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Boosting chemistry grades help!

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by sriley1988, Nov 25, 2015.

  1. sriley1988

    sriley1988 New commenter

    Hi all,

    I've been teaching now for 5 years, this is my 3rd year at my current school and recently was made head of chemistry. I'm really hitting a wall this year with improving results in my classes and I could do with some help/advice as it's really starting to grind me down.

    Across my GCSE and A level classes I'm getting the same issue. A lot of apathy in the lower sets (not exactly new but previously I could win groups round or at least some would try their best so grades weren't too bad). Kids in my higher sets/ A level do fine in lessons, can answer questions related to the content etc. Homework (when it's done) is good, I spend a lot of time going over the basics and making sure students leave my class able to do whatever they were struggling with. But then come the tests...

    So far this year they have mostly bombed out. And even though they don't do *amazingly* well in physics and bio, Chemistry is always on the bottom.

    Cue the intervention, I run after school sessions for A level and GCSE, I've called parents and spoken to students. I've started chasing up the kids who won't attend intervention, we go through tests thoroughly (pupils do corrections and discuss not just sit and listen to the right answers) and I've made all the pupils PLCs to use. I've uploaded hours of work on Moodle, doubled the homework for my A level classes, spent extra time doing in-class intervention with my triples etc. Nothing seems to be working!

    I just don't get it. i never used to have this issue, its only in the last year (especially since September) that I've had this big problem. Kids who get 80% on a class test are getting 30% in a mock etc. Older members of staff tell me it's "the kids not revising" but I can't help but feel like I'm missing something fundamental and just can't see it. It's really starting to grind me down, as since I started leading Chemistry I've introduced tonnes of quality control and rigour, my HoD sings my praises but it feels like a hollow victory when I don't see any improvement for my own classes.

    Has anyone else ever had this issue or can offer any advice? How do I go about changing their attitude towards their work? I did a small experiment recently when I gave my triples a C2 mock every fortnight for a half term, grades became really really great. Gave them a few weeks off while we focused on new content, next C2 test was an utter omnishambles!

    Anyway sorry for the tirade, I'd appreciate any advice at the moment. I just want them to do well and for the work I put in to actually make a difference. I'm beginning to wonder if it won't happen until June when the "real" exams kick in, but as we all know progress is meant to be linear...
  2. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    I wonder if it might be a good idea to post this on other forums?

    How about Secondary or possibly Science?

    You are perhaps likely to get a better response over there; this forum does tend to be about workplace issues, rather than teaching ones, if you get my meaning!

    Best wishes

  3. sriley1988

    sriley1988 New commenter

    Ah sorry, are there admins on here that could move the thread for me? I'm quite new to the forums here.
  4. sriley1988

    sriley1988 New commenter

    I've reposted in science. Please ignore, hopefully a moderator can lock/delete this one

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