I need to go in and see the teacher, don't I?

(83 Posts)
LittenTree Thu 04-Jul-13 23:01:54

<sigh>

DS1 is 'able' as in 'is capable of 9 or 10 decent GCSE passes, and most probably university'.

He attends the 'best performing comp' in the county as measured by exam results.

They do 'Business and Communications GCSE' at the end of Y10, presumably because they recognise that to a 'good', 'school-ready', 'MC' cohort it's 'a gift'.

DS has just admitted, after some wheedling from me- he got a D in the end of Y9 exam.

I am Not Happy.

He and I revised the reasonably detailed 'revision sheet'. Block a business letter? Check. H&S? Check. Methods of reimbursement? Check. All his notes were presented in text boxes, as in:
-a
-b
-c
etc.

I am a H&S officer; DH is in IT. DS has had lots of help in his revision.

I have No Idea why he did so badly. He is a quiet, well behaved DS who is generally achieving well. Or as well as our expectation would, well, Expect.

So. D?

Why have we not received a personal communication from the teacher who is the Head of IT telling us of our DS's, well, FAILURE? Why has his exam not been sent home? Why did a 'D' from such a DC not ring alarm bells?

Why have our comprehensive schools not grasped that fundamental of a successful educational outcome, i.e. Child/Teacher/PARENT?! The famous Japanese three legged stool? Is that So Hard?

I am not blaming the teacher for his failure as such but I am suggesting that this glaring failure should have been immediately drawn to our attention so we can see what went wrong.

Did he give one word answers to questions? He claims not.

Miss the point entirely?

He has No Idea why he did so badly. He hasn't been told, just that his performance was 'disappointing'. And we have no exam to look at.

Like everyone, I am busy. I shouldn't have to go in and see, if not confront this teacher. They should have told ME there's 'a problem'.

Rant over but I am Not Impressed.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 04-Jul-13 23:05:31

I'm confused, if this is a GCSE how did you get the results now?

MultumInParvo Thu 04-Jul-13 23:06:56

Maybe if you are a bit more wary of calling him a failure, he'd be more inclined to talk to you.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Thu 04-Jul-13 23:07:23

Oh right, year 9 exam.
Calm down. And stop trying to make this into some sort of bigger thing about what comprehensive schools have or have not grasped. You're sounding a bit silly, to be honest.

BackforGood Thu 04-Jul-13 23:27:43

I would suggest you calm down, and ask the teacher politely about it - say you are a bit confused as you felt he was fairly confident and capable, yet your ds is telling you he doesn't know how he came to get a D. Explain you'd like to help him if there's a problem.
If it possible he was given a GCSE paper to have a go at, not having covered considerable amounts of the curriculum yet ? To give them an idea of how much they still needed to work on or something ?

TheFallenMadonna Thu 04-Jul-13 23:29:57

You could try emailing them first and seeing what feedback they give?

Clary Thu 04-Jul-13 23:33:37

yeah what back for good said.

I teach MFL and my yr 10s just did a couple of GCSE papers to practice. Some of them got C (Foundation paper) but plenty did a lot worse. Some results were disappointing but in several cases I was actualy pretty happy considering we still have a year of curriculum to cover.

By all means ask for feedback (by email maybe?) but calm down a bit first.

Clary Thu 04-Jul-13 23:34:20

aaaaargh to practise. I was going to say for practice", honest blush

Clary Thu 04-Jul-13 23:36:22

I meant to add as well that I haven't contacted anyone's parents to tell them about the glaring failure hmm

atrcts Fri 05-Jul-13 00:55:16

Describing your son as "doing badly" and "failure" seems a bit pushy to me shock and I know how I'd feel in his shoes right now, poor fella!

KlickKlackknobsac Fri 05-Jul-13 01:11:33

Agree with Clary- end of Y9 trial is insignificant.
Plus stop doing so much revision with him- he needs to develop independence.
He needs to do repeated past papers in all subjects over the next 2 years. This will help him understand the mindset of the examiner/ exam. They are like a good crossword- you need to get into the head of whoever sets the puzzle.
All past papers (except most recent) can be found on line on exam board websites.
All will be fine.

burberryqueen Fri 05-Jul-13 01:11:33

this glaring failure
FAILURE - hmmmm
OP no offence but you do not sound entirely balanced about this

NatashaBee Fri 05-Jul-13 01:26:23

So he got a D, and still has a year to go before the real exam? I don't think that's a glaring failure, I would imagine his peer group mostly got a similar result. I wouldn't call it a failure, I'd be pleased I had those results now so I knew what he still needed to work on.

