Surely she will end up sitting 30 odd exams?

(61 Posts)
MoominmammasHandbag Fri 25-Jan-13 21:40:46

The other night we went to my DC3s GCSE choices evening. We discovered that, by the time she sits her exams, new government guidelines will dictate that she has to sit them all at the end of 2 years rather than spreading them out over that time.
Fair enough I thought, that's how mine were 30 odd years ago and fortunately DD is bright and capable of intensive studying. But when I counted things up I realised she will have 9 for triple science, 4 for history, 4 for Latin etc. She will be doing 11 GCSEs. How on earth will they fit in all the exams?

meditrina Sat 26-Jan-13 08:55:58

"leaks" ?? - orals!

TheFallenMadonna Sat 26-Jan-13 09:03:02

Creamteas is right. Exams are still modular. It is only the timing that has changed. So yes, at the moment it looks like pupils will be taking the giving away of exams over a five week period. Not fewer longer exams over a shorter time. Rushed, ill thought out, standard for Gove.

BikeRunSki Sat 26-Jan-13 09:16:15

In the olden days of old fashioned "write it all down at the end of 2 years" O and A levels, they often did more than one paper at one sitting, or with only a half hour break or something. I once did 6 papers in a day and three the next day.

TheFallenMadonna Sat 26-Jan-13 09:28:37

And now we have exam sessions: am and pm. So you only do two exams in one session if you have a clash. And exam boards have a common timetable in order to try to prevent that for most combinations of subjects.

The point is, as creamteas said, there has been no attempt made to actually linearise the courses. They are modular, they are still modular. Next May and June, children will be taking modular exams. They will just be taking lots of them all in the same series.

The format of the exams, how they are timetabled in an exam series - not changing.

DontmindifIdo Sat 26-Jan-13 09:28:46

Well, I did GCSEs just as changes were coming in to make some modular but I didn't do any modular exams, they way they did it for maths was there were 2 exams, but in each exam paper there were 3 sections, I believe the year after me each section was an exam in it's own right. I think the theory is it will be more like the old system of 3 hour exam - but in that exam your DD will do what would have been 3x1 hour exams IYSWIM.

Yellowtip Sat 26-Jan-13 09:33:34

Six of my DC (and all their peers at school) have taken 11 or 12 GCSEs each as linear, so around 25 or so separate papers in June. It's quite a test of endurance, but perfectly do-able.

creamteas Sat 26-Jan-13 09:40:37

Of course the thing Mr Stupid Gove has not taken any account of is that marking criteria are very different now.

When I did O levels, teachers could teach around the subject more, because they knew that background knowledge could be recognised in the exam and given credit for when appropriate. Now marking criteria are pretty specific in many subjects so none of this will make a difference (and could stop you gaining marks).

It took a long time for my ASD DD to accept that she had to give 'wrong' answers to some science questions to get full marks at GCSE (and she is still extremely unhappy about it!)

TheFallenMadonna Sat 26-Jan-13 09:41:26

That's not the theory. The theory is that all the modules of the modular course will be taken in one exam series. But unless they change the current practice, and I hope they do, then each module will have its own session.

TeWiSavesTheDay Sat 26-Jan-13 09:43:11

This is exactly how I did my GCSEs (10 years ago) 30 odd exams spread over a few weeks.

I think it is less stressful tbh. And because all the topics are fresh in your mind I think the extension/further/whatever they call them papers are easier because it's easier to call on what you know about the whole subject.

creamteas Sat 26-Jan-13 09:47:42

Yellow it is only do-able for some children, not all. I have two DC with SEN. They cannot take two exams on one day, and would struggle with five exams in a week. My DD is under the modular system, her exams can be taken over two years and she will gain 10 GCSE (hopefully grin).

My DS is not that lucky, he is going to be doing linear, and will probably only be entered for 6 or 7. He will study the same number of subjects, but will probably not take exams, not because he is any less clever, but because he is not able to take that many papers in such a short space of time. His exam entries will decided by the timetable of the exam boards, not his ability which is, I think extremely unfair.

roisin Sat 26-Jan-13 10:02:45

Ds1 is in yr11 and is doing almost all exams at the end of yr11. (His school don't participate in this early entry, modular nonsense.)
English Lang 2x 1hr - in one sitting.
Physics - ditto (did 1hr last year)
Chem and Biology - as above.
English lit 2x 2hr
German 2x45 min - in one sitting
Maths - 2hr + 1.5hr
History - 2 x 1.45
IT - 1.5 hrs
Citizenship - 1hr

So in total (if you count 2 short exams in one sitting as one), 13 exams for 10 GCSEs.

