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Tiering in the GCSE: a children's rights perspective

Barrance, Rhian ORCID: 2021. Tiering in the GCSE: a children's rights perspective. British Educational Research Journal 46 (6) , pp. 1210-1231. 10.1002/berj.3629

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This paper presents findings on students’ views and experiences of tiering in Northern Ireland and Wales from a children’s rights perspective. It considers the extent to which the current system of tiering fulfils the provisions in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, including the rights to education, best interests, non-discrimination, and participation. It emphasises that while the majority of students were supportive of tiering, their responses highlighted a range of negative effects for students taking foundation tier. Students described the impact of being placed in the foundation tier on their self-esteem and relationship with their peers, indicating that being allocated to foundation tier can have a labelling effect. Students who were taking foundation papers, or a mixture of foundation and higher tier papers, were more likely than those taking higher tier papers to report that they wanted to change tier and to raise issues overall regarding tiering. Furthermore, students who were faced with these difficult choices often had a poor understanding of tiering. The paper argues that alternative forms of differentiation should be considered, and presents students’ perspectives on some of these. It argues that we must ensure that young people have a good understanding of tiering and that their views and experiences of tiering are be taken into account when considering further reforms to GCSEs, to ensure that any methods used respect the rights of all students.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods (WISERD)
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0141-1926
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 21 April 2020
Date of Acceptance: 20 April 2020
Last Modified: 05 May 2023 08:29

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