GCSE Maths Foundation Exam

(22 Posts)
51ddalsteve Tue 22-Apr-14 16:19:48

My grandson is scheduled to take the Foundation Level exam next year, After six months of 'coaching' he is improving greatly and heading for the upper levels of this exam, based on mock papers anyway. Can anyone advise if it is possible for him to sit both papers so that he has the best chance of achieving his personal optimum in this important subject?

Spottybra Tue 22-Apr-14 16:21:32

I don't think so, the school decide. Have a look at the higher past papers because they ARE harder. Much harder.

DS took the foundation level , we were advised that there was a better chance of a good grade this way .
He did well and got a C

DD took the higher level , really struggled and stressed ... Got a C too , it would have been better for her to do foundation level

titchy Tue 22-Apr-14 16:43:00

Nothing will be decided until next year so see how he progresses between now and the summer. If he seems to be doing well look at covering the Higher paper topics between summer and Christmas, then talk to his school. Decisions won't be made till next spring as to what level is best.

Unless he is planning Maths or Science A levels a C grade should be fine, irrespective of whether it was gained from Foundation or Higher.

titchy Tue 22-Apr-14 16:43:56

Both papers are usually scheduled at the same time so kids cannot do both.

creamteas Tue 22-Apr-14 17:26:32

My DD was in a similar position over English. The questions on the higher papers were much more complex that she would have ended up answering less.

Unless there is a clear indication that he is a solid B candidate, I would say a high chance of a C at foundation is always a better option than risking a a D or worse getting a U on the higher paper.

MillyMollyMama Tue 22-Apr-14 18:06:18

I thought the higher paper contained more concepts so you had to be taught the extra contents. If you haven't been taught the higher paper, could you actually succeed in it? Ie, get a B?

Floralnomad Tue 22-Apr-14 18:10:56

If you want you could always pay for him to do the extra paper as an independent candidate somewhere . I HE my dd and intend to do the foundation paper in Jan and the higher paper in June .

tiredandsadmum Tue 22-Apr-14 18:19:03

If he is at school, his parents should be talking to them about what the school suggest. But you can take GCSE's in Jan and then June.

I am (training to) teach maths in an FE college and as we have all types of students, they do take exams throughout the year and it is not unusual.

titchy Tue 22-Apr-14 18:19:46

I thought there weren't January exams any more?

knittedslippersx2 Tue 22-Apr-14 18:25:27

My dd took foundation and achieved a c grade. She was then given the option to drop Maths or continue and sit the higher paper. She continued and despite having only supply teachers managed to get a b.
Not sure if all schools do this, might be worth asking.

LineRunner Tue 22-Apr-14 18:28:48

As with Doilooklikeatourist's experience, my DD took the higher paper and got a C, but not without a shedload of private tuition and stress!

JeanSeberg Tue 22-Apr-14 18:31:22

My son is doing foundation maths this June. I'm keen for him to continue with gcse maths next year to work towards a higher level. Could be a possibility for your grandson?

noblegiraffe Tue 22-Apr-14 18:33:52

flora there aren't January sittings any more. There are November sittings in maths and English only, but only for students resitting, not first time entries. So your DD could sit foundation in June, then higher in November, but that would be too late for college courses.

ijustwanttobeme Tue 22-Apr-14 18:37:30

My DS got a C in his maths foundation paper, taken in year 10.

The school then entered him for the higher tier exams last November and he got a B.

He had a tutor to get him up to speed for the November exam, but we'd cut a deal that if he got a B he would not have to go to the tutor anymore.

Now in a few weeks he's going to try for an A.

He couldn't sit both exams at once, but was entered for the higher once foundation results known.

noblegiraffe Tue 22-Apr-14 18:51:04

They've changed the rules so that only the first result achieved will count in the league tables now, so it's unlikely that many schools will continue to enter students early and then try to improve on the result in a later sitting.

Floralnomad Tue 22-Apr-14 18:54:43

Thanks for that info ,I haven't actually looked into booking it yet . Timings aren't actually that important for us as she won't be going anywhere for the foreseeable future due to her CFS .

TeenAndTween Tue 22-Apr-14 19:51:21

Is he a 'have a go' child or a 'panic if it's different to what he's seen before' type ? That could make a big difference as to how a C grade child gets on with the higher paper.

gardenfeature Tue 22-Apr-14 20:33:12

I could be wrong but you may be able to do Foundation with one exam board and Higher with another exam board to avoid the timetable clash.

I think that with Foundation you have to get many more questions right to get a C (approx 70% rather than 30%).

I also think that you need to be in the classes covering the additional material to go for the Higher.

Question: Does the exam certificate state Foundation or Higher? ie, does it look less good to have a Foundation C rather than a Higher C?

titchy Tue 22-Apr-14 20:48:53

Tier is not stated on the certificate.

tiredandsadmum Tue 22-Apr-14 22:24:00

Apologies for the Jan mislead - I obviously misunderstood my student who took it early (and passed smile ). I luckily have no responsibility for exam booking, yet!

steview Wed 23-Apr-14 21:06:34

A good school will try to leave the decision as late as reasonably possible because students do progress at very different rates. At our place we have 5 or 6 sets depending upon the year group.

Sets 1&2 all end up doing higher and are taught the full higher tier course.

Set 3&4 are those that fall somewhere in between - too good for foundation but not quite able enough to access the full higher tier course (for example they may just about get trigonometry but trying to do it in 3D would be a step too far). They cover a scheme that is basically a reduced version of higher tier with those who fly doing the higher tier in the end and those who don't doing foundation.

Set 5 all end up doing doing foundation tier.

Set 6 (when it exists) is very small and is for those students for whom full foundation is a step too far currently. They may do qualifications below the level of GCSEs or do GCSE but really aiming at F/G grades.

The decision of higher/foundation is usually made in Feb after the mocks but some final changes can be made right up until the day of the exam (I can't recall a decision ever being made that late).

As for dual entering higher & foundation with one exam board - you can't do that as the papers include some 'overlap' questions that are on both foundation and higher tier papers.

Although the maths exams for different examboards are usually on at the same time you could, in principle, do Foundation with EdExcel (say) and then immediately do Higher with AQA or OCR because you've not left the exam venue and therefore can not have heard the questions from people in other schools who sat it at the right time. The school can even give you a short break if you are kept in a secure location without access to the outside world and supervised carefully.

It's not an approach I support but it is technically possible and some schools have played that game to boost results previously.

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