Year 9 DC queries re GCSE MATHS paper and setting in ENGLISH

(15 Posts)
BlueCrayon Fri 29-Jan-16 13:08:06

my dd is still 13 and although in second set for maths, she really lacks confidence and has some gaps in her understanding.

she has a higher level GCSE past paper that she has to do as an assessment next week, and is really worried.

I wanted to ask if its usual to give a whole past paper to year 9s without differentiating it? isn't that a bit like giving a year 4 child a Year 6 SATs paper, rather than a year 4 optional SATs paper as an assessment?

also, can anyone explain why a school might set for science and maths, but not English?

TIA

TeenAndTween Fri 29-Jan-16 14:02:24

I would think that giving a whole GCSE paper to a y9 would be unusual.
Are you sure she has the right end of the stick? e.g. Could it be a conglomerate paper of GCSE questions but only on topics so far covered?

re not setting for English.
I think in English everyone can contribute ideas in class, the differentiation could be in the quality of the essays written. Whereas for maths and science the spend and depth of teaching is affected by the ability of the class.

(not a teacher, so may be talking rubbish)

BlueCrayon Fri 29-Jan-16 14:18:48

def an actual gcse paper. she was warned there would be topics not yet covered in it. the only thing im unsure about is that maybe it will just be one paper, rather than several (how many are in the actual exam?).

I get the impression they want to use it as a tool to assess the most able, but its doing nothing for her confidence!

TeenAndTween Fri 29-Jan-16 14:25:32

2 in the actual exam (under old system), 1 calculator, one non calculator.

Tell her that you will be pleased if she can get just one question right, and that there will be loads she can't do, so not to worry.

Then, if you want to do some prep, go to the online area for the exam board the school uses (if in doubt Edexcel or AQA), find past papers and look at questions 1-4. If she has done the topics at school then revise them.

AugustRose Fri 29-Jan-16 14:40:49

This sounds like DD's secondary. She too is in second set and did a GCSE paper last week although I think it was only part (50pts total) or a foundation paper. However, the whole of the first set must has been given the higher paper or full paper and all did poorly - which has left them feeling bad about themselves despite the fact they hadn't covered a lot of what was in the paper.

Just tell her it is simply to get them used to the layout/type of questions they will see in their actual exams. If she has any concerns then talk to the teacher, I think it is too early to start giving past papers for GCSE - or at least if they are going to use it as a tool this needs to be explained to the children.

TeenAndTween Fri 29-Jan-16 14:46:01

I think it is too early to start giving past papers for GCSE

I agree. Especially since current y9s will be doing different spec GCSEs from the ones for which past papers exist.

jeanne16 Fri 29-Jan-16 14:46:40

Actually sounds to be as though they can't be bothered to create their own test. There is no reason to give Y 9 a past paper unless they are in an accelerated class and even then it sounds odd.

BlueCrayon Fri 29-Jan-16 14:48:12

august, she is actually being given the higher paper!! Its utter madness. she is so anxious i doubt she'll be able to remember a thing.
truth be told, she may be better off in the set below but they're merging the lower sets which is giving concerns about behaviour issues (the teacher said that this can occur when they merge, not me).

BlueCrayon Fri 29-Jan-16 14:51:23

Jeanne, sorry xpost. there are students in the class on track for a grade 9 who choose not to move up a set one . it is an unusually able second set (apart from my gorgeous dd and 2 others, allegedly!)

AugustRose Fri 29-Jan-16 14:53:03

Definitely similar to our school. DD is top of the second set and has been asked if she wants to move a couple of times but is happy with her group and teacher. I'm not sure what will happen in Year 10 but I don't want her pushed to the point it puts her off. And yes it is madness to give set 2 the higher paper to do in Year 9.

I asked her to bring the paper back but she said it was at school so they could go over the questions and then the teacher took them back confused - I wanted to know what the questions were and what kind of paper.

Teen I agree, the paper could look entirely different in their real exams. I did have another thought that if the new papers are going to be more difficult (as has been reported) then schools are worrying about how to increase the learning early.

noblegiraffe Fri 29-Jan-16 14:55:29

Maybe if there are students in set 2 who should be in set 1, they are giving both classes the paper as a comprehensive test of ability to force proper setting (in no way should able students get to choose to stay in set 2, and this sort of thing will shortchange girls who lack confidence).

NameChange1815 Fri 29-Jan-16 14:57:43

Yes it's very normal to set for maths but not for English. All English students will be reading the same book and writing the same essays albeit at a deeper or shallower level of engagement. But top set maths will be doing additional topics. In science it's likely that top set will be doing 3 GCSEs whilst lower sets do 2, so there's a completely different schedule of topics.

Giving the year 9s a whole GCSE paper seems lazy though - how long does it take to black out the questions on topics they haven't covered yet? Or just write on the board "Ignore questions 7, 8,12,15,17".

BlueCrayon Fri 29-Jan-16 15:01:37

noble, that could well be the case. I do feel that its unfair that the set 2 standard seems more set one standard- the teacher said as much at parents' evening. dd has tried out the set 3 class and did prefer it, but that was before the merger with the lowest sets. so now we feel like we have the choice of a ridiculously high set 2 set or a 'sink' set. utterly ridiculous.

BlueCrayon Fri 29-Jan-16 15:08:18

name change, its possible that they will tell them to miss out certain questions. they are being given less time than normal, for the higher paper.
probably reflects the fact that they know that they will not be able to attempt some questions. the trouble is, my dd is in such a panic that she is unable to accept any rational explanation. she just keeps thinking that everyone else is so much better, they will manage it, but she won't.

its possible that she may well be better off in the lower set, as I said. the teacher has told dd many times that she is on the verge of moving down. I am liaising with him and dd has a tutor. but we feel that we are between a rock and a hard place set wise.

lljkk Sat 30-Jan-16 16:00:00

y11DS & yr9 DD have sat mock math papers with material on them they never had studied; some kids rise to a challenge.

Set2 is supposed to part overlap with Set1 at their schools, so there's some flexibility in timetabling.

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