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Gove and ACME crank up the heat on early entry

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by DM, Mar 8, 2012.

  1. DM

    DM New commenter

  2. Early entry. We've done it a well.
    Its used to give the pupils more chances to get a C at the expense of understanding.
    And for schools to "ensure" they meet the targets.
    _______________________________________________________________
    Thats the problem. Hitting targets has become the over-riding influence in schools. Pupils became targets instead of individuals in an educational setting. Schools congratulate themselves on hitting FFTD targets because it keeps Ofsted away. So much blame in education...
    Somewhere the need to set targets missed the point. Thoroughly.
     
  3. So if we enter early to give them maximum chance , or they realise how hard they really need to work, that's bad and its our fault
    And if we wait until the summer of Year 11 with just one chance and they miss, it will be our fault.
    Damned if we do damned if we don't. Remind me, why did I became a maths teacher with this rubbish
     
  4. My school did early entry this year, the January linear exam. The top end students, the ones that plan to go on to study A Level, achieved their A and A* target grades and now have the opportunity to study additional maths, extending their knowledge further and preparing them for the step up to A Level. In fact many students who were predicted Bs and even Cs achieved A and A* grades.
    The incentive of being able to drop maths if, and only if, they met their target grade (No banking a C and settling!) motivated the students hugely and it was fantastic celebrating their success this week and knowing that now I have just 41 students who need to improve their grade. Small groups with low pupil to teacher ratios so that we can really work on their understanding and application of maths.
    Is that playing the system or doing the best for the students?
     
  5. It's playing the system!

    There is no way you can teach the full additional maths content between now and the end of the year, so you either rush through aspects of it or as you point out stop teaching them maths if they hit their target grade. Who is to say that those students that got A grades would not have achieved an A* in the summer? Early entry of this type is all about a school hitting its A-C targets and nothing to do with doing the best for the students.
     
  6. pencho

    pencho New commenter

    I ave to disagree SC00BY. What's to say the ones who got A* would get an A* in summer, when they will have all their other exams to prepare for? At leat the additional Maths is some extra content even if they do not do the exam. What happens is a school has 5 hours of Maths a week, compared to a school who has 3. Can they not be ready any earlier. With regards to C/D borderline students, I am assuming that if the school had not used the January entry the students would still be sitting foundation exam in June anyway. So what have these students not gained by doing an exam a couple months early? They would simply be taught more of the same between January and May. The biggest issue with early entry (which I agree with) is the number of students who are capable of a B or A on higher who just get a C on foundation and then are happy. What I don't think we should do is get rid of early entry because some schools abuse it!!!
     
  7. LiamD

    LiamD New commenter

    I heartily agree with this sentiment Diacoo. Particularly when the pupils concerned are those who have previously shown little enthusiasm for Maths. Early-entry can have positive benefits for <u>some</u> kids in <u>some</u> schools IMO (though not Scooby's apparently).

     
  8. Maths_Mike

    Maths_Mike New commenter

    Lots of good points made on both sides. In general I agree with Scooby.
    However early entry is advantageous for many students ie pencho's comments. the problem is not the system - early entry has always been possible for as long as I have been teaching - 14 years. Schools used in wisely to get students a grade if they feared them leaving etc.
    The problem is some school have been abusing the system believing that early and even multiple entries with different boards gives a student a better chance of passing. (which to a samall extent with boarder line students it does)
    Entering students in year 9, as is now increasingly common, is ridiculous in my opinion and should be banned. I can see no benefit to the students whatsoever. Surley it would not be too difficult for exam boards to check DOB to prevent this?
    Year 10 - I would question except for a minority of students who may otherwise get nothing.
    Year 11 - Is the time to do it and the exam boards should enforce the rules that no paper can be taken more than twice - problem would then be solved in my opinion. (Even for modular this gives option for entries and resits so all students get either two attempts at each module or two attempts at Linear maximum)
    (Would also need to ensure schools don't play the game of entering the same students with different exams boards - a simply instruction that this is not allowed and anyone caught doing it would be immediately put on special measures or some thing akin to that should do the trick)
    (I personally also don't like modular but thats another argument.)
     
  9. Just to clarify, I work in F.E. and teach A level to students that come from a large variety of schools. Although the students all have similar grades at GCSE (B and above), their ability to successfully cope with the transition from GCSE to A level is very much linked to the school they attended. Some schools very successfully prepare students for the challenges ahead, whilst we know that students from other schools we really struggle because they have just been taught to pass the test and no depth of understanding. This divide has been made worse by some schools abusing the early entry policy and hence we have students arriving in September having not done any maths for over a year or from the previous November. This has been very evident this week when looking at the first module results for C1, with a definite correlation between performance and which school they came from.

    I think I am looking at early entry from a different view point and fully understand the pressures in ensuring students can achieve a pass in maths at school. But as one student said to me this week, I got an A in November and was then supposed to be doing additional maths, but in reality the best maths teachers where used to get the others through their GCSE and we had a TA sit with us whilst we tried to learn it ourselves from the text book. It will be interesting to see if the previous poster with 42 still to pass puts his best teacher with those students or with the ones doing additional maths!
     
