I used to read books to help me go to sleep at night now I read government reports and it works a treat!! Sometimes however you come across some information that is genuinely useful – this week I came across some transition matrices from key stage 2 to GCSE – they basically show what each KS2 level attained at GSCE in terms of raw numbers of students. Below you will see the ones from Summer 2016 showing the old A*-G GCSE. I’ve left in the notes so that you can see for yourself the difference between state-funded and state-funded mainstream … there isn’t a great deal in it to be honest in terms of numbers when we’re talking about half a million kids.

Below is the one that I know lots of you will be interested in … the transition matrix from KS2 to the new 9-1 GCSE for 2017. It would appear that the DFE seem to have changed the title of  U/No entry  in 2016 to just “No entry” in 2017. This is a bit misleading unless no students got a “U” in 2017 … and we know that didn’t happen. Naughty, Naughty!!  

One interesting note to point out is that because of the “squishing” of grades D,E,F and G into grades 1,2 and 3 (more below) it means that there are in real terms less students that got a 3 and so HAVE to resit GCSE rather than a level 1 qualification than there were getting a grade D in 2016. In reality though I know this won’t be the case because most FE/Post-16 places will still get students to resit GCSE but possibly over a longer period of time. 

The awarding profile for the total cohorts in 2016 and 2017 looks like the below. There is quite an “uncomfortable” shift between the 6 and 7 in 2017 which is down to the way the “same proportions” were maintained and then the interim grades were awarded.

I’ve taken the above information and worked out the percentages each KS2 level achieved for both years … and I suspect that these are the most useful bits of information when faced with students of differing prior attainments. Remember not to limit what you think students can achieve based on their prior attainment … sometimes I hear comments like “oh if X gets a grade Y that’ll be good for them!” and it sounds very limiting … I’d love to live in a world where all the students thought they were capable of achieving whatever they set their mind to! 

We have to remember that to ensure students were not disadvantaged, essentially broadly the same proportions at grades a 1+ (G+) , 4+ (C+) and 7+ (A+) were maintained and form the below you can see how the grades D,E,F,G have become grades 1, 2 and 3 … so assuming the same performance of students we have 4 grades being “squished” into 3 grade bands. The effect of this is that a higher percentage were awarded the lowest grade available i.e. a 1 than would have been awarded the lowest grade available under the A*-G system. Its unavoidable I suppose but still doesn’t feel right … it is what it is! Additionally, you can also clearly see the impact of the grades B and C being split into 3 new grades 4,5 and 6 and the A and A* being split into 3 new grade bandings too

I couldn’t help myself and also produced the below which may or may not be useful.  I’ve tried not to draw too many conclusions from the data but would love to know what you guys think … thoughts below in the comments section please!!