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(165 Posts)
Northernlurker Mon 10-Mar-14 17:54:22

Apologies for shouting but I am so pissed off. My poor dd1 was given all A* targets for all 12 of her GCSEs. She's done pretty well so far in keeping on track for that but has always felt very pressured by this. She is extremely bright and works ferociously hard. Having the A* as a target has not boosted this. What it's done is made her feel like anything less than A* represents failure. Today she did her second French speaking assessment. She worked hard, I worked hard checking it with her. She got 27 out of 30 which she is told is an A. This means she has 2 As for the speaking element. She is upset by this, she feels she has failed. In what sort of screwed up world is an A grade a failure?

Overall she got As in her mocks (which I think is damn good). I am dreading results day because every A grade will be seen as a failure by her and every A* as only what she expected. How the heck to I help with this? I told the Head at target setting parents evening I thought this was a crappy thing to do and I am even more sure now.

Northernlurker Mon 10-Mar-14 22:20:37

Y11 hasn't been better for us. She's got some great revision diagrams up on her wall and is very organised though. She did some very sound work over half term and was sensible about planning it and then having a break and something fun so I'm hopeful we get through the next three months ok. Am dreading the results though.

TalkinPeace Mon 10-Mar-14 22:22:52

TBH DD is motivated so I just nod and chivvy her along
DS is going to need a cattle prod and the xbox power supply destroyed to get him to revise

MrAnchovy Mon 10-Mar-14 23:20:24

She got 27 out of 30 which she is told is an A.
I don't believe it. I don't know which board she is doing but AQA, Edexcel and OCR are all usually around 50/60 raw marks for an A* in French speaking, with 55/60 or so enough for 100% UMS marks.

There is a culture in some schools that the more pressure you put on, the better results will be, and lying to the pupils about where the goalposts are is just part of that pressure.

bigTillyMint Tue 11-Mar-14 07:29:04

Oh dear, NLsad I am just counting the days...

I actually think the cattle prod scenario is better (DS) than the overly worried about failing to meet the highest targets scenario.

Northernlurker Tue 11-Mar-14 07:52:12

She's got 54 MrAnchovy and it's AQA. That's interesting. I shall be furious if that's the case!

She's gone off to school still looking a bit down. Give me a cattle prod child anytime!

5madthings Tue 11-Mar-14 07:56:20

My ds1 is also predicted a* in everything. I think it's a lot of pressure but thankfully he isn't phased by it. Not sure why that is, he just has a laid back personality, nothing I have done!

He seems to be applying himself tho and is performing at or above expected levels and his teachers are very happy.

We always tell him to try his best, he can't do any more.

Hugs for your dd xx

MrAnchovy Tue 11-Mar-14 09:05:18

blush I should have checked first, AQA are a bit tougher than I suggested, here are the recent grade point boundaries:

AQA 46553 GCSE French Unit3: Speaking
June 2013 A* 55; A 50
June 2012 A* 55; A 50
June 2012 A* 55; A 50

So yes 54 (assuming no moderation) is probably one mark off an A*.

An A* overall is definitely not out of reach but she does need a solid A* performance in the other units. IMO most people would be better motivated by knowing that than believing that they would have to do "amazingly well" in order to stand a chance.

Northernlurker Tue 11-Mar-14 12:03:51

Whats the difference between 'solid A*' and 'amazingly well'? grin
She did well on her mocks in writing and reading but her listening wasn't good. We can try and work on that. <<sigh>>

lainiekazan Tue 11-Mar-14 12:44:38

I have a ds predicted all A*s. I fervently wish he had not as now even one A will be seen as disappointing.

Also, unlike the girls on here, there are no revision plans in evidence and in fact there isn't the slightest sign of any revision at all yet. I keep banging on that brain alone doesn't cut it and neither does just hard work - it has to be a combination of the two. It's difficult to criticise him when I never do anything I can put off till tomorrow.

BirdintheWings Tue 11-Mar-14 13:01:09

Hold on a minute.

These 'predictions' are what the school needs to use to demonstrate that its staff are doing their expected job, not that your daughter is. In other words, given that she's clearly very bright and hardworking, any given subject teacher is expected to be able to get her to an A* standard.

It is not an assessment of your daughter's 'achievement' or 'failure'. Whether she gets 12A*, 6A* and 6A, or 12A, good on her -- she's (rather more than) succeeded.

