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Giving false hope of a GCSE Grade C?

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by mature_maths_trainee, Feb 18, 2012.

  1. mature_maths_trainee

    mature_maths_trainee New commenter

    I've just inherited a demotived/lazy, poorly-behaved Year 9 class currently 'graded' between 4b and 5a (although in their recent, comprehensive, exam-condition test they achieved absolutely nowhere near this - 4b was the highest score achieved). On gut instinct, I feel that many are inherently 'smart' enough to achieve Grade C - but will/may not do so without drastic change.
    I'd like to motivate and encourage them more, and one way I'd like to do this is by discussing (with some of them, and possibly their parents) their prospects of a Grade C, and basically saying that if they work, I believe they can achieve it. But I also don't believe in giving false hope.
    Their Year 6 results recorded on the school's system were 3c to 4a, but nobody seems to really know exactly how these were deduced, and in any case the data came from many different (diverse) primary schools. It certainly seems that they are underperfoming.
    To what extent do you think I should encourage students to set their goals based upon my own (overly ambitious??) gut instinct / limited experience of their potential, verses how much should be rooted in the reality of their current grades and national statistical predictions?
    All thoughts/advice welcome.


     
  2. mature_maths_trainee

    mature_maths_trainee New commenter

    I've just inherited a demotived/lazy, poorly-behaved Year 9 class currently 'graded' between 4b and 5a (although in their recent, comprehensive, exam-condition test they achieved absolutely nowhere near this - 4b was the highest score achieved). On gut instinct, I feel that many are inherently 'smart' enough to achieve Grade C - but will/may not do so without drastic change.
    I'd like to motivate and encourage them more, and one way I'd like to do this is by discussing (with some of them, and possibly their parents) their prospects of a Grade C, and basically saying that if they work, I believe they can achieve it. But I also don't believe in giving false hope.
    Their Year 6 results recorded on the school's system were 3c to 4a, but nobody seems to really know exactly how these were deduced, and in any case the data came from many different (diverse) primary schools. It certainly seems that they are underperfoming.
    To what extent do you think I should encourage students to set their goals based upon my own (overly ambitious??) gut instinct / limited experience of their potential, verses how much should be rooted in the reality of their current grades and national statistical predictions?
    All thoughts/advice welcome.


     
  3. GoldMaths

    GoldMaths New commenter

    Hi,

    I think the truth is what they need and then you have nothing to worry about when/if they dont make it.

    Year 6 results are generated from an External KS2 Sats test so they will be pretty reliable, at my school we would be expected to convert theses students to grade C before the end of year 11 so I dont think your being overly ambitious - a grade C is easily achievable for most (3/4) students.
     
  4. Maths_Mike

    Maths_Mike New commenter

    I think you should tell them and their parents exactly what you have told us!
     
  5. I strongly believe the early entry for pupils in GCSE has led to many situations like this. I have the same scenario. I think your situation, whilst no specifically linked, is a byproduct of the system.
    Early entry is good for some groups but the talk of GCSEs this early is not ideal for some
    These type of groups are the pivotal groups and year 9 IMO is a year where you can build a work ethic, basic understanding and get pupils into your way of thinking. I believe one year with them (or the half a year left) can really make an impact into the way they learn.
    I have a set who are sitting their GCSE modules at the end of year 9. They too were at the end of year 9 and the expectation is that they get Cs.
    I am confident 2-3 will and I have shipped out two who deserve more. I am, at the moment, predicting some Gs as they are that weak and their overinflated level from last year is not doing anyone any favours.
    The issue comes though with me covering only foundation material in an attempt to cram a GCSE in the months betwen Novermber and the start of June (we adopted the plan at the Start of Novermber)
    I believe any pupil free of true SEN can achieve a C grade with the attitude and detrmination but for many this is something they cannot factor into their life or mindset. Its now my job to provide high quality, intensive teaching and move them on whether I motivate them through passion or fear.
    The current GCSE papers, or should I say the last round of Edexcel, saw some pupils I never would have thought get a C get on after a year of completing thrashing. They were year 11s. I have had the same recently and TBH a C is possible for pupils in the bracket you state but not reality for many.
    59% of pupils obtained a C grade last summer. Somewhere along the line 41% didnt and this % of the cohort is made up of a range of pupils many of which fall into the group you talk of.
    My approach with such groups is to make the intensity and the expectation so high that pupils will have to adapt. Some get lost along the way but essentially the majority of the cohort realise it won't change and often subscribe. Some don't but many do.
    I believe your pupils by the end of year 11 will be within a shot of a C grade but certainly many will not get it. You can only do the best and keep your head up.
    I have walked away from lessons days, hours before exams thinking...."never, just never" and am often suprised.
    If you have the support of the parents it can help. Often though the parents will either (i) Not be bothered or (ii) Believe its your fault and their little angel should get the grade.
    At the end of the day you have something to work with and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesnt but every cohort like this simply aids your approach in the future.
     
  6. pencho

    pencho New commenter

    Not sure what the OP comments have to do with early entry. If you have a whole group who lacks moptivation and determination, I put it more down to quality of teaching more than anything else. It sounds like the poster is doing their best to improve this. I keep saying it - but the most important factor in getting results is the teacher.
    Not sure the last papers from Edexcel were that friendly. I seem to remember threads on here and other placaes saying how difficult the tests were.
     
  7. frustum

    frustum Lead commenter

    I think there's a lot to be said for sharing the figures for progression from KS2/KS3->KS4. If they can see that n% of those with level 5 in year 9 go on to get a C or better, you can then ask what they can do to make sure that they're in that n%. Using the full table means they can see not only what the most likely outcome is, but also the full range of outcomes - so they can see that B is not impossible, and nor is E.
     
  8. DM

    DM New commenter

    Isn't this likely to give a significant number an excuse to immediately give up?!
     
  9. On the first point, I used the words 'not speficially linked'.
    My suggestions were made based on the fact that too much focus is spent on GCSE levels and aspirations in year 9 when really we should focus on basics and not looking at whether after 3 more academic years they will reach the mgic 'c' standard. IMO teaching that that level should not focus on GCSE grades but day in day out progression. Things dont need a label that early for some kids.
    RE your comments on it being down to the teacher motivating them? in many cases yes. There are though some very good teachers who have groups that simply don't want to move forward.
    On the second point about the Edexcel papers, again I stated the last round. I refer to the general standard of the linear 1380 paper, which in the main has either been very student friendly or has very low grade boundaries.
     
  10. mature_maths_trainee

    mature_maths_trainee New commenter

    Thanks for everyone's thoughts. They're pretty helpful.
    I couldn't immediately find the national stats on KS2/3 -> KS4 progression and the % distribution of grades, but that does sound a very useful tool to use with at least some of my students (who I believe will be motivated by such information). I'll keep searching. :)
     

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