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Advice needed on GCSE English Foundation /Higher Tier Exams

Discussion in 'English' started by tally ho!, Jan 8, 2010.

  1. My son has just received his mock exam results in English- he is sitting on a D/C grade and his teacher has told him that he will be doing the Foundation paper next week. He has asked if he can do the higher paper as he needs a "B" grade for the sixth form he wants to go to. The fact he has been entered for the Foundation exam has never been mentioned to his father and myself even though we recently attended a parents evening.
    What will the implications be if he does the foundation paper and gets a C, or would he be able to do the higher paper? Any advice at such short notice would be gratefully appreciated as this is all very confusing.
     
  2. My son has just received his mock exam results in English- he is sitting on a D/C grade and his teacher has told him that he will be doing the Foundation paper next week. He has asked if he can do the higher paper as he needs a "B" grade for the sixth form he wants to go to. The fact he has been entered for the Foundation exam has never been mentioned to his father and myself even though we recently attended a parents evening.
    What will the implications be if he does the foundation paper and gets a C, or would he be able to do the higher paper? Any advice at such short notice would be gratefully appreciated as this is all very confusing.
     
  3. Depends on how D/C borderline he is. What has he got in his coursework? It's a gamble - I'd say (as a senior examiner for AQA) that the markers for Higher tend to be slightly more generous, but on the other hand you need a much lower score overall on the F paper to secure a C than you do on H. The risk is that if he misses the C with the H paper, unless he is within a few marks (in which case they will award a D), he will drop straight to a U. On the F paper he would probably still have got a C. I had two students this year who were C/D borderline and took the H tier as a gamble - they got Us. When we got the breakdown of marks, if they had scored exactly the same on the F paper they would have got a C. It's not a mistake I'll repeat.
     
  4. MLT

    MLT

    How do people decide who they enter for foundation and higher?

     
  5. baitranger

    baitranger New commenter

    As his work is D/E grade - he has probably been given "encouragement" marks - he should accept that he is unlikely to attain a B grade for GCSE English.
    If his mock exam has been marked to the correct standard, then he should still accept that he is unlikely to attain a grade B.
    It shouldn't make much difference to his chance of passing with a C if he takes Higher Tier.
    Why does he think that he knows better than his teacher? Needing a B grade is not the same as having the ability to attain it.

     
  6. sleepyhead

    sleepyhead New commenter

    I'm confused about the reference to next week...
    I agree with what Swallowtail (I think!) says about tiers - if it's got wrong, it can be very messy and unpleasant for the student.
    HOWEVER, I had a student last year who I was very unsure about. I wanted him in for foundation because I saw nothing that made me think he would get a C; he was adamant that he wanted to do H so he could get a B. We agreed to let him sit it at his own risk - making it clear that if he missed the C, he might well get U. In the end, he did get his C - but only just. The point I am trying to make is that you could insist that he does H tier - but I strongly recommend talking to his teacher about it, and asking whether he could have an H tier paper to have a go at to see what he gets.
     
  7. sleepyhead

    sleepyhead New commenter

    I mean to have a go at now, rather than in the summer. Does that make sense?
     
  8. Hi Swallowtail
    Thanks for all the advice you have given me - it has been much appreciated and extremely helpful in explaining his options and the probable reasons behind his teachers choice of exam tier.
     
  9. Hello Sleepyhead
    My son sat his exam on Monday.
    I found the advice given by Swallowtail on "Tiers" really helpful and advised my son accordingly.
    I did printed off some Higher Tier papers from the exam website for him to have a look at, and he has spoken to his teacher about having a go at the H paper to see what he could get. (This will be done after school).
    He is happy now that the options about F & H tiers have been made clear to him - and he/we are prepared to act on the advice his teacher has given him.
    I agree if he got a "U" on the higher tier it could be rather messy and unpleasant for him and I would like to avoid this.
     
  10. baitranger

    baitranger New commenter

    If he insists on taking Higher Tier he should be given a mock exam using a past Higher Tier paper.
    In my experience, children can confuse being entered for an exam with passing an exam : they sometimes have an unrealistic idea that they will attain a high grade without any evidence that they have the ability to achieve it.Often, they have been given clear advice by their teacher and their test and mock exam results show their work is below the required standard .
    Sometimes they say : "I know I can do it if I work hard" but are unable to explain why they haven't achieved the standard required so far.

