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EdExcel GCSE mock results very bad, what to say to parents?

Discussion in 'Music' started by Xanathar, Jan 27, 2011.

  1. I've been doing the new Edexcel GCSE but the Year 11 official mock results were all rather bad. Is this normal?? Pupils, staff and parents are all going to blame me. What do I say to them?



    Yes, I can remind them that their final mark will include the 60% coursework which will improve their grades significantly, but it's still a blow when they see an E or F written as the exam grade, especially when they're getting B's and A's in their other subjects.



    What do I say to parents?



    I think this new course is dreadful. They are expected to know (memorise) far too many works in far too much detail. It's insane. I honestly believe the GCSE is now harder than the A-Level (or anything after that for that matter).



    Anyone else in the same boat?
     
  2. I've been doing the new Edexcel GCSE but the Year 11 official mock results were all rather bad. Is this normal?? Pupils, staff and parents are all going to blame me. What do I say to them?



    Yes, I can remind them that their final mark will include the 60% coursework which will improve their grades significantly, but it's still a blow when they see an E or F written as the exam grade, especially when they're getting B's and A's in their other subjects.



    What do I say to parents?



    I think this new course is dreadful. They are expected to know (memorise) far too many works in far too much detail. It's insane. I honestly believe the GCSE is now harder than the A-Level (or anything after that for that matter).



    Anyone else in the same boat?
     
  3. Mrs Music

    Mrs Music New commenter

    Whenever mine have done a mock exam they've done rubbish, yet always done ok in the actual exam in the summer.

    I honestly believe the GCSE is now harder than the A-Level (or anything after that for that matter).

    Really?? How? I think there's not that much more they have to know in terms of terminology, it's just that now they are applying it to specific works. I'm finding it a challenge to teach to some of my students, but overall I feel it's much better preparation for the AS course.
     
  4. Mrs Music

    Mrs Music New commenter

    Apologies for the paragraphs not coming out as I had expected!
     
  5. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    There's been no operational exam yet, so I cannot see how you can convert a raw numeric mark into a grade. Grading is a complex process, and even more so for an entirely new exam.
    Have you considered that the grade boundaries could be (to take an extreme example), 40% for an A, 35% for a B and so on ?
    Judging from the sample paper, I have to disagree. The majority of the questions are very simple and there's not the slightest implication that they have to memorise 12 short set works. The amount of factual recall is so small that I'd expect a bright student to secure a good mark in the main section without even having studied the works.
    From a marks perspective, I'd rather tackle Edexcel's syllabus with its clearly defined parameters, than those of boards who just specify vague areas of study, in which almost anything in the exam is likely to be an excerpt that candidates have never even heard before.
     
  6. casper

    casper New commenter

    Yep, mine too. The same happened last year with the previous set up. Although after a lot of work they managed an excellent result. I always have to hand the result in as a grade not a percentage of the paper. Every year I explain that this is 40% of the total. I am told that their system at school can only cope with Grades.
    The kids were moaning about the mock saying it was my fault I had not taught them keywords??Marking their papers it was clear that a lot of it was down to poor exam tecnique. Same as last year. Given a choice of 4 answers and they do not answer the question, because we have not studied it yet. NO we still have some work to do. But for goodness sake have a go. I told them all of this before teh exam. Year 11 parents evening next week oh joy.
    Good Luck everyone.

     
  7. silverfern

    silverfern New commenter

    Could you calculate a grade based on a 40% weighted exam, and 60% of the coursework marks they've composed/performed so far? To give them a fairer overall grade?
     
  8. casper

    casper New commenter

    Yes, I have done something like that.But, I have to give the results for the listening mock exam only at this stage. That is what the pupils and parents see. i have got the school to writesomething down to explain that this part is 40%.
     
  9. At A level I have to estimate a grade for each unit I teach but do not assess so that the Exam Board can check it's marking against expectation. So I think that grading each unit is not scandalous provided that you make it clear that 60% coursework may skew the final grade either way. Also make it clear, as Florian has said, that the grade boundaries are an unknown due to this being the first examination of this specification.
    If your school is insisting that you only give a grade based on what you assessed then you have to grade that paper logically. After all if the top mark was 40 and you got 32 you wold expect to get an A at GCSE for gaining 80%? (In effect you are giving a grade based on 32/100!) Mocks should help to disgnose areas for further improvement and boost confidence not totally demoralise teacher and students alike by 'out of context' reporting of achievement!
     
  10. spanboy

    spanboy New commenter

    I think that the book goes into far more detail than is required to sit the exam. The bar-by-bar analysis would be a nightmare for the average pupil to learn/remember - times 12!
    Why not be guided by the sample questions that came with the original spec? It seems that, in reality, the board will probably only ask the main points/features for each set work. Moreover, the first year's exam is bound to closely resemble the sample paper.
    I would rather my pupils understand the basics well instead of cramming their heads with too much info and risk the chance of forgetting it all (and 'switching off').
    All my pupils have got 60% + in their mocks, having learnt the set works in this way.
     
  11. No, I don't agree. What have you been teaching them and what did you use for a mock paper. I've used the sample assessment paper. Did you use this. The questions were not searching. You certainly DON'T need to the bar-by-bar anlysis of the peason book. It's much easier to answer the questio "what key does this extract start in" when you know that symph 40 starts the development section in the unrelated key of F# minor. It's not a difficult fact to learn and probably the hardest thing on the course (apart from all the foreign words in the Indian Music section)
    CGP (? or whatever their name is) do a revision book - I've just ordered 10 copies at £5 each. This is the price until half term when it goes up to £13.95. I'm sure your students will cough up for this. It's pretty comprehensive without being overwhelming and there is a great page about "air guitar" (seriously).
    As for you parents you can say: They alwyas find the listening difficult - we have done the work we now just need to practice the exam (this is true, by the way) - They have already got N% for their coursework - Here is a really cool revision book that they shoudl buy . . .
    http://www.cgpbooks.co.uk/pages/home.asp
    I dont think the offer is online - you have to ring them - as I say, my students have snapped them up!!!
     
  12. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    I totally agree. The Pearson book is full of errors and goes into far too much detail.
    My own view is that CGP is OK for Section A, but doesn't give enough detail for Section B.
    I think that the Rhinegold Study Guide offers the best compromise - clear guides to the principal features, but enough detail on the main elements to get a good mark in Section B. I appreciate that some students will find it difficult to focus in enough detail in Section B, but I suspect that this section will be the main vehicle for differentiating between the higher grades in the actual paper.
     

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