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So confused - how does a D grade equate to an A pass at A level?

(76 Posts)
justgoandgetalife Wed 02-Dec-15 23:00:37

DS16 has been given a D for his latest History exam. He says that's the same as a A in the final exam? Can someone please explain what he is talking about? He claims that the exam used 'unknown sources'. Don't know what that means either!

Should I be concerned or does this sound right? I want to email the tutor to ask for clarification but I am being made to feel so stupid. On top of rowing with my other 2 DS about school/college related issues, I am confused and upset. DS16 says j don't need to email the college as his result is fine, but where I come from a D is not an A, or am I really missing something here?

Please help - I'm at my wits end.

justgoandgetalife Wed 02-Dec-15 23:02:05

I'm talking first year of A level & I have a Uni degree by the way (albeit from a long time ago! Cough!) so I'd like to feel I'm not stupid!

Akire Wed 02-Dec-15 23:04:39

From friends with older kids I think this means after 3 months on the course they have done final mock/end course exam. He has a D now so after another year and half at sane level this would be an A.

Scarydinosaurs Wed 02-Dec-15 23:05:19

Not the same at all.

He clearly knows how to upset you flowers

IguanaTail Wed 02-Dec-15 23:06:28

Sounds like a load of baloney to me. Emails the tutor and ask for clarification.

Scarydinosaurs Wed 02-Dec-15 23:07:33

Email his tutor and ask- I would not be happy if my DS was making me feel stupid.

You need to know if he is underperforming.

IguanaTail Wed 02-Dec-15 23:21:39

It's more likely to be that he scores higher on an individual paper than he is predicted to over all

BackforGood Wed 02-Dec-15 23:40:32

I think there is quite possibly something in what Akire says. they have just given my dd (in Yr12) tests in all her subjects, and they assured us at parents evening, that these were questions like those they will be asked in 18months time, and there is work to be done to help them make the journey to the higher levels of thinking / writing style / use of sources / knowledge / etc.

or, of course,

he might be trying to confuse you as he knows you'll be cross / sad wink

titchy Thu 03-Dec-15 08:04:16

A D is a D is a D..... He'll be covering different topics from now until the actual exams, there won't be a chance to revisit term 1 stuff and improve it. He's trying it on....

Spidertracker Thu 03-Dec-15 08:21:17

I'm guessing that he is doing a linear course and has done a mock exam and got a D with his current knowledge but that by the time he has completed the course will have the required knowledge for an A.

strawberryandaflake Thu 03-Dec-15 08:23:50

It's called progress tracking. A D at this point, provided he remains on track, usually means that by the end of the course he will have developed enough skill to gain an A.

tuilamum Thu 03-Dec-15 08:38:34

I did my A-level equivalent 3 years ago and PPs are right, they do do this in some subjects, specifically in order to get a predicted grade for uni applications etc. My school also did it for GCSEs. Its nothing to worry about, basically they just gave him an actual A-level exam paper (from a previous year) and see how he did with minimal knowledge and some common sense. A D is actually quite good for this, nobody is really expected to get higher than a C...

ClancyMoped Thu 03-Dec-15 08:58:59

I would leave it too him. He could well be telling the truth if the exam was based on the whole years course but was marked as as though it was taken at the end of the year.
My DCs who were definitely trustworthy had similar types of tests marks.
Another thing to consider is that some teachers mark past papers without using weighted marking so marks can look a bit odd. Eg 50 % in phychology would typically represent a much higher grade than 50% in a maths exam IYSWIM

senua Thu 03-Dec-15 09:05:27

I agree with Akire but I don't understand why teachers do this. I never knew as a parent whether a grade was a where-you-are-now or a where-you-will-be-by-the-end-of-the-key-stage. It's poor communication from them so I think you are within your rights to e-mail them to ask for clarification (but first double-check any documentation previously received from school to make sure that they haven't already explained all thiswink)

tuilamum Thu 03-Dec-15 09:45:17

I think its because when you get to college/sixth form, teachers don't really talk to parents anymore, they treat the students more like adults who actually want to be there and want to learn so everything gets explained to them and then they can explain to their parents or not as they see fit. It might be frustrating for very involved parents but its just taking a step towards him being responsible for his own studies...

HocuCrocus Thu 03-Dec-15 11:12:55

He claims that the exam used 'unknown sources'.

I am not familiar with the A level syllabus but if this was a history exam , does he mean they were asked questions on an unseen historical text i.e. one which they would not be expected to be familiar with?

Arrowminta Thu 03-Dec-15 11:21:13

History is a tricky subject and a huge leap from GCSE to A level. I think he means that a D at this stage can step up to an A at finals by applying knowledge gained between now and then.

FWIW I know someone who got a U in the first mock exam and ended up with a B at A level. One resit could have got up to an A but they didn't need it to meet their conditional offer. The U was a result of misinterpreting what was being asked so a good learning curve.

Lozza1990 Thu 03-Dec-15 11:57:01

If he means that if he carries on he will end up with an A, I'm not sure but doesn't seem likely in year 11. Just to clarify an A in GCSE is equilivant to a C in a-level.

titchy Thu 03-Dec-15 12:33:20

An A at GCSE is NOT equivalent to a C at A Level - that's bollocks.

ClancyMoped Thu 03-Dec-15 13:51:15

Titchy You are correct (although you could have phased it more nicely) wink

SecretSquirr3ls Thu 03-Dec-15 13:58:33

when you get to college/sixth form, teachers don't really talk to parents anymore,
No this is not true.
At DS sixth form college we get a written report 3 or 4 times a year with details of effort, achievement and predicted grades. We also have 3 parents evenings a year in which this is discussed in detail. I have never had e mail addresses for teachers though.
Do you have a report or parent evening coming up? If so I would wait. if not then I think it would be fair to ask the teacher whether they have any concerns about your DS's progress.

MY DC did / are doing AS and A levels so I wouldn't know how the new system is marked. The new A level curriculum is different so I would be wary of assuming that how it worked before is still true.

tuilamum Thu 03-Dec-15 14:14:28

Must have been different for my school then because they hardly ever contacted parents unless there was real concern. I'm only talking from personal experience here. It depends on the school/college, especially as some colleges have older students so obviously don't contact their parents, and therefore don't contact parents much at all in the name of fairness...

justgoandgetalife Thu 03-Dec-15 20:17:25

Senua: exactly my point! When someone tells me my DS got a D I go into 'oh my god he hasn't been studying' mode and go upstairs to tell him to get his head down! He gets angry cos he swears he's studying! DF gets even angrier than I do & they almost come to blows!

Incidentally when i say that DS makes me feel stupid, I don't mean that he actually tells me that, it's more me being paranoid about my own feelings & is an internal emotion! It was late at night so I had gone to bed mulling it over.

I have emailed his tutor to see what's going on & if I really need to worry. The lesson I've learned here is just to forget about having a go at DS about it & ask his tutor first!

justgoandgetalife Thu 03-Dec-15 20:22:27

I also object to this attitude that you test them in term 1, mark it as if they were doing a final paper & then have to explain what the grade means?!

[Surely if you ask 50 questions (each one worth e.g. 2 marks), then a result of 100 = 100% = A; and 50/100 = 50%=C. You can't mark against a full 2 years worth of work, they get 12% right=D, then have to explain that that's actually ok as they've only done 12% of the course so 12% is the max they would ever get for that test]

IguanaTail Thu 03-Dec-15 20:26:01

Ah yes but for some students they get an A on a tiny sliver of the course early on and think that they don't need to try too hard.

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