Is there any actual evidence about the corrolation between the number of GCSE's taken & the grades achieved?

(39 Posts)
KatyMac Thu 21-Feb-13 21:23:04

That I can access?

'cos I'm a pain & I want to know

muminlondon Sun 24-Feb-13 14:50:44

Do you mean that if you take too many subjects you can drop grades? That there is an optimum number of exams before your brain explodes/teaching time reduces?

Tried to google this and found some comments by the Eton head in 2008. Not very scientific but perhaps this is the 'research' Michael Gove has used to base his Ebacc on - most of his other policies are back of envelope territory!

muminlondon Sun 24-Feb-13 14:58:38

In fact this debate has been going on for years - Ofsted warned 8-9 better than 10-12 in 2003.

Suggestions by Pearson/Edexcel last year to limit number of GCSEs to 8-10 here.

KatyMac Sun 24-Feb-13 15:11:13

That is exactly the sort of thing I mean; I've been unhappy with the 14 GCSEs they want DD to do & I wanted stuff to take into a meeting with me

muminlondon Sun 24-Feb-13 19:44:03

Good luck - can't find any more (but some interesting DfE research on early entry). It does seem a lot - back in the dark ages I took 8 O-levels and we managed to have at least 2 hours a week per subject plus PE and RE, and much more break time than they get now. I don't know how they would timetable 14 subjects.

RiversideMum Sun 24-Feb-13 20:05:32

If you are ancient like me then you will recall that the powers that be thought that an 8 subject O level education was too narrow. This was also the rationale of the 4 subject AS courses. My DD did 13 (including add maths) and her school, like most round here, works on a 2 week timetable. So there is less teaching time per subject than in the old days, but then kids have the chance to do 3 sciences, languages, humanities, art, music ...

Picturesinthefirelight Sun 24-Feb-13 20:11:31

My dd will go to a selective school and will take 9 GCSEs. The school has the best results in the area (though as it is selective you would think so).

Millais Sun 24-Feb-13 20:20:21

Katymac is that 14 full gcses or including some exams which "are worth" 2 or 3 gcses? My dn is doing 15 but then when you look they are not 15 subjects but more like 10 with some counting for some reason as 2 or 3.

KatyMac Sun 24-Feb-13 20:22:44

I know DD is in an unusual position (wanting an alternative career in the short term); but I wish the school were more flexible about individual needs - they are quite stubborn about children with additional needs doing excessive GCSEs

I guess I'd just like a bit of differentiation RiversideMum - DD thinks she will retrain when she is 30

Hi Picturesinthefirelight - we are having a dancing trauma weekend here

KatyMac Sun 24-Feb-13 20:26:10

GCSE Music, Eng Lang, Eng Lit, Science & more science (well that's not what they are called but...), Geog, Spanish, Maths
BTec Dance, Drama, Science & Applied Business

I have managed to get them to drop the third science & RE/Ethics, so she is only doing 12

But she has been off with glandular fever, & want me to take action to prevent her being ill again........can you guess what my solution will be?

Theas18 Sun 24-Feb-13 20:29:25


Round here the comps put bright kids in for everything they can get then to pass (at least that's what it seems from the outside looking in). Ds has a mate who joined his selective school with 14 A/*. However still only double science award, so I do question whether these area all in useful subjects...

That standard amount for ds and his mates is 10 academically rigerous subjects. A few have more if they do variants of maths, or family languages.

LIZS Sun 24-Feb-13 20:31:20

Why BTEC Science and 2 Science GCSEs (are either Double or Triple) hmm Surely it is essentially the same syllabus ? BTECs may be "worth" 4 GCSE passes but I'm not convinced employers view them as such unless strictly relevant.

KatyMac Sun 24-Feb-13 20:35:09

BTEC science in yr 9 GCSEs in yrs 10 & 11

& with the best will in the world, she isn't bright; she is average academically & she will struggle to get Cs in most of them (obv Music, Dance & Drama will probably be higher grades)

LIZS Sun 24-Feb-13 20:38:17

I think your argument should be that she needs as many at C or above as possible and that studying so many will compromise that. Still shock at the logic that a subject you take in Year 9 can outweigh the value of those taken later !

Millais Sun 24-Feb-13 20:38:52

Seems a real overload then especially if she is not going to get high grades. I'd prefer them to concentrate on fewer at better levels. What is the school's reasoning? Higher grades look better on the league tables

LIZS Sun 24-Feb-13 20:39:18

and if she wants to pursue dance , drama , music she really needs them to be at A/ A*.

Picturesinthefirelight Sun 24-Feb-13 20:43:15

She just needs 5 c grades to get to where she needs to go though 8 would be good.

Madness to do all these.