     
  11. I have a middle set and the C/D kids have done the higher paper for their mock - only those who got a D and have Grade B coursework folders are going to do the Higher paper in June. It's too much of a risk otherwise - after all, I tailored my pre-mock teaching because I knew which paper they were doing! When they do the real thing, it'll be a paper I haven't seen and they'll have been on Study Leave a couple of weeks.
    Why does he need a B? Is it for the college or the course? I have a couple of boys who are Grade A students in Maths and Science but borderline for English - they only need a C in English to do A'Levels so long as they get their As and Bs in their chosen subjects. The others are borderline or C students across the board and so not suited to A' Levels, anyway.
    If your son gets a C or better in the mock (even though final grades only go up to C, the mark scheme will go up to A* for each question), and he has a solid B grade coursework folder, you may have a case. Otherwise, I'd go with the teacher's advice.
     
  12. baitranger

    baitranger New commenter

    This is an understandable course of action but it does lead to higher marks than would otherwise be expected. Of course it is important to encourage pupils so that they don't feel totally demoralised by their mock results but there is a danger that a borderline D grade candidate can attain a borderline C or above, which may be misleading.
    Coursework grades are often a subject of debate : a school's internal moderation methods can sometimes "miss" very "generous" marking, particularly for oral work.
     
  13. True, baitringer, but I feel I have to do this because we do mocks in December and I don't teach for Paper 1 until after the Feb half term. I have to prepare them for a Paper 1 and a Lit paper, so have to make sure I've covered enough to get them through the paper they are going to sit. That said, I make sure the material is completely different.
     
  14. Hi Pink Ruby,
    My son wants to go to a local grammar school to do Sixth Form and they are asking for 6 "B's".
    His teacher has told him to do the English Foundation Exam and then he can do the Higher Tier paper at the end of year. I also explained to him at the time that his teacher has probably adapted her planning and teaching according to what Tier he would be taking in his recent exam.
    At the moment he's sitting on A- Sports Science & A - ICT (BTEC), B- Maths; B - Double Science, B Graphics, C - Community Studies; but he is C/D English. When visiting the school he was told that needs a B in English - I think this is because he is considering studying A-level Politics as one of his subjects next year. I dont know if his application will be given much weight with the BTEC's as they're vocational and not academic and competition is stiff!
    There is a Parent/Sixth Form evening at his present school later this week so I can speak to his teacher about this in a bit more detail. Thanks for your help - its very much appreciated
     
  15. If he's C/D borderline in English and doesn't do any Humanities subjects, I would think he'll find something like Politics very difficult. C/D children find structuring and developing arguments difficult. How did he do in the mock - does he know yet?
     
  16. Hi Pink Ruby,
    He got a D for his mock - apparently missed the C by one point! His teacher says that he is more than capable of a C and she was disappointed with him. I've no idea what he wil get for his actual exam though.
    He is considering Politics as he has told me that he is interested in the subject. Wether its a whim or not I dont know - we will look into this further though as I agree with you I do think he will find this subject difficult fro the reasons you state.

     
  17. My son has just been told he will be doing foundation English Language. He got 2 "b"s, a "c" and a "d" in his coursework but is resitting the d. He got a B in his mock written paper. If the parents send a letter he will be allowed to do higher but I'm worried if we agree to him doing higher he might end up with a "u".
    Any advice would be great
     
  18. GloriaSunshine

    GloriaSunshine New commenter

    Does he intend to do English at A' Level and beyond? Do you doubt his teacher's judgement? If the answer is 'No' to either, I would leave it at Foundation.
     
  19. msptatty

    msptatty New commenter

    Hi, I'm advised to do foundation because I got a D in foundation jan 2016(real paper), but last year when i did higher mock i was 2 marks of a B. My coursework is 6 marks of a B. I want to do higher because i want a B but even a C in higher is alright because on the certificate it will mention higher. Should I go for higher by talking to the teachers about this or stick to foundation, even though i find foundation harder than higher.
     
  20. CandysDog

    CandysDog Occasional commenter

    GCSE certificates do not mention the tiers taken – they just say the grades.
     

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