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What I think has happened?

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by chelle_b, Aug 28, 2012.

  1. I agree with you entirely. As teachers, we are supposed to be able to tell an external agent precisely what grade every single child is currently working at. That means that we have to have knowledge of the grading of every topic, and how each topic escalates through the grades. If we can do that, then surely an experienced examiner will also have the knowledge of the requirements for each grade. It should, therefore, be easy to determine the grade boundaries in advance. And if that leads to year on year increases, then Well Done Kids!
  2. Sounds great in theory, but unfortunately they will never go down that route.
  3. sonofspivak

    sonofspivak New commenter

    My view is that anyone taking higher who was not on a C got pulled from the modular exam and took linear. Also I think the overall entries for Edexcel went down, likely due to some schools entering people in March.

    However, what I think this means is that many students who stayed on the modular course have been denied a C grade when they thoroughly deserved it. For the modular C grade boundary to be 44% whereas the linear in 26% is I think scandalous.

    I certainly know of many students who switched to linear and got a C when they were on a D or an E on modular.
  4. Maths_Mike

    Maths_Mike New commenter

    I totally agree.
    Until we start to assess against predetermined criteria rather than comapring students in a given cohort we will have this problem.
    Early entry and modular all skew the distributions - the more year nine students you enter for modules the lower the pass mark as the worse the cohort will do overall - then the massive compesation at the end to maintain the required numbers at each grade totally rubbish.
  5. Nazard

    Nazard New commenter

    This is particularly problematic when there are several different awarding bodies. It will make sense for me to choose the awarding body that isn't used by grammar schools, independent schools, etc, because this will allow my students to do better by comparison.

    We still need to have a single exam board for each subject.

    Oh - and I agree with the other things you said too!
  6. Maths_Mike

    Maths_Mike New commenter

    Yes this also skews the distribution as the A/B studenst all stay in the modular cohort - raising the grade boundary and the weaker students get shifted to linear weakening the cohort and lowering the boundary accordingly.
  7. sonofspivak

    sonofspivak New commenter

    and the net result of this is that C grade students who stay on modular end up getting D's through no fault of their own.

    Personally I think it is farcical.
  8. The GCSE maths system is in a complete mess. There are too many factors involved, and deciding on the right combination of factors for your students is impossible.
    The option of early entry needs to disappear altogether in my opinion. I would settle for not allowing it to be sat in year 9. We desperately need ONE GCSE specification/exam, preferable three-or-more tiered, but definitely so you're only allowed to choose what tier a student sits, not when they sit it. If a child is ready to enter early, allow them to pursue another course of higher value.
    There will always be some discrepancy in the system, as you can't have an exam matched the same ability each year perfectly, unless you have the same exam each year which is obviously not viable. They need one exam (at different tiers) with grade boundaries which reflect the difficulty of the questions, not comparisons to the cohort or the particular fancy of the politicians of the time. Why is this inconsistency allowed to take place? GCSE Mathematics has prescribed content - it isn't difficult to write an exam to test it and then grade it fairly, excluding all political motivations. It is NOT difficult, why do they make it so? How can the qualification be valued by further/higher education and employers, when grades aren't worth the paper they're written on?
    We're not talking about the exams being too easy or too difficult, we're talking about the grade having no bearing on the actual ability of the student. It's utterly worthless.
    Why are we unable to get this right at GCSE, when the KS3 exam system worked so much better, even though I know it wasn't perfect?
    Next week I will return to school and made to feel like an inadequate teacher because of this year's results, despite the fact I am aware of all these issues which prevent my students from getting the grades they deserved. I'm very disheartened - how much longer can we take it? I don't think we'll be able to use the 'exam board' arguments because our English department have done exceptionally well.
    The earlier poster was right as well; we are expected to know our students and what grade they're working at, but at the moment this is impossible because the grades awarded do not reflect the ability or knowledge of our students.
  9. I completely disagree with this statement. If examination boards are incapable of creating a series of examinations that have equal levels of difficulty at GCSE then they are incapable of being an examination board.
    Their syllabus is broken down into levels. The final examination states they will have certain percentages in each level of difficulty. Instead of OCR now having Higher Gold, Silver, Bronze and Initial they returned to the levelled attainment that equated roughly with GCSE grades you could easily create paper after paper that were of equal difficulty.
    For instance, if a Higher paper was always broken down into,
    15% of marks at grade A*,
    20% of marks at grade A,
    25% of marks at grade B,
    30% of marks at grade C,
    10% of marks at grade D.
    Then it would be entirely possible to formulate the raw marks for each grade threshold. I'll leave that up to you to determine...
    Given that examination boards are now massive, profitable entities it is easy enough to start working on an examination for a couple of years hence, allowing sufficient time for any amendments. And seeing how much work lies at each grade, it is possible to create papers that are not formulaic also.
  10. That's what OCR wanted to do, of course, but Ofqual rejected it (those stages were supposed to be module tests with three grades available). On the old staged tests (graduated assessment) the boundaries were pretty stable, around 60% and 30% for the two grades on each. Worked fine IME.
  11. The system is fatally flawed. The same problem occurs at AS/A2. In January, the only kids doing Core 2 are either Further Maths 1st year students, or A2 students resitting the exam. Consequently, the grade boundaries are usually very high.
    In summer, when the cohort consists of AS students (mostly), the exam boards (awarding bodies) tend to, strangely, set a harder paper, and the grade boundaries drop alarmingly. As a result, you have to be very careful about which papers to use for mock exams.
    The answer is to get rid of all January exams. Sit all exams in the summer, for all courses, even resits, bith at GCSE and A-level. In addition, get rid of GCSE altogether and have an exam of mathematical competence, which can be sat at the end of any year from, say, year 9 onwards to year 13. Then, you can have a GCSE that covers only grades B upwards and is a sensible preparation for further study in Maths, Physics etc.
    My local sixth form college is trying to deal with: year 10 entered linear or modiualr GCSE; year 11 entered linear or modular GCSE; year 11 further Maths GCSE; iGCSE; GCSE Statistics; linked pair pilot; kids who have sat at least two,sometimes three different GCSE specs, plus kids who have done a variety of AS modules for different awarding bodies. Trying to decide on criteria for starting AS Maths, or resitting GCSE or taking other qualifiactions is a complete nightmare.
    cyolba, future Ed Sec :)
  12. That's exactly what has happened to our students. Some of our Year 11 students went into the last modular exam sitting on a grade C and achieved 80% on the final paper only to come out with a D. Very disheartening when their peers who weren't doing as well, were entered for the linear paper and only had to achieve an average of 65% on the two papers to achieve the grade C that everyone covets. When the papers are supposed to similarly levelled, this is surely a disgrace and students rightly feel let down by the whole system. A difference of 21% is outrageous.
  13. Never heard that said before. Do you have any evidence for that?
    As for graduated assessment, I always thaought it was perfectly fine and could have had a simple tweak to make the changes required for the new type of GCSE. Obviously other people thought differently...
  14. Not sure if i've got my maths right but to get a grade C at Foundation tier on Edexcel modular, you needed over 80%. Compare with 26% Higher linear. When two-tier came along, i had (presumably wrongly) assumed that those on the C/D borderline would be best off taking Foundation, because the topics would be more suited to them and they'd have a better chance of getting a C. I now realise this isn't the case!

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