Summer Science GCSE grades 'down'

(57 Posts)
creamteas Sat 13-Jul-13 10:08:03

It has been announced that the science grades will be slightly lower than in previous years here.

Whilst it is not uncommon for this to happen in the first year of a new curriculum, the cynical part of me thinks that this is just lowering expectations so that the politically motivated large grade deflation will not cause as many headlines in the summer sad

RussiansOnTheSpree Sat 13-Jul-13 12:58:02

Well isn't that just wizard. sad

TheOriginalSteamingNit Sat 13-Jul-13 12:59:48

Oh bloody hell.

webwiz Sat 13-Jul-13 13:40:59

I saw this but have decided not to mention it to DS. Don't you just love all the meddling after they've actually taken the exams hmm

kritur Sat 13-Jul-13 13:55:28

I am guessing that if it's being announced now they have just set the grade boundaries. The grade boundaries aren't set prior to the exams, those used by the schools for predictions are historic and the exam boards have a big caveat on all past paper materials which says assumptions about future assessments should not be made on the basis of past paper materials. It's all part of the government toughening up in core areas, it's a shame that the transition has been so speedy and badly handled though.

MadameJosephine Sat 13-Jul-13 14:05:59

Oh bugger, hope DS doesn't get wind of this. He was having panic attacks during his GCSEs as it is, he can do without the worry sad

creamteas Sat 13-Jul-13 14:15:07

DD is probably in a better position than many. Because of her ASD, her performance in exams can be erratic so they have agreed her place in 6th form on the basis of teacher assessment.

But still anxious about what they intend to do the grades.

Lfs2126 Sat 13-Jul-13 14:44:01

Are igcse's affected or are they completely separate?

circular Sat 13-Jul-13 15:11:37

Didnt see any mention of grade boundary changes for science, just that the syllabus is more difficult.
DD1 took the first modules of the new syllabus for each of Physics, Chemistry and Biology last year and did better than expected. Most of her set did very well (too set, average comp).
Found the second modules this year much more difficult than expected, and Physics a very strange format. Seriously worried as intending to take Physics A level.

poppydoppy Sat 13-Jul-13 15:29:52

What do you think the grade boundary will be for an A*? the student room predicts anything from 38/60 to 42/60.

lurcherlover Sat 13-Jul-13 15:37:08

Grade boundaries change from year to year (and even within that - see last year's fiasco with the changes from Jan to June in English).

I'm a secondary teacher and would expect grade boundaries to be harsher in most subjects tbh. Gove has made no secret of the fact that he wants exams to be "harder" (except changing the boundaries doesn't change the content, but whatever...) and exam boards are businesses. They want to keep in favour with him just in case he ever manages to get his ridiculous plans in place for one exam board per subject, so they'll do what he wants.

creamteas Sat 13-Jul-13 15:52:51

I don't think grade boundaries are predictable at all this year, none of us will know until the day.

Copthallresident Sat 13-Jul-13 16:02:49

My DD took Gcses last year and a lot of her peers were affected by disappointing grades in English, and English Literature. I would prepare DCs as there were a lot of heartbroken teenagers coming out of schools thinking they had failed to do as well as predicted. It took around 24 hours before it became apparent it was a marking fiasco and the sixth forms let them know they were going to allow them on to the A level courses with lower grades based on teacher recommendations. Just preying they haven't got more of the same in store at AS level.

circular Sat 13-Jul-13 20:12:32

Poppydoppy that would mean a huge UMS adjustment to get the 90%.

Just checked DDS result slip last year (OCR Gateway) and for the P1/P2/P3 unit she got 128/140 UMS which would be 91% - so just have scraped the a*. Not sure what the raw mark was though. That's 35% of the modular GCSE. P4/P5/P6 this year will be out of 160 (40%) and the CA 100 (25%).

