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To think A CSE Grade 1 from 1985 would be equal to at B at GCSE today.

(58 Posts)
motown3000 Tue 01-Apr-14 10:09:17

Despite being demonized and stated that they were not worth the paper , they were written on could a Grade 1 CSE be the equivalent of a B grade Gcse today . Maybe a Grade 2 CSE is the equivalent of a C Grade.

It would be interesting to compare the exam papers with today's Gcse papers. I bet the CSE papers would be at least equal to the foundation papers.

Dawndonnaagain Tue 01-Apr-14 10:26:31

They have been compared. They have quite clearly demonstrated on more than one occasion that in fact the current papers are more difficult.

IceBeing Tue 01-Apr-14 10:31:19

difficulty of the paper is not really the important thing though....

The cse papers could be easier than the gcse papers for someone who hasn't studied for either but that doesn't mean much.

The real problem with gcse is the predictability of questions and the susceptibility to rote learning. Someone getting a 1 at cse knew more stuff at a deeper level than someone getting an A* at Gcse because they studies to learn not to pass the exam.

We have the same problem with degree papers....they get looked at by an external examiner who say 'bloody hell - I couldn't answer that' but if all you do for a whole term is drill the students to answer that one question then it isn't either hard, or in fact, a test of learning at all!

thebody Tue 01-Apr-14 10:31:51

is this a post to tell us all how much easier exams are now and how we have down graded education because today's teens are too lazy/entitled/stupid to pass the old 'o' levels?

if so it's bollocks. my 15 year old is studying now for her GCSEs and the course work is challenging. it's a whole lot more interesting than My studies in the 80s but it's still challenging.

my older lads too worked bloody hard for their GCSEs and I really hate this crisp about exams getting easier!

they aren't teachers are working harder to motivate/help the kids.

in my day if you didn't pass tough shit. these days teachers care far more.

thebody Tue 01-Apr-14 10:32:30

crap not crisp.

IceBeing Tue 01-Apr-14 10:34:09

teachers care TOO much....they prevent students from learning by helping TOO much.

But yeah - if what you care about is working their socks off, todays students win. If what you care about is being able to answer questions they have been practising answering for two years then again - hats off to todays students. IF you care about people understanding the topics at a deep level then you need to go back at least 40 years.

meditrina Tue 01-Apr-14 10:36:02

CSE 1 was officially equivalent to O level C.

O level C was equivalent to GCSE C when they rolled out in the 1980s.

Is a GCSE C from then still the same?

Pupils will be working just as hard with whatever syllabus is in front of them, so it's not a question of diligence or attitude. The change in marking systems might well mean however that a pupil who received O level C (bell curve marking) might well have received higher on current mark system.

TillyTellTale Tue 01-Apr-14 10:36:21

Given that one needs 5 GCSES at grade C or 5 CSEs at grade 1 for many job applications, I would think it reasonable to think that a CSE grade 1 is worth a C at GCSE.

<states obvious>

Without evidence, any other conclusion seems like speculation.

motown3000 Tue 01-Apr-14 10:41:24

Its not a "Post" to criticise , its just to say that maybe in hindsight CSEs were not that bad. It could mean that in theory BTEC s taken instead of GCSEs are the Modern equivalent of CSEs. It could also mean that BTECs could be quite a good Qualification if adapted .

TillyTellTale Tue 01-Apr-14 10:44:09

IF you care about people understanding the topics at a deep level then you need to go back at least 40 years.

It's going to have to be more than 40 years, because my mother passed her O-levels (and recommended Cliff notes)... If there were halcyon days in school education of students coming out with deep knowledge, it was probably back in the days when only the rich/very-very-bright-with-supportive-parents went to school, and all the others started work between 12-14.

I don't want to go back to that.

titchy Tue 01-Apr-14 10:45:42

In common parlance a CSE grade 1 should be equal to a C grade GCSE, not a B grade. I'm not convinced it would be a B grade I'm afraid. Do you have any comparisions?

motown3000 Tue 01-Apr-14 10:46:43

It is also interesting that the possible next leader of the "Conservative Party" Sajid Javid was only entered for CSE Maths by his School.

His parents had to pay for him to take O Level maths at his Bristol Comprehensive.

TillyTellTale Tue 01-Apr-14 10:52:07

BTECs are already a good qualification, depending on the subject and your aim.

For example, Cambridge considers applicants for engineering with BTECs in engineering.

I would advise anyone with specific ideas about what they want to do to actually read around, and find out what universities want (not what the daily mail says they want).

Lumping BTECs all together and A-levels all together isn't a good way to go about things.

gordyslovesheep Tue 01-Apr-14 10:58:39

Yes btecs ARE good already and in no way the same as CSE which was an exam based qualification

As some one who got a grade 2 CSE in maths in 1986 and is about to sit gcse maths in June, trust me , it is not easier now!

quirrelquarrel Tue 01-Apr-14 11:07:01

Am at uni and we are NOT drilled to answer Qs thanks. Nobody leads you by the hand. Also, knowing the material aside, it's actually pretty hard to know exactly what individual markers want. Each lecturer wants something different which is not reflected in the marking criteria. You can be marked down if you haven't mindread their preferences and they do freely admit that.