Shanghaidiva Fri 05-Jul-13 01:34:10

I think some of the comments here are a little harsh. OP did not say she called her son a failure, rather she regarded the result a failure. Key issue here is that the son doesn't know why he got the D grade. It is vital to the learning process that the teacher goes through the paper with all the students and highlights what went well and what they need to work on. Exam technique also needs to be learnt.
I would email teacher and explain that DS would like to know where he went wrong so that he knows what areas to work on - a reasonable request imo.

BalloonSlayer Fri 05-Jul-13 06:57:03

He's only in Year 9!

As I understand it (happy to be corrected though!), the SATs grades they usually use at the end of year 9 roughly translate thus to GCSE grades:

Level 7 at end of Yr 9 - should get an A at the end of Yr 11, would get a C if took GCSE at end of Year 9.

Level 6 at end of Yr 9 - should get a B at the end of Yr 11, would get a D if took GCSE at end of Year 9.

Level 5 at end of Yr 9 - should get a C at the end of Yr 11 - would get an E if took GCSE at end of Year 9.

. . . and so on.

If your DS got a Level 6 now, you'd be pleased, wouldn't you? Level 6 is good for the end of year 9. I might be a teensy bit concerned that he hasn't got the time for his grade to come up to where it might if he was doing the GCSE at the normal time.

I guess I would drop a casual email asking:

"is it normal to get a D at this stage?"

"What does this suggest he will get at GCSE?"

"Can he take the GCSE at the end of Yr 11? Why not?"

Blissx Fri 05-Jul-13 07:02:06

I don't like pupils starting GCSEs earlier. In Year 9, they are generally not mature enough and in Shanghaidiva has a point-they just don't have exam technique yet. (can understand triple science for time, but it sounds like your high performing comp starts them earlier on GCSEs and then puts pupils in for multiple re-sits over the years until they excel)

I don't think your son's knowledge is the issue here, it is probably the way he interprets or reads the question fully, or writing enough for the marks on offer or even his handwriting as stress can turn writing into scrawls! By all means, send an email and the teacher will respond. However, without looking at their programme of study, you can't assume yet, that they were never planning on reviewing the paper. Oh, and try not to over emphasise this failure with your son as you won't want lack of confidence being an additional factor later on.

lborolass Fri 05-Jul-13 07:09:47

Ballonslayer - I haven't seen that relationship between Nat Curric levels and GCSEs before. Do you know how reliable that is?

OP - I would follow this up with the teacher if it's totally out of line with everything to date just in case he's doing something fundamentally wrong that can be corrected over the next two years

AuntieStella Fri 05-Jul-13 07:14:44

We have to rely on word of pupil for early sight of exam results, otherwise it's wait for the school report.

I'm not too sure what you mean by "such a DC". What is your school's normal practice and have they followed it? Or are you just expecting special treatment?

If you think the school policy of how they inform parents is wrong, then you will need to go in and make your case in terms of how it benefits all pupils.

chicaguapa Fri 05-Jul-13 07:24:55

I expect the teacher hasn't contacted you because he doesn't see the D as being a glaring failure. If your DS had got a great result in the Y9 exam you'd be wondering what more he was going to do in Y10 if he was already up to standard? It sounds like the D is on course for a good result in Y10 after another year's learning.

Contact the teacher by all means, but the word 'confront' in your OP is a little worrying. Like you, the teacher is busy too and probably doesn't have time to contact every parent in their own time. Maybe he was expecting your DS to take some responsibility and inform his parents himself or was planning on mentioning it as parents evening?

Theas18 Fri 05-Jul-13 07:40:40

Deep breath OP!

Surely a D now, with another year of teaching before the actual GCSE is probably about where he should be? (they may even be assessing to GCSE standards based on knowing about half the info they need for the exam,we have had that before). So you need so much more info before you fly of the handle!

