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.

busymummy3 Sat 07-Sep-13 23:50:24

Send in a note saying you do not wish him to resit as happy with A grade he has so far and would rather he concentrated on getting a higher grade in English or he could just sit it without revising and see what he gets you never know.....

confuddledDOTcom Sun 08-Sep-13 00:25:37

That's stupid! Has that come from the school? What does it tell students when an A isn't seen as good enough?

longingforsomesleep Sun 08-Sep-13 02:37:36

He's obviously extremely good at maths to get an A at the end of year 9. At our grammar school top set does it in the November of year 10. They insist that anyone who doesn't get at least an A resits. If your school won't accept less than A* it seems a bit bonkers getting them to do it in year 9. But maybe they think he can get the A* without too much extra effort?

I'd be more worried about why he's doing Eng Lang at the start of year 10 if he's not very good at it? At our school it's done at the end of year 10. But having said that, is there much revision to be done for Eng Lang?

Personally I think it's OK for those who excel at subjects to do them early but I think it must be demoralising to have to resit exams when you shouldn't have had to. And when you list your qualifications you can't really put "A in Maths - but I sat it two years early" can you?

I wonder what they would do with him if they agreed that he won't resit his maths? Start him on AS now - as presumably the one person with the A* is doing?

creamteas Sun 08-Sep-13 09:23:54

This might be asking him to do this for league table purposes, so his actual grade matches his target grade (so he meets the expected level of progress)

I would talk to the school, and see what they say. I have manage to negotiate similar changes for my DC, but this is usually because of their SEN.

Wonderstuff Sun 08-Sep-13 09:27:54

Seems odd. Our early entry policy is to not early enter the brightest students as the evidence is that they will do better at the end of the course. I'd talk to th e school about why they feel an 0A* will benefit him.

noblegiraffe Sun 08-Sep-13 09:28:02

Does he want to study maths for A-level? If yes, then he should push for an A*. No doubt about that.

If he has now sat his GCSE what will he be doing in maths for the next two years?

No it doesn't make any sense OP. I do sympathise. School has given my dd all A* targets. The lovely effect of this is that anything less than that is seen by her as a failure. She is very stressed already and it's only September (Yr 11). I am very angry about this because it means that good grades - A or B - are effectively being dismissed.

I think that unless you are parenting an extremely bright child who outs a lot of pressure on themself you can't 'get' this. Of course I want her to do well but not at the expense of her peace. OP - if ds wants to retake then ok but if he is reluctant then I would put foot down with school and tell them to just deal with the fact he got an A. Well done him btw.

Nerfmother Sun 08-Sep-13 09:40:43

Dd is at grammar (yr ten) and has about three predicted B grades - she is devasted! The pressure to get all a* grades is ridiculous and totally skews people's thinking about what good results actually are.

Kez100 Sun 08-Sep-13 13:41:48

I have had various examples of this with my children and their friends.

One got a C grade Maths but target was a B - had a bit of hassle with the school but, in the end, school relented - after all, what is the point if the student is adamant - they won't work towards it.

Daughter who didn't want to resit one additional science paper but did in the end, with one weekends revision, got 3% more and literally managed to just get the next grade boundary! Was delighted.

Another in a similar position to above. Just refused to sit the exam. Was in school but refused to go to exam room - said she would kick and scream if they made her. She didn't sit it.

I would let the student decide. However, my advice to the child would be - if they are wanting to study Maths further then it isn't just about grades - continuing to study Maths up to starting A level is a good thing. However, consider also what will they now be filling their time with if they do not re-sit - that might be even more useful. Also consider if an A* might help differentiate them at all on a CV or UCAS application in future.

BaconAndAvocado Sun 08-Sep-13 15:11:42

longing DS sat the exam last June in Year 10, he's just started Year 11.

noble he does want to study Maths at A level but I now know the school is resisting all of the children who took this,exam.

I just think his school, an ordinary Comprehensive (we live in an 11+ part of the world, so,there are grammars around) is, like most other schools turning into an exam factory.

As far as I know, the only other exam he's sitting in November is English.

Coconutty Sun 08-Sep-13 15:16:48

I think its bonkers that A* is now the target for all bright kids to get rather than the absolute exception for the most gifted.

It devalues all other grades when in reality an A or B are great.

NatashaBee Sun 08-Sep-13 15:20:03

Will the universities he applies to look as favourably on an A* knowing its a resit rather than a first attempt?

LoopyLoopyLoopy Sun 08-Sep-13 15:24:36

The general rule of thumb is that kids shouldn't be advanced if it risks them obtaining a lower grade than they would have achieved at the end of their course.

In this case, the school clearly feel that he is an A* candidate, therefore IMO they would be letting him down if they didn't support (and pay for) the resit. Whether he takes them up on that should be his decision.

