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Achieving grade 9

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by bramblesarah, Oct 22, 2019.

  1. bramblesarah

    bramblesarah Occasional commenter

    Hi all,
    I currently work as a part-time Maths tutor and part-time LAC teacher. I am qualified secondary maths teacher. When I worked in schools I didn't have a top set year 11 class (always taught by the HOD) and as such have never taught a student who has achieved a grade 9. I tutored a boy last year who got a 9 in his mock but then only got a grade 7 overall. I have a few students this year who want to achieve a grade 8/9. My question is what do these students need to do to achieve this grade in your opinion? I thought that grade 9 is for great mathematicians who can use what they have been taught and apply in it new ways. Therefore this is difficult to teach other than giving the students lots of experience with these kinds of questions and coaching the students to try to brake down the question. In addition what topics do you think these students need more help with? The two that spring to mind are Frustums and the harder ratio questions which involve setting up algebraic equations. Any general advice how to teach the very brightest students and perhaps a way of telling students that dispite what there target grade is they are never going to get a 9 in a month of Sunday's!
  2. adamcreen

    adamcreen Occasional commenter

    Grade 9, like the old A* (and the current A* at A Level), is difficult to predict. The only thing that provides any certainlty is a student who regularly gets 90% or more in all topic tests, mock papers and practice papers. The vast majority of questions on the Higher paper are accessible to grade 8 and 9 students, though there will usually be 1 per paper that is extra taxing and will separate out the top end.
    For an able student, half the battle of getting 90%+ is to not make mistakes earlier on. I reviewed the papers of all our students who missed 7, 8 or 9 by a few marks. The reason they missed it was because of silly errors in the easier questions.
    So try to look at a whole paper the student has done and find what basic misconceptions they may still have. It's not about specific topics (remember, no topic has an "official" grade) but about encouraging them to attempt every single question, however hard it looks.
    afterdark and Piranha like this.
  3. bramblesarah

    bramblesarah Occasional commenter

    Thank you very much for this, that is the approach I take with students who are aiming for a 4/5/6 so it totally makes sense that they same is said for the brightest pupils. Thanks also for the 90%+ indicator the issue I have is the students will then ask how they can get 90%+.
  4. Alexdiver

    Alexdiver New commenter

    Hard Work
    Hard Work
    Hard Work

    they put the hours in so they get the understanding of why rather than just answering millions of standard questions.

    grade8/9 students are able to access the questions that bring in multiple parts of the spec as they have a greater level of comfort behind them rather than the more standard “crossover - hate that term” questions
  5. strawbs

    strawbs Established commenter

    As @adamcreen says, there are no "grade 9" topics. However, there are things you could focus on, for example the crossover of one topic into another - eg algebraic manipulation in a shape/probability question come to mind. The "Hannah's sweets" question from a couple of years ago springs to mind - kids were protesting in their droves about how unfair that question was, whereas every teacher I know went "oh wow, great question to get your teeth into".
    This website is good for the "extra stuff that came in the new spec" that you may not be familiar with, much of it is the harder stuff: https://www.resourceaholic.com/p/new-gcse-support.html
  6. bramblesarah

    bramblesarah Occasional commenter

    Thanks you this. I think I only really have 1 student who is genuinely interested in the why and asks really good questions. The rest are just like teach me how to get a grade 9 and I very quick to say I don't know to anything slightly different. I find they often just go through the motions they just regurgitate a 'method' they have seen before. Do you think it is possible for those kinds of students to get a 9? I will work with them more on there attitude and maybe ask them to explain why they have taken a certain approach.
  7. NoSuchThingAsNormal

    NoSuchThingAsNormal New commenter

    I am repeating pints made above...

    Students need to work on the areas that cost them marks.

    If they can fluently and accurately answer every question on all the past 9-1 papers (if studying Edexcel, do AQA as well etc.), then they will have a good chance.

    If students understand why the approaches that they used work, then they will have an even better chance.
  8. bramblesarah

    bramblesarah Occasional commenter

    Yes that totally makes sense now you have said it. It so obvious but will definely use the phrase 'fluently and accurately' with them. That we the difference with the boy I tutored last year some papers he could answer all the questions but some he couldn't and it was the lack of consistency.

    Thank you so much everyone for your replies it really makes a difference as now work in different settings I don't usually come across other Maths teachers to pick their brains. Sometimes something is only really obvious after someone says it to you!

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