When you say your son is " capeable of 9-10 decent GCSE passes" are you ( realistically) meaning the "mumsnet decent passes" of A/A* or the " govt/school" idea of decent passes ie A*-C. If it is the latter he's band on target!

headlesslambrini Fri 05-Jul-13 07:46:59

anyone else confused as to why she is a H&S officer and her DH is in IT should make the jot of difference here? Sounds to me like she is implying that a H&S person and a IT person are brighter than anyone else.

I'd be careful as to how you approach the school otherwise you are just going to make a fool of yourself.

burberryqueen Fri 05-Jul-13 07:48:09

actually yes i did wonder about that headlesslambrini

BrigitBigKnickers Fri 05-Jul-13 08:08:48

The problem with GCSEs that most people don't get is that simply knowing stuff isn't enough.

With GCSEs you have to be able to use what you know in order to answer the longer, higher mark questions and at the end of year 9 he is unlikely to have had enough experience with this.

DD1 used to spend hours and hours revising facts, rewriting stuff out and making little cards and charts at this age and often did badly in exams. She would get very down hearted thinking she was working hard ( which of course she was but just not in the right way.) as time went on she developed the techniques and ended up with As all but two of her final exams.

DD 2 is bright and at a high performing grammar school, is in year 9 and she started all of her GCSE courses at the beginning of this year. Some of her grades are in the C/D range and her teachers are more than happy with her results at this stage. She has another year before a few of her exams and another two for most so plenty of time for consolidation and exam technique to be developed.

I really think you are reading too much into this. He is only 14! His school haven't contacted you as they don't see it as too much of a problem and surely you will have eventually have found out by way of a report or at least pupil tracking information?

noblegiraffe Fri 05-Jul-13 08:21:17

Why have you not received personal communication from the teacher? Probably because it's not that big a deal. If teachers got on the phone at every slightly below par result (and a D a year from the exam isn't horrifying), then they'd never have time to teach.

Certainly contact the school if you are concerned (has DS had an end of year report yet? Perhaps wait for that if not). But don't go in all guns blazing as you have in the OP, it's really over the top.

LittenTree Fri 05-Jul-13 08:26:59

OK. I called the school (you can only 'make contact' between 8 and 8.30am). The Head Of Year has just called me back, to my surprise.

He says that he was 'very interested to hear my remarks' as, apparently, he has, over the past 2 weeks, received 'a significant number' of parents querying why their otherwise able DC have failed this exam (but presumably, like us received no feedback, either!). He actually put it as 'There appear to have been rather a few unexpected upsets regarding this particular exam...'. Apparently they were examined on the curriculum as taught so far.

He is 'in discussion' about it and will 'provide constructive feedback' a soon as he can.

Good. So it appears I'm not being paranoid! And the HoY actually telling me that he's received other 'queries' encourages me to believe that I am correct in thinking this needs further looking at. DS has never 'failed' anything before, his March report in this subject speaks of 'a good grasp of the subject'...

Something I see I left out which is rather relevant: They sit their GCSE at the end of Y10, further reinforcing the understanding that this should be a gift of a GCSE for an able pupil.

As for being a H&S officer, The revision notes DS brought home, 20 pages of them had a good 10 pages of H&S Law and 'issues' on them. Page after page of what the employer's responsibilities are, what the Law says, what the employees responsibilities are; cellular and open plan offices, pros & cons; and 'on this picture, ring possible H&S hazards'. So a goodly part of the course, I'd say. As for IT, another slew of it was spreadsheet management, blocking letters, formatting text, use of bullet points and so on- what DH does every day. We know this stuff. That's why it's relevant. Same as if you were a Maths teacher and your DS failed a Maths exam you'd helped him prepare for, you'd be asking questions, too; not because you thought you were 'better' than anyone else but because you had a deep and full understanding of what your DS was allegedly learning. IMHO that does make rather a jot of difference.

Balloonslayer - thanks for your input. Sadly the teacher apparently said to the D and E pupils 'I'm very disappointed in your performance' which implies she'd expected considerably better than a D at this stage! And yes, 'D', dressed up however you want to, is a fail.

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