Biology teacher seemed to think boundaries would be very high. Her CA was 42/48 and she has been warned that could be a B.

mumslife Sun 14-Jul-13 11:01:26

Have warned my daughter which stressed her out even moresad does anyone think if they all get lower than expected schools and grammars will drop their requirements slightly for six form?

webwiz Sun 14-Jul-13 11:37:23

According to the sunday times Maths grade boundaries will be high as well and so the exam results will be lower than previous years. Not very nice for those on the C/D boundary.

Copthallresident Sun 14-Jul-13 11:45:52

mums that is certainly what happened in this area, last year. It took 24 hours but once they realised what had happened. At this rate employers and uni will have to keep list of what blew up each year, like wine vintages. Ah, she got an A* in Maths in 2013, was that a good year for Maths A*s.

As one Headmaster commented, the goalpost are being shifted, just not by anyone with a working GPS sad

RussiansOnTheSpree Sun 14-Jul-13 12:01:44

web not very nice for anyone. sad But it's possible the maths boundaries will be high because the exams were less difficult than anticipated?

webwiz Sun 14-Jul-13 12:26:26

No russians its a moving of the boundaries in addition to the adjustment for exam difficulty following an instruction from Ofqual.

creamteas Sun 14-Jul-13 13:37:37

Gove has been mouthing off about GCSEs not being fit for purpose, when it was patently not true. So in order to make it true, he is ensuring that grade boundaries cannot be trusted anymore (through Ofqual which is clearly just a lackey). The fact that he is playing politics with our children's lives is just despicable angry.

Most colleges/universities have a good understanding of what is going on (and are really not happy about it). So this will not be a massive problem for DC to gain entry. We are already talking about lowering expectations of GCSE results following last year's fiasco.

But future employers are less likely to be following this, and as entry to employment is much more staggered than college/university, this could be a bigger problem sad.

webwiz Sun 14-Jul-13 15:31:34

I don't think I'll bother reading any more articles about this as its too annoying and upsetting.

DS is happily oblivious and hopefully will stay that way till results day.

RussiansOnTheSpree Sun 14-Jul-13 16:50:32

Dd1 isn't oblivious. She w the one who brought the story about the science grades to my attention. However our theory is that they won't want to have an increased de facto fail rate (ie below a grade C) - we reckon the shiftings will be around the A*s and As, with larger numbers of kids getting Bs and CS - much like it was when I was a kid all those years ago. Grossly unfair for the kids who would have been A/A* students in the last few years, but perhaps not as bad as some fear for those at the C/D margin. Ultimately, Gove is not going to be ale to stand up and say 'you wanted more kids to fail, well look, more have'. His focus is on reducing the false impression that these exams are easy while still being able to trumpet improved education as evidenced by results. So, same number or more passes - but fewer top grades. Dd1 reckoned she ws screwed anyway what with her broken hand and having her face smashed in just before the exams. She is even less confident about the outcome now. sad

circular Sun 14-Jul-13 19:55:25

Russians - but it is as bad when a kid that expects A*/A ends up with B/C and is unable to take an A level in that subject as a result.
After seeing the article Dzd thinks her chances of Taking Physics A level are doomed. Predicted A* but thinks she may not have even got the A/B she needs.

DD1 took Maths (Edexcel linear) in Feb/Mar this year. Grade boundaries were the highest for a while, and papers not exceptionally easy.

RussiansOnTheSpree Sun 14-Jul-13 21:43:28

Circular well, yes, obviously, that was my point. hmm That's exactly the situation Dd1 is in, except she doesn't have the benefit of having taken several modules in easier times. sad I think, given the new Govian paradigm and the bad circumstances under which Dd1 had to take her exams, she has been exceptionally unlucky. Napoleon certainly wouldn't want her as a general.

circular Sun 14-Jul-13 22:34:04

Russians, the science modules last year were the first sittings for same syllabus - first teaching started in 2011. They had to be or would not count. There were rumours last year that science grade boundaries had moved too, but not clear how that affected those modules. Most of her set did well, a few retook to improve marks, none said that the retake was any more difficult.

DD was also 'lucky' enough to take AQA English Language last year. Probably so fixated on that, didnt really notice if her science marks should have been better.

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