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Early entry maths

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by Kevinberry03, May 17, 2011.

  1. How do you feel about this
    Learners or institutions?
  2. Its a multi layered issue with lots of responses and different scenarios as to why kids are ding them early.
    One things is for sure though, if the papers were challenging you ceratinly would have far less schools chucking kids in early.
  3. pencho

    pencho New commenter

    Interesting stance by the ACME on this one. I can completely understand their point with regards to early entry and how it may prevent some students getting say an A or an A*. However why are they against borderline D/C students having a go in Nov Y11 and then Jun Y11.
    Awarding bodies in their literature suggest that C/D borderline students are probably best suited to the foundation tier. So I don't see the issue with an early entry. It's only like doing a Mock Exam. What's the difference. Many press agencies are now running with the slogan "Early Entry is detremental to students". I think this may be the case in some schools, but I think it is unfair to say that all schools who use different forms of early entry are doing disadvantage to their students. What on earth is modular if its not early entry. Why should be a final exam at the end of Y11 be the be all and end all for students in mathematics.
    Maybe if a student actually does get a C in November of Y11. They shold then be encouarged to push towards a B.
    Maybe if they hadn't got rid of the intermediate tier, we might not be having this discussion.

  4. DM

    DM New commenter

    In many schools students are being forced to drop the study of mathematics to concentrate on their other subjects. This goes against ACME and Government policy - that all students ought to continue throughout Year 11 and post 16. Their stated intention is for 80% plus of students to continue to study mathematics post 16.
    Similarly many early entry GCSE students are scrapping an A in November and dropping maths to pick up a fast-track Ebac subject when they would almost certainly have attained A* if they had been entered at the normal time. They then try to pick up AS maths in Year 12 and fail miserably as they have forgotten almost everything they knew. The law of unintended consequences.
  5. pencho

    pencho New commenter

    Thanks. I accept this point completely, however this is not the case in all schools who do early entry. However ACME are against early entry for all students according to their position paper.
    Let's say you have a class that you know are borderline C/D and you are aiming for C's with them in June Y11. Previously you would simply wait until the end of Y11 to let them have a go at getting their grade C. I really don't see the issue in them have a first go in Nov Y11 or Jan Y11 - think of it as a Mock paper. If all they are going to do at the end of Y11 is a Foundation paper, why not have a go early if they are ready. Not sure I see the logic in waiting for June of Y11.
    I see ACME point of view that schools may not be pushingthe most able to get the best they can by the end of Y11. However I equally think their are many students up and down the country who benefit from early entry and describing it wholesale as detrimental to students achievement is quite radical and in does very little for schools who do early entry.
    What about schools who do modular, starting at end of Y9. This is surely early entry? Why don't they have a go at them.

  6. DM

    DM New commenter

    Modularisation and early entry is to be banned shortly. From the Government reply to Wolf :
    "We have asked the independent regulator, Ofqual, to consider how to reform GCSEs in order to reduce modularisation and re-sitting and ensure that exams are typically only taken at the end of the course."
    I can't imagine a school exists that would have enough money to pay for double entries in mathematics for a whole cohort. My school could certainly not afford over £5,500 in additional fees. You might be fortunate enough to work in an area where some of the parents would pay for a second entry but I think children from poorer backgrounds should be given the same opportunities wherever possible.
  7. pencho

    pencho New commenter

    So DM are you saying you agree that early entry in unsuitable for all students.

  8. pencho

    pencho New commenter

    I just think that a sole exam at the end of Y11 should not be the determinent of your maths qualfication. Why let Y12 resit the exam!!!!
  9. DM

    DM New commenter

    The only pathway I think is appropriate is for very strong students who are absolutely certain to attain A* in Year 10 or November of Year 11 and are then <u>taught</u> (not told to self study) Additional Maths. I do not think doing AS modules early in Year 11 is a good idea, the students invariably get lower grades than they would have had they sat it at the appropriate time and some universities will not then accept their A Level as they did not complete it over two years alongside their other AS/A2s.
    It is not really an issue for me anyway as I am teaching the Linked Pair of GCSEs and there is more content to keep the students occupied (delivering it in the same number of lessons as single GCSE).
  10. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    Ending modular seems pretty certain. I am not sure why there is any problem doing it; as far as I know, every subject is available in linear, so they could insist all new Year 10 students do linear from September 2011. However, I can't see where the ban on early entry is. The quote says that exams must be taken at the end of the course, not the end of Year 11. Or is it mentioned elsewhere?
  11. At the risk of stating the obvious, the problem is that the same qualification is being used:
    a) as preparation for A level
  12. Damn you, tab button. I've started, so I'll finish ...
    b) as a measure of "basic" numeracy skills (grade C+)
    c) as a measure of a school's performance (grade C+ mainly)
    d) as a measure of a pupil's all-round academic ability (as part of Eng Bac)
    and probably a few others as well.
    In which case, why not have different entry policies depending on which category is the priority for a given pupil?
    The difficulties arise when there is conflict between these different priorities. In my experience, the SLT view is usually "everything's a priority" ...

  13. DM

    DM New commenter

    Well it doesn't say it explicitly but KS4 spans Years 10 and 11. This will be reinforced under the new National Curriculum which will specify which content must be taught in each of the two years rather than over the whole keystage.
  14. pencho

    pencho New commenter

    Do any teachers share the opinion that early entry for students on the C/D borderline may be appropriate?
    With regards to entry fees. I wasn't proposing in this thread that all students in every year should sit a foundation GCSE exam to get a C. I think there are a good number of students, who would be and are benefitting from early entry in Y11.
    I repeat that i accept that for many students early entry can be a disaster if schools do not conitnue to push them further. I'm not arguing about this.
    With regards to modular, I believe that it will stay in maths. I think we are too far down the line with it. They have linked pair which is essentially modular and I can't see things changing. If I am wrong then I am wrong.
    I also don't necessarily think in maths that we will all teach the same thing in Y10 and Y11. I think it will depend on the student etc... Mr Gove can stipulate all that he wants in terms of you teach this in Y10 and that in Y11. You just can't do this with maths.

