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Expected level of differentiation at GCSE (Foundation) - your groups?

Discussion in 'English' started by lou5357, Sep 5, 2015.

  1. lou5357

    lou5357 New commenter

    Hi all,



    I am just interested to find out how other English departments arrange their sets. I have been asked to teach grade G to D (Year 11) in one set, non of which have done their controlled assessments yet, and wonder if this level of differentiation is actually reasonable from a teaching/delivery point of view.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. CandysDog

    CandysDog Established commenter

    I've worked under all sorts of setting systems, across too different schools. I'm yet to find too greater range ? you just get on with it.

    You got me thinking, actually, what the greatest range of grades I've taught is. I think it's seven. There was class whose final grades ranged from Grade C to Entry 2. Obviously, there were a lot of combinations of specs going on there (some did both English GCSEs, some one GCSE, some one GCSE and the Entry Level Certificate and some just the Entry Level Certificate). The students' targets did cover a narrower range (no-one was expected to get higher than an E). It was definitely challenging, but I never thought it was unreasonable.

    I had another class with a seven grade range. Every grade from A to G was represented in their results. That was actually my first ever Year 11 class (in my NQT year). Again, the targets were a little narrower (B to F, I think). It was, again, hard work, but not unreasonable in my eyes.

    Now you've got me thinking, the narrowest range of grades I've ever had was two. The whole class got A* or A. This time, the targets covered a larger range: A*?B.

    My current Year 11 class have targets ranging from B to E, so a four grade range like yours. Again, that doesn't seem unfair to me.

    Both schools I've worked in have been large. I imagine that big ranges in grades are ever more common in smaller schools.

    So, basically, no, I don't think a range of four grades is unreasonable to teach together.

    I do agree that entering Year 11 with no completed controlled assessments is far from ideal. In fact, I would that is a bigger challenge than any range in ability.
     
  3. lou5357

    lou5357 New commenter

    Many thanks for your reply, Candysdog - much valued!
     
  4. GloriaSunshine

    GloriaSunshine New commenter

    Agree with Candy'sDog. Last year, I had a bottom set, achieving grades from C-G. My middle set D-A*. Well, lower than D, because some students were out of place in my class, but placed there for social reasons. I have never worked in a school with mixed ability GCSE sets (but watch this space) but there are schools with classes of students across the full ability range.

    Personally, I prefer sets of students of similar ability. The problem with that is that the lowest sets are a mix of students who are low attaining because of limited ability, poor motivation, appalling behaviour, mental health issues, school refusal ... everything that limits achievement, so those classes disadvantage well motivated but less able pupils. Especially in a small school - larger schools can be more flexible.
     

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