Can DS refuse to re-take this GCSE?

(53 Posts)
BaconAndAvocado Sat 07-Sep-13 23:09:59

DS (year 10) recently got an A for his Maths GCSE. He informed us yesterday that he, and all his peers, except the one student who achieved an A*, are going to re-sit the exam to try and get a higher grade. In his case, an A*.

Does this make any sense at all?

He says he's not bothered that he has to take it again in November but he will also be sitting his English Language exam in November, which is not his forte. So he will be spending time revising for the 2, rather than just the English.

creamteas Sat 14-Sep-13 12:48:31

Her dd didn't get the uni course she wanted, even with 4 A*s and 9 As, so they certainly do look at GCSE results too

Yes, some unis look closely at GCSE results, but you can't assume that this was the reason. It could actually be the other way round, they didn't look at her GCSEs and that is why she didn't get an offer.

This is how so many of the myths about admissions arise. Universities don't give individual reasons, and people put forward their own assumptions.

busymummy3 Sat 14-Sep-13 09:42:11

My DD is another who was given all A* targets even in subjects she had never studied eg a second MFL. I do think that this can be looked at both ways, from the schools point of view they felt she could achieve at that level but from the students point of view it could be daunting !
We are lucky in that DD is a fairly calm , laid back girl who tends to take it in her stride and believes if she can do it she can if she can't it's not the end of the world.
She is also fairly independent and once she makes her mind up rarely changes it .
She ended up with 12 GCSE's - 9 A*'s and 3 A's and the second MFL was one she got an A* in .
She refused to resist the unit 2 of the separate sciences ( got all A's first time around) she explained to her teachers that she did not want to study sciences at A level and no amount of persuasion by teachers would change her mind . She just stuck to her belief that she wished to concentrate on the subjects she would take at A level to ensure A* 's in those.
She ended up with A* in Chemistry ( got 100 UMS which brought the A up) A in Physics missed A* by 3 ( got 100 UMS in unit 3 which she was amazed by as is her "hated " subject) and A in Biology ( got 89 UMS in Unit 3 which maintained her A)
She still feels now that she made the right decision and went into all her exams not over stressing.
Oh and she hasn't gone on to do Sciences at A level despite attempts by teachers on sixth form registration she just doesn't enjoy them and says what is the point of studying something I don't enjoy just because I'm good at it.

dingit Sat 14-Sep-13 09:25:56

Just spoken to a friend who is maths teacher. She advised her to resit next June, as a year learning additional maths will help a lot. Her dd didn't get the uni course she wanted, even with 4 A*s and 9 A s, so they certainly do look at GCSE results too!

noblegiraffe Fri 13-Sep-13 20:44:51

Where they don't accept resits, it's resits to meet their grade requirements. So if she got an A on her first go, that would be fine for practically all Uni courses, I'd have thought.

Uninformed Fri 13-Sep-13 20:16:33

I'm not the expert, but this is on (their) page 21 of this document

russellgroup.org/InformedChoices-latest.pdf

"A number of institutions ask that grades and number of subjects are achieved at one sitting. Some do not accept ‘re-sits’ at GCSE or standard level qualifications.
If you think this might affect you and a university’s policy is not clear from its published admissions policies, it is sensible to check with Admissions staff before applying"

Don't know what to think? confused

noblegiraffe Fri 13-Sep-13 20:08:42

I think an A* in maths would look good on any CV, especially as she'll need to declare her maths and English grades and show her GCSE certificates for teaching jobs. I'd be kicking myself in that situation if I had a lower grade than I was capable of in a core subject. Kids often ask what you got at GCSE too, so for a PE teacher to get an A* in maths would definitely impress.

dingit Fri 13-Sep-13 19:33:45

She is not sure if she wants to resit in November. Most of her class got As, 3 got A*s. she was about three marks off I think. They are all being taught additional maths. I don't think at this stage she wants to do A level. She wants to teach Pe and is looking at doing sports science and other sciences. I think she is capable of going to a Russell group uni, would it disadvantage her if she didn't resit?

friday16 Fri 13-Sep-13 19:09:35

dingit, tell us the details. Let us huddle around and think about it.

dingit Fri 13-Sep-13 19:06:08

Argh. I have this problem with dd who has just gone in to to year 10. I have read this thread and still don't know what to do!

JohnnyUtah Tue 10-Sep-13 13:28:48

Giraffe- yes, I agree with you. Not everyone needs the skills that I have, and I'm not sure what good they do me now I am no longer doing court work.

Friday- what an insightful post.

friday16 Tue 10-Sep-13 10:02:57

" In the real world you dont get several try to make a pitch to business, or build a bridge, or operate on a patient. "

Mostly, you do. Don't be so dramatic. Structural calculations on bridges are checked and rechecked. Pitches are produced, and often presented, by teams. The recent studies on checklists for surgery, taken from aviation practice, are precisely to get multiple eyes on the same tasks. The whole field of CRM (Crew Resource Management), post Tenerife and Kegworth (in particular) is an exercise in trying to avoid the myth of the lone pilot whose skill is the sole salvation, and it's noticeable that Quantas (famed for having a shallow power gradient in the cockpit) has never had a huil loss, while Korean airlines (which have massive problems with CRM) lose hulls with monotonous regularity, most recently the San Francisco accident, which appears to be pure CRM.