Now, if she could just pop round here and remind bright-but-idle DS that his GCSEs too are happening this summer, that would be lovely.

bigTillyMint Tue 11-Mar-14 13:05:50

Yes, but bird, as they share them with the children, the well-motivated but anxious about their performance children feel like it's down to themsad
We know that they won't have failed for getting an A instead of an A*, but they will feel they havesad

BirdintheWings Tue 11-Mar-14 13:30:10

I know, but objectively, there is no way on earth that a couple of A grades in a run of A* is a failure, and we should be teaching these very bright children to recognise that.

Alternatively, did anyone else hear the radio programme a couple of weeks back about the need for failure as a life experience? (Admittedly they probably had something more dramatic in mind than a one-point-off-the top-grade kind of 'failure'.)

Oh, and NL, you might like to mention my (yeah, yeah, Oxbridge) tutor's point of view from many years back: 'I always find the ones with straight A grades raaaather less interesting to teach than the ones who only did well in the subjects they really liked...'

bigTillyMint Tue 11-Mar-14 13:53:19

I know, I know!

sad that our children are thinking an A or even a B is a failure

venturabay Tue 11-Mar-14 14:08:47

I have a DS who recently got 12 A*s without having taken any modules or exams early and although he worked pretty steadily, there didn't seem to be a need to work crazily hard. I have three DDs who also got 11 straight A*s recently (well, to be accurate one got an A). None of them worked excessively but they did do a reasonable amount and each DD had a different routine which they seemed comfortable with. It's really not healthy nor necessary for a DC to flog him or herself and an A or two at GCSE is just fine. It's probably worth having a very serious talk to try and get her to accept some perspective ahead of exams, never mind results. Hopefully that might reduce this worrying level of self-imposed pressure - remember she has to keep going without flagging until the end of June, through 26 or so exams.

venturabay Tue 11-Mar-14 14:11:44

Tilly it's up to parents to try to ram home the fact that As are fine.

Dinosaursareextinct Tue 11-Mar-14 14:40:11

This is all so different from our day. I'm sure we were never given any predictions about anything. And so anything seemed possible.

DrownedGirl Tue 11-Mar-14 14:46:36

How have the targets been set? If it's been assumed based on her getting good level 5s in English and maths at the end of primary, then using that to target a*s in all subjects at gcse! including French, etc, is a bit of a leap.

The targets are really for the school, in a way, for the progress measures they are ranked upon. At individual child level, of course there are other factors at play.

Does the school offer mentoring or counselling? Sounds as if they should be recognising the stress she is facing, and helping her to get it in perspective.

DrownedGirl Tue 11-Mar-14 14:50:16


bigTillyMint Tue 11-Mar-14 15:21:39

ventura, do you think I don't try?!

She is naturally quite competitive (but hides it really well!), has been told at school all along that she is capable, etc, school is (obviously) very keen for good results for the league tables, loads of course-work/CA's/ISA's and at times now she is buckling a bit under the pressure.

Drowned, I think they use CATs and FFT.

Being the parent of a not-previously anxious teen is a whole new ball-game for me! It will be interesting to see how DS copes, but then I think he will be in the first cohort of the new regime.

And I agree, it was all so different in my day. No predictions, I was not top-set of the grammar I went to, so no pressure that way, DM didn't have a clue....

cory Tue 11-Mar-14 15:51:54

It's when I read threads like this that I feel bizarrely grateful that dd had a breakdown and bombed her GCSE's.

At least she has faced those demons once and for all; she knows that life goes on whether you get A's or not, that you remain more or less the same person and that there is always a way back.

I had a university lecturer who used to say that everybody ought to fail at something once. He was a wise man.

Martorana Tue 11-Mar-14 15:53:15

Sorry- but if a student is capable of 12 A*s are you saying they should be given lower targets? hmm

venturabay Tue 11-Mar-14 16:13:42

No I don't think anything Tilly but it's all so unhealthy for these kids to be killing themselves and feeling a failure with As.

I dislike targets too.

Northernlurker Tue 11-Mar-14 16:16:02

Yes basically that is what I think. If dd - and all the other bright kids - were given targets no higher than A then they would have the choice to work hard and excel and surpass their target with an A* or work hard and be very good and get their target or work not so hard and miss it.

She knows the targets are for school - so she feels pressure to do well for the school, for the teachers who are very good and work hard. She knows our expectations and priorities for her centre around her wellbeing and not around the number of A*s. She knows what I think about parents who are offering cash for grades grin. And still yesterday she felt like she'd failed. That sucks.

Martorana Tue 11-Mar-14 16:16:53

So do you really think kids shouldn't be told what they could get if they tried?

Martorana Tue 11-Mar-14 16:18:53

Sorry, crossed posts but you would also have to tell them that although their target was an A they could get an A-* if they put the work in-wouldn't that just come to the same thing?

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