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EDEXCEL GCSE Science (2011 spec) November entry module results.

Discussion in 'Science' started by Sar2008, Jan 11, 2012.

  1. shughesbio88

    shughesbio88 New commenter

    I agree Victoria. I'm teaching in Fe in biology and it is appouling how many b and a grade gcse students we get who can't string a paragraph together in a logical order. I know we are all under results pressure but surely this move to long answer questions is better in the long term for thinking skills. It's a pretty sorry SLT who can't see there will be an adjustment period and maybe year 9/10 is too young to begin gcses?
     
  2. Anyone see this interview with Gove - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-16567482 ?
    [start quote] Mr Gove said grade inflation "discredits the integrity of our education system" and GCSEs, A-levels and degrees must get "tougher".
    "If that means fewer passes then that's something we'll have to accept, but I want to ensure that as well as exams being tougher, schools work harder," he said. [end quote]
    Reckon the exam boards are being leant on in order to toughen up?
     
  3. MarkS

    MarkS New commenter

    There's no doubt about that...60% minimum for a grade C now seems to be a baseline, from what we have been hearing, whether on higher or foundation tier. Given that we have been used to 35-40% being enough for a C on some higher papers, that is big change, especially given the increase in dificulty anyway.
    Are these changes really sustainable? I don't think so!!
    Mark
     
  4. I Hardly think so!!! The year 7 joining us barely have any science knowledge at all since the scrapping of year 6 SATS, so if English is their second language then I think you are exaggerating - just ever so much! Imagine an EAL student explaining protein synthesis, fractional distillation, and nuclear decay series etc.
     
  5. Do we have any views on the difficulty of the AQA papers?
     
  6. myorangecrush

    myorangecrush New commenter

    There's a thread on the CHemistry one a little lower down the page.
     
  7. We have had our '5 free scripts' returned to school (the paid ones are yet to appear). They have been marked very harshly indeed and on all papers there are clearly marks that have been missed by the examiners, on one paper there is at least 6 marks that the student should have scored.
    Example: one questions asks about eutrophication for 4 marks. Student response includes;' ' nitrates wash into rivers and waterways causing algae and plants to grow more' this blocks out the sunlight and plants then die ..... ' he then goes on with work that would not warrant any credit.
    The markscheme says they can include any 4 of 6 points - one being that algae/plants grow rapidly, another being that light is then blocked out. Our student scored zero marks for his response.
    I feel that with some professional judgment he should have scored with his what he had put.
    Another question was to do with energy loss in animals, and about limiting loss. It asked what leads to energy loss (2 marks). Markscheme answer: respiration and any named process e.g. thermoregulation. Student response: respiration and homestasis. yet he did not get any credit for recognising that homestasis required energy.
    What do other people think to this?
    I wonder if these have been marked by scientists as they clearly do not show any professional judgment.

    One student on answer to the first question regarding the shrimps in the water had put C is most polluted as less shrimps were found at this location compared to locations A and B, yet scored only 1 mark. - The markscheme clearly states that 'less shrimps' is a credit worthy point.

    I am disgusted with this paper, its shoddy marking and Edexcels refusal to sort out the mess they have created. It now means that I have to go through every recalled script with a fine tooth comb to check every answer against the mark scheme so that I can piece together my appeal which will no doubt take me many hours.
     
  8. mm38

    mm38 New commenter

    Based on this do you think that Edexcel has struggled to recruit enough qualified markers for this session? I did wonder if recruiting for November would be hard as it is an ununusal time of the year for science. In the past the November exams I've done have all been multiple choice and marked by computer.
    Hopefully as AQA has had January exams since the new course they will have managed to get enough competent markers to do the job!
     
  9. DonutBoy99

    DonutBoy99 New commenter

    One thing you've missed is that science is a compulsory subject. Other GCSEs at least have had some of the less-willing students opt out proir to GCSE.
     
  10. I attended a network meeting with an EDEXCEL chief examiner and he said that less than 5% of students who sat the B1 paper in november acheived a C or above! This surely can not be right. This set of results have been shocking. I am very worried about the future of our students. It will be interesting to see the response to the AQA results from Jan.
     