  15. DM

    DM New commenter

    Andrew Hall of AQA on this subject in March:
    <font face="Arial" size="3">"I would now like to start by considering some trends in entry patterns at GCSE and reflect on some potential unintended consequences that arise from what are well intended policies or actions.</font>
    <font face="Arial" size="3">Data about the number of entries for GCSE Mathematics by students aged 15 or under. The pattern is clear: a significant, three-fold increase over the last three years, and last year equating to over 10% of the total entry. I expect we&rsquo;ll see that sharply growing trend continue this summer.</font>
    <font face="Arial" size="3">The reasons behind this are to some extent a matter of conjecture but it is a real cause for concern.</font>
    <font face="Arial" size="3">For some students, early entry may be a good thing, particularly for the really strong performers who continue to the higher levels of mathematical study and learning, beyond GCSE. But this continuation of learning is the crucial point during the remainder of the period up to the age of 16. Where there is no gap in learning, students maximise what they have learned, and all the options for further mathematical learning remain open.</font>
    <font face="Arial" size="3">But what about others, including the less able performers? Are the pressures of league tables forcing teachers to enter students early to try to bank a Grade C, so they can then focus their teaching time and effort of those who don&rsquo;t get that Grade C? What is this doing to the depth of learning for those who do make the Grade, but who with the extra time would have built on and consolidated their learning, performed even better and kept more options open?.Is this an unintended consequence of league tables? What damage might it do to the take-up of Mathematics at A level and ultimately to national competitiveness? What about those students who really struggle through being entered early &ndash; will it scare them off and increase the pool who believe they &ldquo;can&rsquo;t do Maths&rdquo;?</font>
    <font face="Arial" size="3">This area needs research and diagnostic data to be produced in order to help teachers make the right choices for their students. And it is a role where awarding bodies need to play an active part. It may mean less income from re-sit fees, but so what? This concerns education rather than testing, and the prize of building a nation more confident and able in mathematics is well worth it!</font>
    <font face="Arial" size="3">While I&rsquo;m on this theme, it is worth mentioning that it is not just Mathematics that faces this challenge: from what I have seen from awarding the latest winter series of GCSEs, there is a real indication of immaturity in answers."</font>
  16. mathman64

    mathman64 New commenter

    I believe that there are several issues tangled together here, this is an interpretation of some of them.
    For a small minority of students who are at risk of not completing Year 11 it may be appropriate for them to take an early exam. How do we identify them?
    Is the purpose of the study of mathematics to pass the examination? Or is it to develop mathematical skills that support life long learning (that are then assessed by examinations which are possibly not fit for purpose)?
    Does an A* or A grade in the GCSE really demonstrate the level of fluency with algebraic manipulation which students need at A level?
    What is the purpose of a grade C in mathematics? Is it to differentiate yourself from your peers (the original intention) or is it a minimum standard all should attain? If it is the latter then we cannot carry on norm referencing the marking of GCSE.
    The only way HMG can apply pressure to schools to ensure all students study mathematics to 16 when Academies do not have to follow the NC is through manipulating the make up of the league tables. Is that what they mean by removing the "perverse incentives" in the league tables?
    My personal opinion is that the vast majority of students should study some mathematics up to the age of 18 as they do in most of our competitor countries (see "Is the UK an outlier").
  17. Maths_Mike

    Maths_Mike New commenter

    I can see some advantage for some students with early entry. I.e they may get a C and then be given a confidence boost to go for a B at Higher.
    Some students may gain a C that would not have not a C otherwise due to dropping out.
    Some student may (by the laws of probbaility) pass as a results of having two bites at the cherry when they would have failed given just one attempt.

    Howeevr these advantages are massively out weighed by the disadvantages referred to previously, especially at schools like mine when all students are early entered - even those with A* targets.

    IF early entry was used only for C/D pupils I would be in favour but increasingly it isnt - the sysytem is being abused and school SMT are interested in one think - C and above at maths regardless of the cost / consequences.

    For this reason it should be banned.

    We need a three tieir exam at the end of year 11. period

  18. Maths_Mike

    Maths_Mike New commenter

    In particular at my school students who should get a B get a C easily in Novemebr doing very little work and think "why the hell should i work hard at higher stuff to get a B"
    They completely switch off.

    The massively impacts on the number of B grades (which I nthing is also a national problem) reduces potential for A level etc etc
  19. Maths_Mike

    Maths_Mike New commenter

    oh and i might add - i know I have said it before but hey ho

    Current exams in maths are unfit for puprose.

    The dont differentiate between the good and the outstanding, two much testing of skills will too little problem solving or understanding required.

    In particular modular - maths is not a modular subject we need opportunities to apply a range of skils to solve problems.
  20. pencho

    pencho New commenter

    I agree with quite a few of your comments. I agree that we need to avoid students underachieving. However C/D borderline ones, I think benefit from this second chance.
    With regards to your situation in your school, I thought you were HOD. If so - why are you putting in students for early entry if you are not in full agreement. Surely you know the best for the students. Does this mean there has been a raise in A*-C results, but a drop in A*-B and A*-A results. Would be interested in your statistics on this.


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