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GCSE Biology 2018

Discussion in 'Science' started by lchester007, Aug 24, 2018.

  1. lchester007

    lchester007 New commenter

    Hi all,

    I was just wondering if anyone else had noticed that their students struggle to gain a 7+ in Biology compared to Chemistry and Physics. As a Biology teacher it frustrates me that the higher ability students always seem to get a higher % 7+ in Chemistry and Physics compared to Biology.
    Has anyother school got this trend because I’m struggling to work out why this is.

    Any thoughts or tips?
    install likes this.
  2. ScienceGuy

    ScienceGuy Established commenter

    Our results were broadly similar for each science - 67-9% 9-7 for Bio, 71.7 for Chem and 65.4 for Physics.

    One of the issues we had was teaching time for Biology due to the huge amount of content. We rearranged the topic order so we did about 1/2 of the Paper 1 material in Yr 9 (compared to a single chapter of Chemistry and Biology) which allowed more consolidation time during revision
  3. nsier

    nsier New commenter

    Yes I have noticed this and I can offer a reason why. Despite amazing grades in English very few of our pupils can actually read and write well.They simply do not read enough to have a good vocabulary. As biology questions tend to be more wordy they get lower grades.
    In the last year I have been asked by year 11 pupils "what does obtain mean?" "What does similar mean?" I could give lots more examples.
    Their written English is also appalling.
    install likes this.
  4. rehaank

    rehaank Occasional commenter

    Chemistry was the highest for us but Biology wasn't miles off the mark albeit lower. I predicted ~65% getting 7+ Biology but it was pleasing what we got.

    I've rounded up:
    Bio: 78%, Chem: 88%, Physics: 81%

    70% got at least one 7-9 in one science on the whole.

    Perhaps it's just because Biology exams tend to be weirdly written that the % is lower. Grade boundaries reflect this compared to Chemistry. Historically the case stands.
  5. lchester007

    lchester007 New commenter

    Thanks everyone, I agree with all of you I think the higher ability pupils have a better understanding of the maths aspects of both Chemistry and Physics than the language for the exam in Biology. As an examiner I mark Chemistry papers and have found that students can gain marks from maths questions even if they get the overall answer incorrect. In Biology they don’t have that safety net, just makes the teacher who teaches Biology looking like the weaker teacher. Frustrates me.
    install likes this.
  6. rehaank

    rehaank Occasional commenter

    Chemistry, especially at A Level, is a test of how many silly mistakes can you make? Since nearly every question is probably be doable - there's a simple maths answers, the explanations of ionisation energies are the same, the graph drawing is the same, the organic synthesis is looking for the simpler "part" and it's again the same.

    Physics is more how good of a thinker are you; less writing, more thinking, more logic.

    Biology again is the language, the "longer than war and peace" question sets and the ridiculous mark schemes.
  7. Jigsaw33

    Jigsaw33 New commenter

    Agree with all. Similar trend in our school. Frustrating
  8. ajrowing

    ajrowing Lead commenter

    For AQA science GCSEs 54010 students got a 7 or higher in Biology, 54319 in Chemistry and 53036 in Physics, I would suggest that those differences do not account for school level variations in results.
    border_walker likes this.
  9. Skeoch

    Skeoch Star commenter

    Edexcel data
    Biology 22806 entries from school Centres (I've excluded the others). 12.7% grade 9; 28.0% grade 8 and 9; 43.8% 7 to 9
    Chemistry 22354; 12.3%; 26.2%; 42.0%
    Physics 22371; 12.2%; 26.1%; 42.4%
    So Biology does slightly better overall.....however you only need two or three candidates to do better or worse within a Centre to make the statistics look different.
    rehaank and border_walker like this.

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