Register to attend our webinar on Tuesday 4 December to find out more about what happened this summer. It will cover the changes made to grade boundaries on the Higher tier and tier choice implications for 2019. Book your place today.
If you had significant numbers of students on the Higher tier who achieved a grade 3 this summer on single sciences, or 4-3 or 3-3 on combined sciences, we’d encourage you to look in detail at your entries and think about which tier students are entered for in 2019.
It’s likely that many of the students who got a 3 or a 4-3 or 3-3 in 2018 should have been entered for the Foundation tier and if they were to be entered for the Higher tier again next year they might be in danger of falling off the bottom of the tier and not getting a grade.
The new GCSE tiers cover a different range of grades in the new 9 to 1 structure. For the Higher tier, the new grade 5 (equivalent to the B/C boundary) is a better benchmark than the new grade 4 (the old C/D boundary).
Don’t be swayed by low grade boundaries – the demand of the questions is very different between papers – think about how your students will cope with the split of high, standard and low demand questions on each tier of the paper.
Use the common questions from this summer’s exam series and our specimen assessment materials (SAMs) to test how comfortable your students are with them. For students who are on the borderline, use additional standard demand questions from the Higher tier papers to help differentiate.
The new exams assess maths skills, so make sure you take your students’ abilities in this area into account. If tiering decisions went well in other departments, talk to your colleagues about the strategies they’ve used to make entry decisions.
With the removal of coursework, how well students grasp practical questions will have an effect on their performance at both tiers.
You know your students best and to help support your tiering decisions for 2019, we’ve put together a number of useful resources:
The entries deadline for GCSE exams next summer is 21 February 2019. However, you can change your tier of entry up to 21 April 2019 without paying any additional fees.