"Performing under pressure" matters in a tiny handful of occupations, and is selected for in the later stages of getting those jobs. And even then, most of the training is about removing the pressure, not about performing while it's there (to return to CRM, the "aviate, navigate, communicate" training is about giving people time and space to think clearly, not about making pressure decisions while everything goes mad; surgeons are trained to make the best use of the people around them, rather than being the lone hero of yore). There is, yes, a time and a place for some people, for a small number of jobs, to prove they can make snap decisions well under pressure, most of them military or emergency services. That time, and that place, is not GCSE English being sat by a fifteen year old (I have a summer child).

" If you want to train a professional driver, would you pick someone who took seven attempts to pass or someone who passed first time? "

I don't know: you tell me. I think you're falling into the "good stick and rudder man" or "natural driver" myth of driving and flying, that it's about some sort of "talent" which trumps process and experience. Endless confidence is not necessarily a good thing. Yet again, remember that the worst aviation accident in history, Tenerife, was caused by the Chief Training Pilot of KLM, a man who had passed all his exams with ease. Perhaps had he had a bit more humility, 583 people wouldn't have died. Michael Schumacher was never the fastest driver, nor the most natural (source: a race engineer who worked with him and others), but he won quite a lot of races by being the best prepared, the best trained, the hardest working.

noblegiraffe Tue 10-Sep-13 09:57:51

A lawyer has rather more education than a GCSE though, plenty of time to practise that method of assessment!

JohnnyUtah Tue 10-Sep-13 09:56:44

It absolutely helped mine (as a lawyer) though!

noblegiraffe Tue 10-Sep-13 09:50:45

Why does it have to be 'knows their subject' and 'performs under pressure'? What an artificial situation that is. There aren't that many situations in real life that actually mimic a two hour exam regurgitating everything you know. A lot of jobs involve working on projects over extended periods of time (like coursework). Even my doctor looks stuff up on his computer to check prescriptions etc.

I have to say my ability to blag exams by slacking off throughout the course then revising solidly a couple of days beforehand hasn't really been called upon in my working career.

peachpudding Tue 10-Sep-13 09:06:23

Its nothing like a driving test. If you want to train a professional driver, would you pick someone who took seven attempts to pass or someone who passed first time? Exams are a relative test to determine who is better at a subject, for A-Levels, Uni, Jobs and so on.

An exam at the end of two years, shows who knows their subject and who can perform under pressure. In the real world you dont get several try to make a pitch to business, or build a bridge, or operate on a patient.

Resits should only be for genuine reasons like illness, no one else. And course work should be scrapped.

noblegiraffe Tue 10-Sep-13 07:16:16

But if a school doesn't set challenging targets, we are slammed for having low expectations confused

roisin Tue 10-Sep-13 03:46:15

Northernlurker: many sympathies. We were in the same position last year with ds1, and lost the same argument with school. And with those high targets, anything he did never seemed praiseworthy from school's perspective, but "just good enough" and "expected".

Fortunately for us he did his stressing in yr10 and was more relaxed and happy with it in yr11. He did achieve his targets in the end and is delighted to have escaped from the bonkers school to a sixth form elsewhere.

BackforGood Mon 09-Sep-13 18:49:33

Thanks ladies - that's what he said, to be fair, but just checking wink

noblegiraffe Mon 09-Sep-13 18:47:21

A-level students used to be able to sit modules in January and June, so would have been able to resit AS modules in January of Y13. However, Gove scrapped the January sitting, so if your DS wants to resit his AS module, he'll have to sit it in the June sitting, which is when he will be sitting the rest of his A-level modules.

friday16 Mon 09-Sep-13 18:45:39

"I was hoping my ds might resit one of his ASs, but he's told me they can't do that anymore and if he wants to resit, it will be at the same time as his A2s, next Summer"

That's correct.

BackforGood Mon 09-Sep-13 18:41:52

noble - is that just for GCSEs?
I was hoping my ds might resit one of his ASs, but he's told me they can't do that anymore and if he wants to resit, it will be at the same time as his A2s, next Summer. Never sure how much he's "interpreted" what the school have said.

<Sorry to hijack>

TheFallenMadonna Mon 09-Sep-13 18:32:17

He should retake. An A* is better than an A. It doesn't devalue other grades to say that.

BaconAndAvocado Mon 09-Sep-13 18:26:31

Hurrah! We finally have something in common. grin

I always argue it makes me a better driver.....

noblegiraffe Mon 09-Sep-13 18:11:49

It also amused me to read that Gove took his driving test 7 times. Shouldn't be allowed wink

noblegiraffe Mon 09-Sep-13 18:10:32

A* isn't over 90% at GCSE, only A-level. 83% would have got you an A* with Edexcel linear maths this year.

But for retakes making a mockery of the system, it depends on what you want the result to show - whether certain skills have been mastered to a certain level, or a snapshot of ability level over various subjects at a particular point in time.

Gove favours the snapshot of ability level approach, with his drive for linear exams all taken at the end of Y11. But then he completely throws that out of the window in the case of English and Maths and wants all students to keep retaking them until they get a C because he wants them to have those skills.

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