  10. pencho

    pencho New commenter

    Mike I agree your solution could be the start of the way forward. I would just sooner have a discussion about it and see what we can do to solve it - rather than just say this is the solution.
    The biggest problem it seems is higher tier students who are capable of better and teachers are settling for less, as they might have hit their target and stop doing maths.
    Why don't we increase the targets of Level 5 and 4a students. Its ridciulous that level 5a/b students get a target of a B, it should be closer to A* in my opinion
    The problem is if you ban early entry (I assume it would apply to all subjects) and there are many schools now who take an option apporach where students sit say GCSE History in 1 Year etc... These innoovative and new curriculum apporaches would have to change and we are just going to end up with the same structure ion every school up and down the country. I don't think banning it wholesale is the solution, as some people on here would like to do.

     
  11. I'm not in favour of a complete ban either, early entry has its place as outlined by posters on here and I am full in favour of early entry when used appropriately. However, it's the abuse of the current system that I am against..
     
  12. Students with targets of grade C either (a) have to wait until the end of Year 11 to try and get their C and will most likely sit Foundation to give them the best chance of doing so; or (b) sit Foundation early in Year 11 and then can sit either Higher if they get a C, or Foundation if they don't.
    It seems clear to me which will lead to better results for these pupils. Perhaps if there was a third option for these students, an exam that went up to, say grade B....?
     
  13. Maths_Mike

    Maths_Mike New commenter

    Loving it!
     
  14. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    Why do we allow ourselves to be dictated to by this nonsensical target system anyway?

    We know which kids in our top sets are capable of more, don't we? Why do we let ourselves be constrained by stupid management who are content with C grades from everyone just because that's how they're measured?

    We're supposed to be working in a system where "Every Child Matters" - in my experience, what that means is except the bright ones.
     
  15. Maths_Mike

    Maths_Mike New commenter

    I agree pencho a propoer discussion is required and as fair a system as possible needs to be developed and then schools need to be told the rules and made to follow them.
    The playing the system (which is undoubtedly happening at the momemt) is damaging to some students. I have personaly and painful experience of this.
    Me : These are the borderlins students I would like entered.
    SMT : you need to enter more. W ewant everyone to do Foundation
    Me : whats the point making A* students do Foundation? etc etc. over a few weks
    SMT got there way - EVERYONE did foudation linear in Novemeber along with higher modular - yep not technically allowed but done with different exam boards.
    Many students complained about being made to do so many exams - ofcourse they believed this was my fault.
    Many students got their C grade and even though they had B or A grade potential stopped working "Cos a C was all they needed for college etc.) and value added was low. - again this was my fault
    Exam costs soared and I am talking &pound;1000's - partly my fault apparently.
    And to cap it all the exam secretary complained that all the extra work and I kept changing my mind etc so I got balimed for that too.
     
  16. Maths_Mike

    Maths_Mike New commenter

    I am now just a mainscale teacher at a different school and much happier - but subject leader is being put under similar pressures to enter students early - even though it is already a very high achieving school.
    I.e heads are driving this practise not subject leaders in my opinion and experience and that is the worst and most unacceptable thing about it.
    Most subject leaders would in my opinion wnat the best from all their students especially re preparing for A Level and believe in teaching the subject not just exams.
    Heads / SMT care only about league tables. period.
     
  17. Maths_Mike

    Maths_Mike New commenter

    If a subject leader did modualr / early entry or whatever in would in the majority of cases be because they believed (rightly or wrongly but they believed non the less) that this gave that pupil the best chance of getting the highest grade they could.
    This may include doing foundation to secure a c then trying for a b at higher and all the other strategies mentioned on this thread.
    But as I said SMT interfere and drive this because someone somewhere told the early entry improves results so think everyone shodul do it and there in lies the core problem of this matter, especially when most SMT have no idea how to teach mathematics and how it differs significantly from what they taught which was probably humanities or PE
     
  18. Well said Mike, absolutely spot on!
     
  19. The students planning to do A Level started additional maths back in January - straight after the GCSE exam. Giving them plenty of time to complete the course with the amount of curriculum time allocated to maths. 25% of our students achieved A or A* (Many of those had C and B targets) and like I said, if they have not acheived their target grade (that is our school target which is typically higher that FFT-D) they will continue studying maths. Any student who wishes to push themselves and reach beyond their target grade also has the chance to do so.
    No one did Foundation unless they genuinely were a "foundation" student, in a competitative market I wanted the students to achieve the very best grade they possibly could. For those kids where getting a C has been an uphill challenge it is such a relief fo them to know now that they have done it and that college place is secured.
     
  20. pencho

    pencho New commenter

    The other reason why I don't think that we should just reply on one final exam for C/D borderline students is because it makes no difference how hard you and the students work, the awarding bodies only are allowed to pass a certain number each year. This is something that would need addressing before. Also the conistency in papers is a major issue.
    I think I read somewhere that Mossbourne Academy make use of early entry with some students. If so, will the chief inspector then go out and criticise it.

     

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