What are they planning to teach him now that the GCSE has been completed? How will they maintain motivation? Will he be taking A level Maths early?

noblegiraffe Sun 08-Sep-13 16:33:09

Universities don't give a toss about GCSE resits, just A-level ones.

If he wants to do A-level maths then he absolutely should resit and work to get an A*, he will be jeapordising his chances at A-level otherwise. I can't stress that enough. (Maths teacher).

I hope the school will then put him through a further maths GCSE rather than statistics, or starting A-level early. But I have my doubts about a school that has entered a whole class load of students in for GCSE maths in Y9. Appalling decision.

ohtowinthelottery Sun 08-Sep-13 16:54:23

DS did his Maths GCSE early - one module in Yr 9 and 2 modules in Yr 10. He got an A overall. He was 2 marks off an A* for 1st module, a definite A in module 2 and an A* in module 3. He refused point blank to resit module 2 - as did a number of other students in his group. He needed an overall A to go on and study Further Maths GCSE in Yr 11 so he didn't see the point in re-sitting.

Interesting that you say they should have an A* at GCSE to do A level Maths noblegiraffe. DS has just started on his AS level Maths course and wants to carry it on to A2 as he wants to do Physics at Uni. Do you think he will struggle with the work having only got an A?

mumeeee Sun 08-Sep-13 16:59:49

I think it's silly making him resit he has an A and that will be good enough for university.

BaconAndAvocado Sun 08-Sep-13 17:07:52

Good pointnatasha

Another good point noble

We've had a chat with DS this afternoon and he's completely nonplussed about doing it again and wants to try and get an A*, so I guess that's my answer!

mumeeee Sun 08-Sep-13 18:31:12

Well if he wants to try and get an A* then he should go for it.

BaconAndAvocado Sun 08-Sep-13 20:59:26

noble he has already started GCSE Further Maths last week to sit the exam next June.

friday16 Sun 08-Sep-13 22:08:28

"As far as I know, the only other exam he's sitting in November is English."

I thought all the November sittings had been stopped?

noblegiraffe Sun 08-Sep-13 22:25:25

No, there will always be exam sessions in November in Maths and English for resits. After this year, they won't be allowed for first sittings (early entry).

noblegiraffe Sun 08-Sep-13 22:31:05

ohtowin it's less of a problem if he has studied further maths. A lot of the C1 module is A* methods from GCSE, and with slightly harder questions. It tends to be gone over quite quickly at AS level because of the rush to prepare for a January module (as used to be). As a lot of students already know it from GCSE, those that don't, struggle to keep up and many flounder.

ohtowinthelottery Mon 09-Sep-13 11:45:40

Thanks noble , that's useful to know. DS has been at college 4 days and he said that the Maths so far is just a repeat of what he did for Further Maths (as there are new students who have come in from other schools who haven't done Further Maths).
He has already swapped groups as he discovered his group where doing the Statistics option whereas the other group were doing Mechanics. As his interest is in Physics, Mechanics seemed a better option for him,

peachpudding Mon 09-Sep-13 12:29:47

Its wrong that parents and schools have abused the early entry exam system but we are where we are.

Due to grade inflation an A is only seen as an average grade now. If he is capable of an A* then he should get it otherwise he will be disadvantaged.

lainiekazan Mon 09-Sep-13 13:02:10

It's this that makes a mockery of things.

So all those kids whooping about 12A*s (well, not all, but a fair percentage) have actually had several stabs at them? Shouldn't they have to declare on UCAS form about exams taken?

I don't see how an A is average . An A* is over 90% so how can 89% be average ? I concede that a B is average, an A good and an A* excellent.

friday16 Mon 09-Sep-13 13:06:57

"So all those kids whooping about 12A*s (well, not all, but a fair percentage) have actually had several stabs at them? Shouldn't they have to declare on UCAS form about exams taken? "

"All those kids" is pushing it: I think there's a few thousand per year. And the issue will be pretty much dead next year because (a) there will be far fewer resit options (b) the courses will be 100% terminal so there will be no opportunity to resit until after the end of the two year course and (c) there's a proposal to have a "last result stands" policy, which would mean that retaking an A to get an A* would leave you with a B if that is what you scored the second time around.

You have to put down the date of each award on a UCAS form, so it will be very apparent if you obtained the results through early entry and/or resits, other than in some very specific and unlikely scenarios.

BaconAndAvocado Mon 09-Sep-13 17:05:12

friday if that was the case this year, regarding losing your first grade if you achieved a lower grade on a resit (IYSWIM!!) he certainly wouldn't be taking that chance.

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.

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

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.....

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.

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>

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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

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 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.

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

It absolutely helped mine (as a lawyer) though!

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!

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.

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.

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!

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 19:33:45

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?

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.

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 20:44:51

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.

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!

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.

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.

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