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Tiering at GCSE: is there a fairer system?

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This paper outlines the difficulties with the current system of tiering in GCSE Mathematics exams, indicating both the problem of equality across tiers of the same grade and a particular problem in Mathematics, which with three tiers has a foundation tier on which it is not possible to gain a C grade.The authors outline a different system in which all candidates take basic papers on which all grades from G to C can be awarded and then an extension paper is available for the higher grades. This system has been tried out with a sample of pupils from a number of schools and a non-operational award was made. The authors describe the results of this and discuss potential difficulties with this system. Comparisons between the systems are made, showing that the established system of tiering is inherently unstable, while the proposed system, though not perfect, has much to commend it.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2001-06-01

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