Can you get A* GCSE in Chemistry with an A for the ISA?

(18 Posts)
HisMum4now Wed 20-Nov-13 23:05:18

Could anyone please explain what are the mechanics and what DS needs to do now to recover a potential A*. The marks for ISA are 40/50. AQA board.
Any comments much appreciated.

TheFallenMadonna Wed 20-Nov-13 23:08:56

Can't be sure what grade 40/50 will be. We don't give students grades. The grade boundaries are subject to change.

He will almost certainly get another go at an ISA. You can do 3 and submit best mark.

And yes, you can get an A* with an A grade ISA. ISA is only 25%.

HisMum4now Wed 20-Nov-13 23:34:15

The school are saying they do 3 ISAs, one per science subject. Can we request that he gets another chance or is it totally at the school's discretion?

TheFallenMadonna Thu 21-Nov-13 20:15:30

Is he doing separate sciences, or Additional Science? If the first, he can take 3 in each subject.

GettingTooOldForThis Thu 21-Nov-13 20:20:07

Answer from my daughter doing triple science "they need to score an average of 360 UMS marks out of 400 from their exams and the ISA, the average is taken from all of them, so you could still potentially get an A*" in my daughters own words.

Whathaveiforgottentoday Thu 21-Nov-13 20:39:32

Certainly, he can potentially get an A* as he just needs to get 360 UMS but obviously this makes it harder if they haven't got an A* in the ISA.
The grades boundaries aren't set in stone and went up quite a bit between 2012 and 2013 and may go up again or down- who knows (but very unlikely to go down).

In my dept we give them one shot at ISA in lessons and then target any students that failed to meet or exceed their target grade and offer them the opportunity to do another ISA after school. I would contact the HOD and ask if this is the only opportunity to do the ISA.

HisMum4now Mon 25-Nov-13 02:40:21

"they need to score an average of 360 UMS marks out of 400 from their exams and the ISA, the average is taken from all of them

Could anyone explain how the UMS work and what the "average" means. There are 3 papers 60 marks each and an ISA for 50 marks. How will the average / UMS be calculated?

Initially the school said there will be 3 ISAs per subject. DS did well in one in the last summer tern. Now he got 40/50 and the teacher declared that the previous doesn't count and only this one ISA will be done. I intend to talk to HOD, but I would just like to understand whether we could demand anything if they fob me off and how best to go about it IUSWIM.

Lfs2126 Mon 25-Nov-13 06:33:48

Really sorry! What's an isa? Ds doing edexcel igcse. Do they have them in yr 10?:/

SweepTheHalls Mon 25-Nov-13 06:53:09

The 360 isn't an average, but a total. Each paper's raw score is magically turned into a UMS mark each exam session. The on version is never shared until after the exam session and changes each time. This is why ISA raw scores were not worth as much as hoped in the summer exam session as the raw to ISA conversion moved compared to the previous year.
The UMS for each unit is a mark out of 100 with 60 being a C, 70 a B etc. these then add up and your mark out of 400 determines the overall grade. Each examined unit is worth up to 100 UMS, which is perfectly possible to get and does not require full marks on the paper, one for bio, chem and phys, and the last block is from the ISA. feel free to ask for clarification! Oh, and is works like this for core (p1,c1,b1 and ISA), additional (c2,b2,p2,ISA ) or separate sciences (b1,b2,b3,ISA etc)

intitgrand Mon 25-Nov-13 19:00:42

Hmm our school only let them do one ISA in each subject? Why would that be? does it save them money?

chibi Mon 25-Nov-13 19:14:56

the ISA is the controlled assessment. edexcel will have their own version.

with aqa, there are three ISAs per science, but if your child is doing triple science, they may enter either the Additional or the Further ISA for this mark in each science. if they are doing Core and Additional science (th old double science) they will need to enter two ISA marks, one from Core, and one from Additional.

The ISAs take at least 3 lessons - a Paper 1, a practical, and a Paper 2. this doesn't include time spent training students in how to do it, or time given them to do their research. to do more than one can use up huge amounts of teaching time.

i hope this is helpful

Whathaveiforgottentoday Mon 25-Nov-13 20:02:23

we only do 1 as they take a long time and find it better to fully prep them for one rather than do 2 quickly.

Lfs2126 Tue 26-Nov-13 06:18:56

Thanks chibi, that really is helpful. So would these be done in year 10 or 11?( Ds currently doing triple but may move to double next year based on end of year exams)

slickrick Tue 26-Nov-13 10:29:23

If he does well in the ISA it can really pull the grade up but he will obviously have to have done well in the exam too.

hellsbells99 Tue 26-Nov-13 11:29:18

Lfs2126 - IGCSEs don't usually involve an ISA. 2 private schools local to me both switched to IGCSEs for this reason as ISAs tend to bring the overall marks down and also involve a lot of extra effort (my 2 friends teach science in these schools).

Lfs2126 Tue 26-Nov-13 14:34:27

Thanks hellsbells. Phew I thought I was even more out of the loop than I knew for a while there:/

HisMum4now Wed 27-Nov-13 18:34:54

Any idea what would be the good arguments for asking the HOD to redo the ISA?
Initially they told us there will be 3, then they told there will be 2 per subject. One came as a surprise. My DS has special needs and he really needs to become familiar with the format, be over prepared to score marks. He tells me he panicked, was in a zombie autopilot mode, so he forgotten all the good tips.

Loshad Sat 30-Nov-13 19:20:20

40 is a pretty good score to be fair. I think if the school initially said there could be more than one bash at them then I would expect them to honour that. Our students all get 2 attempts for each science subject, if they are still undergrade then most teachers would offer a third one done at lunch/after school. I would check they have not decided to go for core, additional and further additional as that could be the reason that there is only one available in Chemistry for your son ( but then he could try doing a bio or physics one instead). Impressed by the teacher above who could do one in 3 lessons !

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