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Suitable selection for next years A level cohort?

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by Betamale, Apr 3, 2011.

  1. I would like the views of the folk here who teach A level maths (ideally in comprehensive schools).
    Do you feel your schools policy/outlook on taking on pupils for A level is a good one given the increasing gap between GCSEs and A levels?
    I have about 8 or so B grade GCSE students who are not scoring over 10-15% in any formal assessment and simply cannot handle the transition to AS.
    Our policy is a 'B grade is required' and aprt from the MENA pupils I have only seen 1 who got a B grade handle the work this year (at a modest levl)
    Would it be wrong to test the pupils prior to being accepted in the summer? would t be right to give them a formal work load before they return?
    It would be imple enough to say "Let them have a try and then allow thm to drop it"
    The problem is that the school will not allow them to drop it if they are only doing 3 A levels AND other cases are where the kid thinks it will be 'alright on the night'
    The usual "The course may not be able to run" SLT statement comes out. I know 10 who have been accepted on to do the course who can just just just handle B grade GCSE work and have zero understanding of basic maths and have done resits and scored well in the stats modules to get their B grades. I cannot beleve that its fair to allow them to get locked in?
    Should we test them and be honest? (its not my decision to make I dont think) but I am teaching my AS group on Tuesday 5-6 weeks before their exam and we will be coverng surds agan and might get onto some 'harder' completng the square wth half the class. Some are good and crack on but I feel am not servcng these kids half as much as I could in lesson times.
    A grade students only unless highly rated by their teacher? Let them all on and just get E/U grade? AS use of maths before they can do the full one?
  2. bombaysapphire

    bombaysapphire Star commenter

    I teach in a pretty average comprehensive and we have similar problems.
    I have students with grade As on an early sitting who I think will struggle with A level next year. They are going to need to work extremely hard to keep up.
    We actively discourage students with Bs from starting the course and warn them that they will be closely monitored and might need to drop it. We have had 5 students drop the course during Year 12, 4 before their C1 module and 1 after.
    We will have 2 sets running in Year 12 next year and I am going to suggest strongly that they are set. That means that some of the weaker students do not need to cover all of the course and we can make sure they thoroughly understand the bits they have covered. Getting through the A level syllabus demands such a fast pace and some students really, really struggle.
    At a recent staff meeting we were told that there would be no funding for students who end up with a U at the end of Year 12. That might influence the decision making process.
  3. Hi I also teach in a comp school and we have exactly the same problem with the B graders and the pressure from managment upon us to get the results. This year we hit them with loads of monitering and a vast work load in the first few weeks and this got rid of quite a few. Next year we are considering setted groups. In my opinion a B grade is not sufficient to be tackling A level maths however them in charge do not agree!!

  4. We have the same concerns and constraints. My approach is to monitor carefully, reporting quickly to the school and parents as soon as the completion of homework and/or test results become a worry. I had considered that exam entry should be dependent upon strong test results, performance, attitude etc but a more experienced colleague has pointed out that this just stores up troubles for later.
  5. bombaysapphire

    bombaysapphire Star commenter

    I have found posting a list of outstanding homeworks home at the first half term very effective. This does depend on them starting with 4 A Levels though so they are allowed to drop one.
  6. A good question betamale. I like the idea of posting oustanding homeworks bombaysapphire.

    I think the question isn't just about a grade B though. I have had a few kids who have missed an A by a few marks, but are determined to work hard and then make a great success of a level.
    On the other hand , I have had a few A* who think they are God's gift, so they don't need to work hard, make a mess of differentiation and integration and really foul things up.
    Or maybe that's just GCSE making it seem easy, so kids 'learn' to leave revision to the last minute. an A level being constant work, is a completely new world?
  7. In our school Y12 students study 4 courses and are not allowed to drop any of them after the end of September ... the impact on funding is too drastic otherwise

    Grade B
    Satisfactorily complete the algebra homework set over the summer

    Achieve target grade in the September test

    For some students a D or E in maths AS is useful and I would not deny them that opportunity

    If they do not achieve any of the above then they will be removed from the course at the start of October and will find a place on a more suitable course

    If they manage those ... they stay on all year (unless they drop out completely)
  8. I did a "preparing for A-Level" morning last summer after the GCSEs, as a bit of a "heads up" to the students, but it didn't have any effect on persuading them to brush up on the higher grade Algebra. I'd like to try setting some homework over the summer ResourceFinder, although I don't know if the school would allow me to insist upon it as an entry requirement, but it's worth asking. What do you use?
  9. We just have a dense document with lots of questions that use necessary algebra ... factorising, completing squares, rearranging, substituting, algebraic fractions, lots of hard questions

    They have to do it ... all subjects set something following Induction week and it is a pre-requisite for joining the AS course
  10. And there are no concerns over the impact this has on funding/bums-on-seats?
  11. We do not allow courses to run if there are not enough bums on seats

    So the choice has to be made ... course runs with students who can complete or course does not run
    We have approx 30 students who get A+ at GCSE and another 30 who get Bs ... there are enough of those to meet the 16 minimum requirement
  12. Thanks Mike
    I think I am fighting a losing battle as the school insists the 'kids give it a go' and 'its al UCAS points even if its an E' so I have 2-3 aiming for E grades [​IMG]
    I have differentiated although when you see one draw the line y = x as y = - x and ask if it needs to go though the middle? you have to wonder.
    I will not be doing the AS next Spetmeber unless the rules change of there are 2 classes.

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