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Slightly unexpected GCSE results

Discussion in 'Personal' started by Doitforfree, Aug 20, 2015.

  1. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    My son's school had the bad idea of starting two GCSEs in year nine, which he's just got the results for in year 10. I thought it was a dodgy scheme from the start but we kept getting reassurances, even though he clearly wasn't taking his work seriously. He's young in the year as well. Anyway, he's just got his results - 2 Cs. In one subject it would have been good but not at all out of the question if he'd got a B (he'd easily have got an A at the right time, i think, as it was a language so he'd only been doing it a couple of years). The other he was on target for a A, with an A for his mock exam, but got a F for his actual exam, which was half the marks.

    Sorry to sound like a crazy paranoid mother but this early entry has bugged me from the start, and my fears have all been realised. But how can someone get such a different mark in their actual exam from the mock? Is there anything to do or is it best just to put it down to experience? My son is terminally lazy, which is a big part of the problem. But how can i trust his other predictions if a mock can be so vastly different from the real thing?

    Thank you. I'm feeling a bit all up in the air at the moment! I know this is a long way from a disaster but it's really undermined my already fragile confidence in his school.
  2. Jolly_Roger1

    Jolly_Roger1 Star commenter

    When I was at school, we were streamed for maths, English and French. Those in the top sets for each sat the O level one year early, at the end of what would now be Year 10. Mine was the last year to do this for English, as the results were lower than expected. if you think about it, this makes sense. Someone sitting the exam in Year 10 could still be only 14 while someone doing so in Year 11 could be nearly 17.

    At my last school, we experimented with the ablest students starting GCSE courses science and maths in Year 9 and taking the exam at the end of Year 10 . Neither was very successful as even the brightest candidates tended to not to do as well as the would have done at the end of Year 11.
  3. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    It helps a bit to know that my misgivings weren't misplaced. My son was doing work that counted towards his GCSEs when he was three years younger than i was taking my first O level exam. It sems obvious that it's not a recipe for doing well. I also hate the view it gives of education, that it's all about exam courses and taking exams, and that that is all that matters. That's the complete opposite of how it should be!

    I guess I need to takee the approach with him that at least he's had a taste of 'proper' exams and should be able to see that he needs to put more work in. But thry telling that to the dreamy just thirteen year old he was when he started this nonsense!
  4. vannie

    vannie Star commenter

    We had a similar thing two years ago. My son's school entered him for History GCSE a year early. I was concerned as History is very fact based and they seemed to rattle through it very quickly. He took the exam at the end of year 10 and got a C. As far as the school were concerned that was that. He'd got a C, it counted towards their figures and that was all they seemed to care about. He's a lazy oik at the best of times and though I really wanted him to try again the school made it difficult with timetabling and he decided not to bother with a retake as he's already 'passed' it. It made me cross then and it makes me cross now. Early entry seems to me to be part of the 'never mind the quality, feel the width' view of education that just doesn't sit well with me.
  5. However, from another point of view I asked if my Y10 class could be entered for their maths GCSE as they are quite weak and I felt that if they could approach the Foundation paper with a clear head and no pressure from all their other subjects it would help them. Schools are reluctant to do early entry (I thought) since Gove said that each student's first attempt would be counted in the league tables, to prevent schools entering kids early - but my school isn't too concerned with league tables (independent with a strong ethos of doing what's best for each child) so allowed it. I've now got 8 in our set of 10 going into Y11 with the confidence of a C behind them (and one just 1 mark off, so hopefully....), and the two (or one, depending on the re-mark) who didn't get it having learned a lesson about what's required to get a GCSE and how hard one has to work and how good it feels when you've achieved it.

    They will carry on now to do the Higher and hopefully many may achieve B grades (or, if they choose, focus harder on their other subjects and ease off on their maths) in Y11.

    But it's given them CHOICES, and it's been a great learning experience for the two (or one :)) who didn't achieve it this time.

    I can't see what's not good about that, from a student's perspective??
  6. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    Indeed, I thought it had swung the way of most if not all exams being terminal since the first one counts on league tables (which IMO is wrong, I have always advocated give all kids three chances at any exam - take the best of 3 if 3 are needed, if you can't pass after 3 attempts you can't pass - simples!)

    Although one could see exactly where it might be heading if multiple entries were allowed at 3 points of the year with no league table repercussions, some academy somewhere would get their Year 7's in, bang them through some intensive all day on one subject days between September and November and have a 'first past the post initiative' to see how may Year 7s can enter year 8 ALREADY with 5 A*-Cs including English and Maths!
  7. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    Although maybe there is something to be said for 'first past the post' and entering Year 7 in November, the current system is a bit like getting builders in to do school improvements over the Summer and only allowing them access to the most important part of the building for 24 hours on Sunday, August 31st and hoping all the different pieces come together!
  8. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Entering Year 9s for GCSEs is mostly a bad idea as the original poster stated; although some will be mature enough to study and pass, the majority are not mature enough to understand what is necessary to pass and handle that type of pressure.

    Schools are putting more and more pressure on students and staff which just isn't necessary. Let the students take their exams in either Year 10 or 11 and let them enjoy school.

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