Anglia Ruskin Research Online (ARRO)
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If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try again: the case of GCSE resit students, teachers and policymakers in 2016-2017

posted on 2023-08-30, 17:50 authored by Joanne Bowser-Angermann
This research is an exploration into the D grade policy affecting current and future learners aged 16-19 in the post-16 sector in England. The research explores the effect of this policy in action. Current policy dictates that from 2014/2015 it is mandatory for all students aged 16-19, who have not achieved a grade A*-C (or grade 9 to 4 in the new style GCSE) in maths and/or English, must achieve these qualifications. This is an embedded single-case design with the aim to explore one local college’s experiences examining students and teachers experiences of a compulsory maths and/or English classroom. The data collected is through a range of methods to build a rich case study, which includes; detailed field notes, an online survey of students and teachers, unstructured interviews with teachers, unstructured group interviews with students and direct observations of classes. Vignettes are used to present analysis of the rich data collected. The rationale for the choice of vignettes was to show the critical incidents that were observed or recorded during the data collection period of the study. It was the use of the vignettes as primary foci that allowed strong themes to emerge, including; compliance, coercion, conflict, mindset and voice. There are battles for power taking place in classrooms: some students are subversive and refuse to assimilate or accommodate new learning. Consequences of imposing the D grade policy has resulted in a conflict between the policy’s intention and what individuals are experiencing in reality, a conflict that is reflected in both the students and teachers who are invisible. This further exacerbates the conflict in top-down pressure from the government’s policymakers, to senior leaders, to the teachers and students, who feel silenced and marginalised.



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