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To be extremely pissed off with DD1 English teacher

(51 Posts)
Foxeym Fri 31-Jan-14 16:40:33

DD1 had to hand in a draft for her English GCSE coursework today. She loves reading and writing and has always excelled at creative writing etc. She has been informed that her work is not GCSE standard but a-level/ uni level and she will need to dumb it down if she wants to get good grades as the markers will presume she has cheated and someone else has done it for her. I'm bloody gobsmacked, she struggles with maths and science but has always loved English and now her attitude is 'why should I bother'. I'm upset for her and REALLY want to give this English teacher a piece of my mind, so much for doing your best!

falulahthecat Fri 31-Jan-14 16:43:59

Oh my goodness! I would arrange a meeting with the head. As someone in the exact same position myself at GCSE (all those 9 years ago :/) I can well understand your daughter feeling like there's no point in bothering. My English teacher did let me 'go on ahead' with work, but she also took marks off of me for talking during a group 'listening' session when it was not me who was talking. When I pointed this out she took more marks off - my A* became an A - and I gave up with her and did not do any more work as I didn't need to to maintain the A.

Tell your daughter not to listen, her marks will speak for themselves, and I expect the examiner will actually just be relieved to see someone who can actually write!

lilsupersparks Fri 31-Jan-14 16:44:59

I'm an English teacher. That's ridiculous!

There is no such thing as coursework now though I don't think? And we are not allowed to mark drafts of controlled assessment so I'm not sure what the purpose of the work was? But yes, it's a ridiculous thing to say, it's all done supervised so it's the teacher who says if it's her work or not!

falulahthecat Fri 31-Jan-14 16:45:41

Also - when it comes to creative writing, I always think it's very hard to 'mark' creativity, when peoples tastes vary so much. I would suggest to her that she takes it as a compliment - once you've left school GCSE's really do become a distant memory, she shouldn't be worried. smile

Lemongrab Fri 31-Jan-14 16:48:55

That's terrible!
Why should a bright child have to dumb down!? Surely it's not right that examiners would assume she's cheated?
Could you make an appointment to talk to the teacher in question, or perhaps the Head? And find out why on earth they would tell your dd this.
In the mean time, I would just keep telling her how proud you are of her, and to keep working at her best.
My dd is also good at English and I'd be mightily annoyed in your position too!

monstermunching70s Fri 31-Jan-14 16:49:28

I am astonished at this. I am a teacher of GCSE and A level. The teacher's annotations on the coursework should state the aptitude and ability of the student and make it clear that the work is that of very gifted student. Not all coursework gets called for scrutiny, although those at the very top and bottom ends of the spectrum are more likely to be. I would definitely not accept the comments received and would take it further with the school.

Gileswithachainsaw Fri 31-Jan-14 16:50:17


That is not on at all. Arrange to see head ASAP!!!

ravenAK Fri 31-Jan-14 16:50:48


Which exam board is this supposed to be?

bigTillyMint Fri 31-Jan-14 16:52:13


I agree, go in to see someone senior about this.

brettgirl2 Fri 31-Jan-14 16:53:05

Are you sure that is what the teacher said/meant? I would take a deep breath and calmly give the teacher a ring on Monday. Did the teacher think it was copied? Had someone copied her maybe so 2 were very alike.

Obviously dd was upset/ disappointed but I think you need to fully find out the facts before going off at the deep end.

WorraLiberty Fri 31-Jan-14 16:53:22

Are you sure she's got that right, OP?

brettgirl2 Fri 31-Jan-14 16:53:58

Running off to the head without speaking to the teacher/ hod would be very odd !

OrangeMochaFrappucino Fri 31-Jan-14 16:56:18

I'm an English teacher and moderator of Controlled Assessment. Cheating is obvious - a mid ability candidate will suddenly insert a highly sophisticated paragraph and Google will find its provenance! I turned up plenty last summer and they were referred on for full investigation. If a candidate's work is all of high quality and consistent throughout, there would be no reason to suspect cheating. This is a deeply odd thing for a teacher to suggest to a student and I'm baffled as to why the teacher has said it and what they want the outcome to be. Very bizarre!

OrangeMochaFrappucino Fri 31-Jan-14 16:57:22

And I would contact the Head of Dept in the first instance for clarification.

hackmum Fri 31-Jan-14 17:05:52

This is a bit odd. I'm assuming it's controlled assessment rather than coursework. If the examination board suspects anything untoward, I'm sure they would contact the school to check rather than simply mark the student down.

coco44 Fri 31-Jan-14 17:09:39

I think your DD has misinterpreted

LizzieVereker Fri 31-Jan-14 17:11:34

I think IGCSE Literature has coursework as opposed to controlled assessment.

OP, the teacher's feedback is nonsense. As an English teacher, when reading the thread title I was ready to defend the teacher, but that is just awful. What a message to give your DD! Please see someone senior. And if you want a second opinion I'll gladly mark it for her!

coco44 Fri 31-Jan-14 17:13:53

Is it definitely the creative writing, or more the comprehension / english lit type work.It is quite common for some students go into too much detail on obscure points and theories, trying to be 'too clever' and miss marks for not saying the the more obvious things. Is that what the teacher was meaning

cansu Fri 31-Jan-14 17:15:28

I am not sure you are getting this right. I suspect that your dd has included something that is not entirely her work and the teacher is trying to allow her to take this out and save face. I have had students do this in homeworks and agree google often helps me to find exactly what they have used. It could be something she has read in a novel, but if it doesn't chime with what she usually produces it will stand out and may be picked up on. I would speak to the teacher first before 'giving her a piece of your mind'.

I got an 11/10 on a piece of English coursework at GCSE and nobody said anything about dumbing it down - this sounds ridiculous. Obviously there will be a* students in each subject and they will range from 'just scraped it' to 'masterpiece'. Just write to the teAcher and tell her you are disgusted with the suggestion and that your daughter will more than prove herself with the exam portion.

Peekingduck Fri 31-Jan-14 17:22:41

That's unbeliveable!

DoJo Fri 31-Jan-14 17:25:50

It does sound like a bit of a misunderstanding on your daughter's part (unless it is just a stealth boast, in which case YABU but well done to your daughter! grin). Perhaps the teacher was joking or trying to encourage her and something that she said hit the wrong spot. Either way, I would check out the details before you go in all pissed off as it could easily be something completely innocuous!

LEtranger Fri 31-Jan-14 17:27:06

This actually happened to my sister at GCSE, albeit it a different subject (music) - she was investigated by the exam board and had to produce details of how she did her compositions to prove they were her own! It was accepted and she got her A*, but it seems unbelievable they treat excellence with suspicion!!

fairylightsatchristmas Fri 31-Jan-14 17:56:48

there's excellence and there's "suspiciously good"/ It's not just vocab used, but turn of phrase, idioms etc that are not appropriate for anyone below degree level. I see this all the time as a teacher and to be fair, some of the time its because the kids honestly don't get the difference between research, note taking and writing up / vs rearranging a wikipedia source and claiming it is their work. They honestly think it is. PLEASE calmly ask the teacher for claification rather than ranting to the Senior Management.

LRDtheFeministDragon Fri 31-Jan-14 18:02:02

Might it not be the teacher said something like 'I love what you're trying to do here, many students wouldn't even think of trying that until A Level/university, but maybe it's not the best way to go about this GCSE question which is actually about this' - a kind way to suggest she's got over enthusiastic about the wrong sort of thing?

Have you seen the bit of work in question yourself?

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