KatyMac Sun 24-Feb-13 20:44:07

Well BTEC Dance was last year - but for some unknown & obscure reason it won't be submitted until later this year she is predicted an Distinction*

BTEC Drama is in yr 11 so I can't worry about that yet & Music GCSE she is predicted a B but I think it's unlikely with all the time off

Oh and we think she may have failed the BTEC science

wordfactory Mon 25-Feb-13 10:07:21

OP both DC's private schools suggest 10 is more than enough.

Better to get good grades and use spare time on sports/music/hobbies ...

KatyMac Mon 25-Feb-13 20:46:19

Mumbles <stupid school....silly rules....poor dd....>

I need a chill pill think

BooksandaCuppa Mon 25-Feb-13 23:57:00

Grammar schools round here do 10/11 (if doing further maths).

Ds's independent school - max 9/10 (if doing triple science in slot for double science).

All of the above is so that a) they can get really high grades and b) they can still do loads of extra-curricular stuff...


sashh Tue 26-Feb-13 07:02:31

Oh and we think she may have failed the BTEC science

You can't actually fail BTEC, you just have not achieved it yet.

I teach in FE and I constantly wonder why schools put students in for 10-14 GCSEs if they are not capable of a C. I've taught people with 10 G grades. Surely they would be better with 5 GCSEs at C? And they could still take other subjects for interest.

I also wonder why more schools don't enter ESOL students for GCSEs in the languages they speak at home. Obviously you also need to be able to read and write in that language to pass, but many do.

Sorry, rant over. I was severely scarred by helping a group create their CVs. Non put their languages down, 'because I don't have a qualification in it'.

forevergreek Tue 26-Feb-13 07:32:48

I attended an excellent grammar school. Min gcses allowed were 12. Everyone gets at least 12 a*-c, around 90% get all a* and a's. So no I don't think it correlates.

( as a comparision the local regular school usually does 5/6 gcses with a b-e average)

KatyMac Tue 26-Feb-13 07:36:17

Thanks you are only saying what I thought anyway

Sashh - why do you think schools do it?

DD is vocational & will retrain academically in her 30s probably; one size does not fit all (sadly)

KatyMac Tue 26-Feb-13 07:39:30

Whoops Forevergreek - cross post blush

forevergreek Tue 26-Feb-13 13:06:10

It also depends on what sixth fom/ college thu want to go to. Some accept with a couple of a-e grade, others ( like one I mentioned) require 8 grade b or above to stay on and you can only study those at a level with a grade a or higher. 6 a stars wouldn't get you a look in.

Picturesinthefirelight Tue 26-Feb-13 13:59:03

The colleges katymacs dd is hoping to apply to will probably only want minimum academic qualifications at 16 or 200 Ucas points at 18.

LIZS Tue 26-Feb-13 17:07:59

If you suspect she hasn't achieved her BTEC Science there isn't much point in her doing 2 Science GCSEs as well. Better to get one solid qualification in it .

OddBoots Tue 26-Feb-13 18:48:34

I'm about to start a thread on it but the goalposts have been quietly shifted in some subjects, most notably in the performing arts subjects. The school's league table will only be able to count one of them so it's not in their interests to have her do the drama if she already has dance.

KatyMac Tue 26-Feb-13 19:10:22

But LIZS they stopped the BTEC lessons at the end of yr9 & started GCSE lessons; I have no confidence in them at all. We had agreed no RE (Citizenship/ethics) with Head of Options & I found out before half-term he teacher doesn't know that, so had entered DD in for the exam.

KatyMac Tue 26-Feb-13 19:11:59

Oddboots - that doesn't surprise me; they seem to know little about the exams as a whole (wrong exam board/qualification written in the options booklet for several exams)

OddBoots Tue 26-Feb-13 19:14:34

Ah, this one isn't down to the school, this is a new sly (and in my opinion) unfair change that has just come in with no publicity, even to the subject teachers.

KatyMac Tue 26-Feb-13 19:20:40

With any luck DD's teachers won't find out & she will be OK; don't publicise it too much......pretty please?


OddBoots Tue 26-Feb-13 19:36:12

Sorry Katy, I was already typing the thread.

KatyMac Tue 26-Feb-13 19:41:15


Mind you we only suspect about the BTEC science......she may not even have been entered

alanyoung Wed 27-Feb-13 18:59:14

14 GCSEs is ridiculous. When are these children ever going to have time to enjoy themselves?

forevergreek Wed 27-Feb-13 21:13:54

I actually don't remember 14 gcses being that bad, the 5 a levels after were a nightmare though!

KatyMac Wed 27-Feb-13 21:54:13

DD will be giving them a miss

sashh Thu 28-Feb-13 06:57:44

Sashh - why do you think schools do it?

No idea. It might be time tabling, something that simple.

Possibly school teachers are more academic and that's what they know from their own school days. FE lecturers often come from industry so look at things a bit differently.

Maybe there are rules that have to be followed.

I really don't know.

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