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AQA Biology AS level. In particular the ISA.

(14 Posts)
mrsrhodgilbert Thu 01-Sep-11 20:09:08

I'll cut to the chase and try not to waffle. My dd tells me she did 2 ISAs (practicals) earlier this year (yr12) and she thought that the higher mark of the two would be submitted to help form the AS grade, along with the 2 summer exams.

Her grade was not as expected and the lower of the 2 ISA results is the one which has been submitted by school.

Does anyone know if she is correct in thinking that the higher grade should have been used, or is she getting confused and that was never the case?

I do remember a similar policy at gcse in one of her subjects, so it doesn't seem so unlikely. Thank you

EndoplasmicReticulum Thu 01-Sep-11 23:04:07

If she did two practicals, the higher mark should have been submitted.

However......it is difficult as a teacher to give a "grade" for an ISA before they have been submitted, as the exam board change the grade boundaries and at the time of marking the ISA the teacher does not know exactly what these boundaries will be.
For this reason I told my students their ISA grades were only a "best guess".

It is also possible that the ISA marking has been moderated down by the exam board.

The only way to find out is to ask! If the school have submitted the lower mark then they have made a mistake.

mrsrhodgilbert Fri 02-Sep-11 11:05:16

Thanks Endo, what a great name. That was the first thing she studied in yr12. I have the school exam officer looking into the issue now. Hopefully we will have an answer ready when school begins again on Monday. I think its unlikely they would recommend continuing to A2 with it if her mark is lifted to a C overall. It's such a shame as it's her favourite subject.

EndoplasmicReticulum Fri 02-Sep-11 16:24:58

mrsrhod - if she does continue to A2 she may be able to resit the AS ISA this year too, some of our students have done this. The exams officer will be able to let you know if this is possible.

mrsrhodgilbert Fri 02-Sep-11 18:37:00

I'm sure she would be able to resit the ISA, some of the year above did it along side her year. But to continue it would mean dropping a subject she got a B in which doesn't seem sensible. I would also expect her to struggle with a starting point of a C. It's a real shame as she would far rather do that than history. We will learn more on Monday. Thank you for your input.

Loshad Fri 02-Sep-11 23:18:09

Iit probably was the higher mark. AQA changed the grade boundaries for the isa substantially this year - Nearly every student at our school went down a grade. I'm not talking about moderation - they were happy with our marking, they just moved the grade boundaries massively across the country.

Loshad Fri 02-Sep-11 23:20:05

follow on - Endo - we told our students it was best guess for isa grade boundaries but it's the first time on the new spec they have moved them so much.

EndoplasmicReticulum Sun 04-Sep-11 17:14:48

Loshad - that's interesting. Good to know it wasn't just us, in a way.

amispeakingenglish Mon 05-Sep-11 02:04:21

To stop the great unwashed going to uni! It is grossly unfair to our year 13s who have all worked very hard. My daughter said her Chemistry and Biology teachers said they had never seen such hard exams.

amispeakingenglish Mon 05-Sep-11 02:11:23

With the removal of any form of financial help for a level years I think that the 6th form colleges should provide free school dinners for those that qualify. I had a letter informing me that my 16 yr old still qualified but the college she is going to attend does not provide free school dinners. This was not an issue with my first one as she got ema. If a child attends a school 6th form they still get them, so what is the difference? I was told by the head of the 6th form college that they were funded as a school, ie, smaller classes and higher teacher pupil ratio. I have not heard any mp or anyone bringing this up in any discussion about this issue in the media. Perhaps I should contact my mp or the minister of Education, anyone else want to as one voice gets no-where

amispeakingenglish Mon 05-Sep-11 02:27:11

With regard to grades, my daughter noticed that her resit higher grade had not been used in her final chemistry A level mark, I phoned the exams officer who said she would amend it as they are supposed to use the higher mark. I am also sick of this tinkering with grade boundaries and the fickleness of moderators.
My daughters photography teacher said they had put a complaint in last year about the moderator who put the whole class down a grade, the exam work could not be remarked as the college, I suspect did not want to pay for the whole class to be done and I could not pay just for her as they could only remark everyones not one individual one. The teacher resubmitted all the coursework this year and my daughter went back up to her original grade, however it was the same moderator for the A level and again he/she reduced the grades taking aswell 3 marks off everyone. Her teacher said my daughter, and a few others should have got A's and they got B's. I don't like the idea of such a seemingly unfair system affecting her future like this. Art subjects are difficult to mark in the same way as academic studies so maybe there should be a different grading system. Also as I mentioned before it is not fair to move the goalposts all the time. You can not compare results from one year to the next equally with all this grade boundary fiddling. One exam board, one marking system triple checked at least would be a much fairer way of testing our children. If our kids are expected to pay mortgage amounts for their education they at least deserve a fair and even marking system to begin with.

mrsrhodgilbert Mon 05-Sep-11 13:21:54

She is now at school so I'm hoping for some sort of answer tonight. She knew the points score of each ISA and it the lower of the two which is showing on her mark sheet so it does look like there has been a mistake. The news about the grade boundaries being changed this time is quite upsetting. How can they be compared fairly with previous years? Do university admissions tutors know that marking is harsher this time?

If this has happened is has effectively removed the opportunity for my dd to do what she has been hoping to do after school. Potentially if last years marks had been used she may have succeeded.

This years upper sixth are going to have the most awful time trying to decide what to do, especially those like mine who are not A/A* students but who have just as much right to a future.

gingeroots Mon 05-Sep-11 20:43:23

mrsrhod - would be interested in knowing how you got on .

mrsrhodgilbert Wed 07-Sep-11 19:32:06

Well it appears that the correct mark did go forward but she fell foul of the grade boundary change. DD has spoken a couple of times to her teacher and dh managed to speak to teacher too this afternoon, Teacher has said with an ISA resit, where she needs to improve her mark by 3 points, she should get the AS up to a C. With hard work this year she is capable of getting a C again or even a B.

If the other 2 subjects go to plan that would give her BBB or BBC and the chance to try for what she wants to do, hope I'm not here next August wishing she had kept on with the history instead!

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