. Teachers can mark assessments and issue results with reference to these criteria which do not depend on the wider cohort in any given year. For GCSE exams all Awarding Organisations set the grade boundaries with reference to the strength of the cohort in any given year.  For more information about how Edexcel set grade boundaries, go to:

https://qualifications.pearson.com/en/support/support-topics/results-certification/understanding-marks-and-grades.html/Teacher

 

Q: Your Scale has 12 steps. Why does it not have 9 steps to align with the new GCSE 9-1 grading structure?

Q: How were the Steps in the Pearson Progression Service designed?

Q: How will the Steps in the Pearson Progression Service help me formulate GCSE grade predictions?

Q: How have the Steps been mapped to indicative grades (9-1)?

Q: Will the indicative grades mapping change after reformed GCSEs have been awarded for the first time in 2017?

Q: Will the Progression Maps change as you do the mapping work? 

Q: Will Pearson be accountable for any grade predictions made using the Steps and indicative grade mapping?

Q: How is the awarding of GCSE grades different to the Pearson Progression Scale?

Q: Can I use the Steps in the Pearson Progression Scale at Key Stage 3?

  

Q: Your Scale has 12 steps. Why does it not have 9 steps to align with the new GCSE 9-1 grading structure?

The steps relate to granular stages in the development process, these steps make more sense when understanding the progress a student is making over the years for specific subjects.  We have kept these and mapped the Steps to indicative grades as:

  • because of the way in which grades are awarded, it is likely the mapping will change over time as more information is available. Keeping the Steps mapped to indicative grades means we can update the mapping itself making any updates as smooth and painless as possible for schools, teachers, students and SLT
  • schools' policies on how they show progress to students and parents vary. We have created the mapping so that schools can view the indicative grades internally. It also provides flexibility to the schools as to how they share this with students and parents.

  

Q: How were the Steps in the Pearson Progression Service designed?

 When designing the Pearson Progression Service, we wanted the emphasis to be on student progression and performance based on mastery and understanding of the learning. We looked at the learning process across Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4. In collaboration with education experts, we broke down an academic year's worth of learning into topics, sub-topics and learning objectives. This year’s worth of learning became ‘a step’ on our Scale. Each Step is tailored to show where a student is within that Step and if they are on course with their learning.  Every learner is different: they progress and develop at different rates from their peers.

  

Q: How will the Steps in the Pearson Progression Service help me formulate GCSE grade predictions?

We are mapping the Steps in the Scale to indicative GCSE grades (9-1). This mapping is for guidance only to support teacher led predictions of progress.

 

Q: How have the Steps been mapped to indicative grades (9-1)?

 We have approached the mapping as if the grades were allocated based upon increasing challenge and demand, in the same way as the Steps, not on the proportional allocation of grades which will be used in the final external examination. Grading in the external examination will be based upon student performance across the cohort. 

 

Q: Will the indicative grades mapping change after reformed GCSEs have been awarded for the first time in 2017?

Quite possibly, yes. The current mapping is our best guess with all of the information that we have available. When reformed GCSEs are awarded for the first time in 2017 grades will be allocated based on performance of the whole cohort and not on grade boundaries. The proportion of students achieving a grade is based on a percentage of students and will shift depending upon the skill set of the cohort not necessarily on the absolute performance. Changes to national subject entry patterns and performance will cause these estimates to continue to change in future years. We will continually update our Progression Maps, the Scale and indicative grade mapping to reflect this.

 

Q: Will the Progression Maps change as you do the mapping work?

Quite possibly, yes. The Progression Maps may be updated based upon feedback from teachers and consultants during the mapping process. When a new version is ready we will notify our users.

 

 Q: Will Pearson be accountable for any grade predictions made using the Steps and indicative grade mapping?

No. Use of the Progression Maps, Scale and indicative grade mapping is at the discretion of the school. Pearson does not claim that attainment against the Progression Scale will be representative of how a student will be awarded a grade for their GCSE exams.

 

Q: How is the awarding of GCSE grades different to the Pearson Progression Scale?

Our Pearson Progression Scale is criterion referenced. If a student can perform a task or demonstrate a skill, we say they are working at a certain step according to the criteria. Teachers can mark assessments and issue results with reference to these criteria which do not depend on the wider cohort in any given year.

For GCSE exams all Awarding Organisations set the grade boundaries with reference to the strength of the cohort in any given year.  For more information about how this works please visit:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/setting-standards-for-new-gcses-in-2017

  

Q: Can I use the Steps in the Pearson Progression Scale at Key Stage 3?

Yes. The Steps will continue to be useful throughout both Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 to support you to track student progress, accumulate the evidence to formulate your own grade predictions and apply any interventions.

  

We welcome your feedback

If you have any questions or comments please do get in touch with us via the Progression Services email address: progressionscale@pearson.com.  

 

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