  11. As soon as I saw how the Science exams were changing I suspected there would be a massive drop in pass rate. I have had one child go through the 360 science system where it seemed that many more passed due to the multiple chance aspect of the exam. A 20 minute MC exam is in no way comparable to the new 1 hour mainly written exam. You actually have to know your stuff well now. Not only that, the questions are far more taxing.My child did do the Biology exam in November and got a good mark however this would probably be down to the large amount of revision done, at home. I believe that the new system cannot rely on school work alone, as in the past. In our school t<font size="2">here were a few other good marks in this exam but the majority did fail, many are now sadly being put onto BTEC. Is that the way to go? Most of these children do not realise that this completely stops them from taking A level science. Perhaps if they were informed of this, some would pull their socks up.</font>
    I have just looked over the physics paper from November. I am absolutely astounded that anyone passed. I cannot think of anythong more demoralising than what I could only describe as, trawling through mud, question after question. It seemed to me most questions were the &lsquo;trying to apply your knowledge&rsquo; type which means the student has to waste much time thinking about them. Surely these sort of questions should be limited to A* questions. After many hours of revision at home, it took me and my child 3 hours to wade through this paper in order to be sure we had the correct answers. (We are not privileged to be able to access answer sheets as Edexcel keep all the November papers for school access only, which makes everything even harder for those of us who want to support our children at home!!). This paper was far harder than the sampler papers given on the Edexcel website but thank goodness we mere home revisers, could access the samplers, because the whole thing would be a nightmare otherwise. Not all teachers seem to deem it necessary that their students actually see old exam papers and being a parent who thinks this is essential I find it very frustrating that I cannot access more recent exam papers, especially when the course has changed and there are no old papers to look at.
    My last major concern is essential course information in the official Edexcel science book is very sparse at times. We have to refer to other publications for answers to exam questions as they are not in the Edexcel book. Surely the official book should have everything needed to get an A*. The very fact that there are no answers to any questions given in the book, leaves the problem that students are never sure they are getting things right.
    I think the past system was too easy. I know many students who got good grades without an ounce of work and then found A level sciences shockingly hard however it seems to me the present students have been given a double whammy. The grade boundaries being raised alongside a massively harder exam. It is not surprising that so many are failing or not achieving target grades. It will be a long slow process to encourage students back into the old ways of revising at home, if they want a chance at passing these new exams. I cannot imagine the failure rate when it reverts back to linear.
     
  12. Having stumbled on the grade boundaries for November 2011, they do not appear to me to have shifted upwards. I am however not an expert in these things and I am sure someone can correct me if I am wrong.
    The Biology paper had the following boudaries out of 60 starting with A*.
    <font size="2" face="Arial">5BI1H Science/Biology B1 45 39 34 29 22 18
    This suggests the pass mark for grade C was 48%
    http://www.edexcel.com/iwantto/I%20want%20to%20%20Tasks/1111%20GCSE%20Units%20Grade%20Boundaries.pdf
    Please let me know if I have made a mistake, thanks
    </font>
     
  13. These answers do exist, only they cost money. If the school bought the book, they should have bouught the Teacher and Technician Pack, which has all the answers.
     
  14. Thanks Claudivera, I was not aware of this.
    It is unfortunate that Edexcel have chosen not to put answers in the back of the book (like other publications) or make them more available for those of us who do not have access to the answers given to school, ie home revisers. I don't work in a senior school and so cannot gain access to them.
    Questions are useless without reliable answers as a guide when your children are testing themselves as part of revision.
     
  15. mm38

    mm38 New commenter

    Results day for March exams is Thursday. What are people who are did Edexcel exams in March expecting. More of the same or will marks have improved with more maturity?
     
  16. I am expecting the results to be the same as they were in November. If there is an improvement, it will be slight. Everything I have heard from EDEXCEL points to a company not willing to listen and intent on blaming OFQAL and everyone else.
    I am a Head of Science in a high achieving school and we had mostly U's in our last exam. We've made some big changes and worked incredibly hard and the students responded amazingly well, but they could not access the paper when they sat the exam - it was so uspetting for them.
    I have decided that if the results are as expected, then we will drop EDEXCEL and, in year 11, the students will sit OCR for the Additional Science. I'd be interested to see if anyone else has had such thoughts? We used to be with OCR and, looking at their exams and grades, they are doing much better and it would be worth the effort to go back instead of killing ourselves flogging a dead horse!
     
  17. Owennichols
    I am with you on this. We are hoping that our March module results are better than our awful November ones as we put in so much extra effort that we really could not have done any more. However, if they improve drastically (to bring them inline with OCR and AQA Jan module results) then that clearly points to Edexcel being wrong in their marking of the November papers. I am hoping that our results are better but I fear like you, that they may be much of the same. If that is the case I am poised and ready to shift the entire cohort lock stock and barrel onto OCR as I refuse to let our cohort suffer because of Edexcels incompetence.
    I have today had remarks from November (finally) sent back. We had identified at least 4 marks improvement in most of the scripts sent back and most have been re-marked as the same. One of the papers I took to a Heads of Science Network meeting where all participants agreed the marking was shocking (that students' mark remained the same after the remark despite many Heads of science finding a good 5 extra marks from the mark scheme).
    I have fended so many calls from upset, angry and worried parents that despite the extra workload and expense of moving exam boards (or should I say profit making publishing group) I will make the switch immediately after the results and begin teaching to OCR specifications.
    Linda
    Head of Science
     
  18. Thanks for your response Linda - it's good to know that we won't be the only ones taking drastic action. Are you thinking of having your year 10 do the additional with another board and keep the core with EDEXCEL or leave completely and Core/Additional with another board?
     
  19. Our March results were OK, and we didn't do a November sitting because our students weren't ready. What to your March results look like?
     
  20. Ours where a lot better than Nov but still under target.
    Does any one know where I can find the raw mark grade boundaries for the march papers?
    Cheers
     

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