They are spread over 2 weeks before half term, then two weeks after half term.

He's just done mock exams of almost all of the above I just 10 days and that was fine.

I did more than one paper at different sittings for all the O levels I took. This will surely be no different.

TheFallenMadonna Sat 26-Jan-13 10:14:39

So they do the modular nonsense for Science then roisin.

Yellowtip Sat 26-Jan-13 10:47:44

Obviously those with special needs have to be considered differently creamteas but OP's DD doesn't appear to be in that category. The 25 or so exams are staggered over a period from mid-May to the latter part of June, with half-term in the middle. The timetable is relatively spread out. It should be do-able for most I'd have thought, particularly if only 9 or 10 subjects are taken.

hardboiled Sat 26-Jan-13 12:02:28

Well my DS is about to start secondary and I think it will be a loss if instead of taking 12 GCSEs he takes 8, because it's a much narrower curriculum at an age in which the system should be forming rounded individuals and leaving options open. It will mean there will be very few things left to choose from once he takes the core subjects which are around 6 or 7 depending on the school, and of course the subjects to be left out will be the arts, music, drama, etc.

creamteas Sat 26-Jan-13 12:25:12

Yellow but that is the point, they can't be considered differently, especially if there is only 1 exam board per subject. The insistence on terminal exams for all, means that lots of children are effectively excluded.

littleducks Sat 26-Jan-13 12:34:02

But to be fair for some children dont fare well with coursework or modular exams, whichever system you choose it will suit some and cause others problems.

roisin Sat 26-Jan-13 13:13:45

Fallenmadonna: yes, they do the mod1 for science at the end of yr10; then mod2&3 at the end of yr11.

What I meant was some schools do mod1 end of yr9, then re-take to improve grade, then do mod2 in jan yr10, then re-take ... etc. so by the end of the course they may have taken 5 or 6 exams per subject, instead of 3.

creamteas Sat 26-Jan-13 13:38:12

little that might be true, but Gove is not ending modular assessment or coursework. He has just removed the right to sit the exams at different times. If we were moving to linear assessment, then I'm sure the assessment would (or at least should be) designed to allow children with SEN to participate. But, for the time being, this is not what is happening.

MoominmammasHandbag Sat 26-Jan-13 15:04:01

Well I have counted up and I reckon DD will have 29 exams for 11 GCSEs (one of which is Art). I still think that is quite excessive. As creamteas says, I don't think the changes have been thought through at all. I just hope they are sensible with the exam timetable and group tigether exams for the same subject.

roisin Sat 26-Jan-13 15:38:10

How do you get to 29?
Apart from Science, I don't know of any subject with more than two exams.
And many that have two, have two short exams that are run straight after each other.
(See my list above. ds1 - yr11 this year, all linear, 13 exam sittings for 10 GCSEs. 18 exams, if you count two 1hr exams run concurrently as two.)

MoominmammasHandbag Sat 26-Jan-13 15:59:36

She will have 3 for Maths, 4 for History, 4 for Latin, at least 2 for everything else. The school seems to prefer the modular approach to the linear. I have her options booklet right in front of me. But I hope, as you say, they will run the short exams concurrently.

babytrasher Sat 26-Jan-13 21:33:01

Creamteas I am an SEN Teacher, and have had many talks with parents, colleagues, other professionals etc about exactly this point.

My own conclusion is that the new system is an improvement because it will benefit the vast majority of students by providing a more level playing field; and because it will also benefit our type of student by revaluing context.

The current system has fixed targets but allows very flexible approaches to them, which renders context virtually meaningless. By fixing the approaches schools are allowed to take towards these fixed targets, all of a sudden context becomes a significant factor.

Come publication of the 2014 GCSE League Tables in Jan 2015, you will see no alteration in the head of the beast (the point scores of the best schools), but its tail will get a f*ck of a lot longer: all of a sudden, people will see that, given the context of their totally dysfunctional lives, a lot of our students have actually done a lot better than the local main-streamers! grin

GinandJag Sun 27-Jan-13 08:26:36

You have to remember that three of the science exams can be taken at the end of Year 10.

BooksandaCuppa Sun 27-Jan-13 09:58:33

I don't get the problem. We always had about 25/30 exams for 10 GCSEs in 'my' day - taken over about 3-4 weeks. Same for A levels - 3 x 3 hour exams per subject (and some students had 3 in one day - 9 hours of exams!!).

Why does it mean they have to go down to 8 subjects?

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