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Disappointing AS results

Discussion in 'Private tutors' started by hhhh, Mar 9, 2012.

  1. hhhh

    hhhh Lead commenter

    I would always include 'fun' in sessions. Take it you are using a range of learning strategies and initially did an assessment on preferred learning styles of your student (I'm sure you did, but I once came a cross a so called tutor who had never heard of dyslexia! I took over his student, I honestly believe he'd made things worse for the poor girl. I am sure you are a fully trained teacher who has thought about all this, but honestly I've met some people who have a degree and just assume they can teach.Hey I've given birth so I'm going to advertise myself as a midwife! Luckily these days few people like this ever get QTS).
    As you go along, do you get them to do sections of papers, so that you can say what level they are up to? Just that way you can say X is now effectively getting a C, or whatever.
    I would keep these records and put them in a simplistic form for the parents as you go along. That protects you and reasures the parents that you are doing the best you can. Also take in 'homework' and return with written comments. If the 'grade' would be too low to please the student, can you explain why? Insufficent effort, not applying the info you gave etc.
     
  2. bananamoore

    bananamoore New commenter

    Hi. Try not to get too down about this. I had 7 students doing AS/A2 exams and 2 didn't get what they wanted (and should have gained). However, one had told me she had been ill on the day of the exam so hadn't expected to do well. The other told me after sitting the AS paper that the first question was a 9 marker on fats and she hadn't revised this. Hopefully, from this you can see that there are other factors that can effect how things go for students on the day. You can't control everything. My other students all improved and quite a few have improved by 3 or 4 grades, so I know I am doing something right! I also keep records on homework marks, giving them grades and also give students personalised info on what they need to focus on. And by the way I am not a fully-qualified teacher. My students have taken me on as they are unhappy with the teaching at school. So being an expert (Ph.D) in a subject but not having QTS status is not always a recipe for disaster! It might be in some cases, but not all.
     
  3. Georginalouise

    Georginalouise New commenter

    I'm not sure what subjects hhhh and bananamoore tutor (although I suspect the latter is biology), but I tutor A level biology and have seen a similar trend. I put this down to the new format of the exam, examined for the first time in 2009. The style of paper changed from quite straightforward recall to the application of biological knowledge and interpretation of data. Students have found it very difficult to tackle this new style of questioning, and GCSE science just doesn't prepare for it. I've had kids with A* at GCSE scrape a pass at A level and parents and children then wonder why. It's because they have relied on good memories thus far and have become expert at the regurgitation of fact rather than application of knowledge. The new GCSE science may go some way to solving this problem, but as teaching only began last year it is too early to say. For A level biology, we are only just starting to see the "bank" of past papers forming, that we can use as the previous syllabus(es) past paper store didn't reflect the new data-type interpretive questions. Statistically, I am not getting the very high grades at A level that I saw four or five years ago, but I am pulling weaker students from the E and U grades to very respectable B and C grades on resit. I did wonder if it was me in the beginning, but I now concentrate more on thinking slightly outside the box and less on detailed knowledge. And yes, my small number of GCSEs are going from strength to strength, but my current year 10 (and I only have one) will not sit an exam until the summer. It may be that we see something similar with the new GCSE. I am interested to know if the chemistry syllabus has a similar history to biology. And for the record, I don't have QTS, nor have I ever taught in a secondary school, but I do have a PGCertEd for post-16 and been a guest university lecturer / departmental trainer.
     
  4. leftieM

    leftieM New commenter

    I tutor A-level Chemistry and the students complained that the OCR exams were different than they had been. I looked and there was nothing out of the ordinary but they struggle to recognise how to apply knowledge and can be thrown when something unfamiliar is put in fron of them.
    Some you win, some you lose. I know you feel you should add value, as do I, but there will always be limitations in terms of students revising and their ability level.
    I find the hardest students are the ones that seem to be really on the ball and do really well in past papers and then blow the exam. One of my students got a C in her AS and I was sure she'd do much better. She needs an A and she's coming back to me in a fortnight and I am really scratching my head on how to push her on. The only thing that assuages my guilt is that she didn't come for tuition from December, so I didn't get to really work with her in the crucial stage before the exam. I am guilty of encouraging her to come fornightly rather than weekly as I didn't think she needed that much help.
     

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