I'll stop my indignant irrelevant outburst there wink

Megrim Tue 01-Apr-14 11:11:24

Grade inflation is now more of a concern at university level than at school level, so that specialist employers are looking for Masters now as an entry level qualification, whereas 30 years ago a good first degree would have been sufficient.

sashh Tue 01-Apr-14 11:13:04

It could mean that in theory BTEC s taken instead of GCSEs are the Modern equivalent of CSEs.

Er no, they predate both GCSEs and CSEs. I'm not sure about 'O'Level.

They used to be BEC or TEC qualifications and the level 3 was called 'Ordinary National Certificate'.

The higher awards of HNC and HND are still around.

They are good qualifications, they don't need to be adapted, they have survived the introduction of GCSE, AS levels and GNVQs. They are well understood and will probably be around much longer than GCSEs.

My grandfather received an ONC in the 1950s, I did a BTEC National in the 1980s and I now teach BTEC Level 3.

K8Middleton Tue 01-Apr-14 11:19:29

I recruit for a top professional services company and a BTEC national diploma at DDD is equivalent to three A grade A levels. We get more and more applicants with vocational qualifications coming through, and I am just as likely to put through a candidate with a BTEC as I am to put one through with A Levels.

I think the mapping of qualifications by UCAS is fair and a good recruitment process picks out the best candidates. Which is the whole point of these qualifications; getting jobs.

echt Tue 01-Apr-14 11:27:14

I taught both CSE and GCE O level English. A grade 1 at CSE was the equivalent of C at O level.

In my experience, any student with a grade 1 at CSE was demonstrating superior skills to those at C in O level.

We all knew it as teachers, yet the official equivalence was what counted.

IceBeing Tue 01-Apr-14 12:01:37

quirrelquarrel well I guess we were both over generalizing from our experiences. Yours sounds bad in a different way.

1. Knowing what the question will be and practising that rather than learning anything = bad

2. Not knowing what is expected of you to get a good mark = bad

3. Knowing what is expected of you and not knowing the questions in advance, being forced to apply your learning in an innovative way to demonstrate deep understanding and still getting the marks even if you didn't go the route the questioner expected = good.

There is too much of 1 and 2 and not enough 3 at university!

IceBeing Tue 01-Apr-14 12:03:11

k8 I usually agree with you, but the whole point of qualifications is to get jobs? What about actual learning and education? My DH's education is worth a ton even if he isn't employed at the moment....

K8Middleton Tue 01-Apr-14 12:12:19

Well the ultimate end point is a job isn't it? At some point. Otherwise we wouldn't bother with the 'qualification' bit, we'd just do the learning.

To clarify, there is a distinction between education/learning and a qualification. The qualification is just a blunt tool to measure the education/learning. It is also why, when recruiting, a good recruitment process is necessary. It looks at all the other things that a qualification does not or cannot measure.

StanleyLambchop Tue 01-Apr-14 12:45:15

I can only speak from my own experience, as my DC have not reached that stage yet. But way back in the fifth form, I took the final year of O'levels/CSE before they were stopped- so the year below me had studied for GCSE to be taken for the first time the following year. My maths was pretty poor, so I was entered for CSE by the school. For some reason my Dad had blind faith in the fact that I could actually pass the O'level, so he paid for me to double enter. I got an E at O'level and a grade 2 at CSE. The school then suggested I do a maths re-take, as I was staying on at school to do A'levels anyway. I had to study the new syllabus for the GCSE's as O'level/CSE was no longer available. After one year of study I took passed the GCSE maths , got a grade B to everyone's surprise (and my Dad's delight!) I don't think my maths improved any in that one year of re-takes, I admit I found the new course much easier............

As I said, just my personal experience. What I will say is much better these days though, my DC are constantly monitored for progress, and any problems are highlighted and worked on. If this had happened to me when I first started slipping behind in Maths, I may well have done better in the first place. No one seemed to know or care that I was struggling. So the good old days were not always that good.............

LadyVetinari Tue 01-Apr-14 12:56:01

IceBeing - "There is too much of 1 and 2 and not enough 3 at university!"

I recently completed an undergraduate degree at a RG university, and I can tell you with absolute certainty that nobody on my course would agree with you! Two of our exam papers every year were on unfamiliar (and unpredictable) source material, and our other exam papers contained no "repeat questions" from past years or questions that we had been specifically prepped for.

I was a solid first class student and revised very thoroughly, and yet each year there were a couple of occasions when I walked out of exams feeling really worried because the questions were so unexpected and challenging!

5Foot5 Tue 01-Apr-14 13:06:35

In my experience, any student with a grade 1 at CSE was demonstrating superior skills to those at C in O level.

echt It is interesting you should say that because it is exactly the opposite to what I remember being told back in the mid-70s when I was taking O-levels.

Although a CSE grade 1 was officially the same as an O-level grade C, there were some companies (IIRC Boots was one of them) who had a pass at O-level English as a requirement for anyone applying for a job and they categorically stated that they would not accept CSE gradev1 as an alternative.

Some of our teachers said that many people felt that there was more credit in being able to follow the O-level course at all and that even getting a D at O-level, which was really a fail, demonstrated possible more ability than getting a CSE grade 1.

Didn't do any CSEs so I can't really compare. I think some subjects did have quite a bit of course work whereas O-levels were all on the exam.

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