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GSCE and A Level Grades

(10 Posts)
madaboutschools Wed 19-Oct-11 21:45:31

Does all the credit go to the quality of the teaching at secondary schools or does excellent grades reflect on the fact that parents tutor their kids at this level. I've heard that this happens, can anyone enlighten me.

glaurung Thu 20-Oct-11 12:42:12

Not sure what you are asking here. Public exam grades depend a lot on how hard children work for them (which may be affected by a schools ethos, but also on the individual childs mentality) and how bright they are. Most schools that get excellent grades are selective (either by entrance test or leafiness of catchment). Not sure that their teaching is always especially excellent.

Moominmammacat Thu 20-Oct-11 13:51:43

My son had tutors for seven subjects at GCSE and two at AS. Got good enough results but I resented doing it ... all his classmates were at it (in a selective school) so I couldn't really let him sink.

kritur Thu 20-Oct-11 20:38:07

It very much depends on the school and the students. As a teacher I am held accountable for my GCSE and A-level results, even if a student does b*gger all work. I taught in a comp in an area where none of the students could afford tutors so their results were a result of their hard work and my teaching. I live in an area of town where tutoring is very common, last year I had 4 kids from the same A-level class at the local High School. I wasn't vastly impressed with the level of their notes, homeworks set etc. Similarly I often get kids from the local private school as well (who are technically paying twice, once for the school and once for the tutor).

troisgarcons Thu 20-Oct-11 22:25:22

Schools with the pupil on roll get accredited with results. YOu may pay private, you may have child do a BTEC at a cadet force or have private music lessons and grade ... it all feeds back to the principal school.... the governement has a very large database feeding this in through FORVUS

madaboutschools Fri 21-Oct-11 02:05:44

Thanks for interesting comments. I would hope that most parents wouldn't feel the need to tutor on top of school teaching, however, with the growing demands on our children to get into the "best" universities, with such competition around, I suppose parents only want to do what they think is best for their child.

Idratherbemuckingout Fri 21-Oct-11 10:37:19

I am home educating my son, and we have been gradually working up the research for various 'exams'. We've been through the KS2 sats papers online, and most of the KS3 Maths papers, as he is very good at maths.
I have recently started researching GCSE's. It has been very interesting indeed. I discovered a site where a teacher was asking whether to put her pupils in for the Foundation Maths or the Higher Tier. The answer included the information that for Higher Tier, 50% of the questions will be 'low demand', ie aimed at level C to D, 20 to 25% at 'mid demand' ie aimed at level B, and the remaining 25 to 30% at 'high demand', aimed at levels A to A*.
I found another site that told you what percentage you had to get to achieve each grade.
81% or above gets you an A*
59.5% gets you an A (note that to get this you need not actually complete ANY work in the 'high demand' section.
41.5% gets you a B (note also that this falls within the 50% aimed at levels C and D)
23.5% gets you a C (less than a quarter of the paper correct!!!!!!!)
13.5% gets you a D
8.5% gets you an E (maybe marks for writing your name correctly?)
As I have found this same scenario to apply to KS3 and KS2 SATS papers, I would hazard a guess that the rise in the number of pupils with high marks at GCSE and A level is perhaps due to the fact that they can get a mark that indidcates a higher level of achievement than they have actually merited.
This information took quite a lot of digging to find, but I would imagine it applies across most subjects.
In my day (O levels) all the Maths paper was hard.
Look online - lots of old papers are available free. See how hard you find them. I would have no trouble getting an A* after a little revision of the higher grades work, and I only got a Grade 4 at O level (in the days when passes were graded 1 to 6.)
Our kids are NOT getting cleverer, the examiners are.

TalkinPeace2 Fri 21-Oct-11 15:17:41


but bear in mind that Gove and the new head of Ofsted have ordered that grade inflation must cease forthwith and want to move back towards the normal distribution for grade allocation

crazymum53 Fri 21-Oct-11 17:28:37

Idratherbemuckingout I notice that you do not quote the name of the website you used for this information. The exam boards publish their grade thresholds or boundaries on their websites and this is the only official and reliable data.
The figures quoted may not actually be a percentage but the raw marks and most GCSE papers are not out of 100.
On GCSE papers for Science/Maths each question is graded so on a higher level paper the first 2 or 3 questions are aimed at grade C candidates, then the next 2 or 3 at grade B and so on. So basically if you get only the grade C questions correct you obtain a grade C.

noblegiraffe Fri 21-Oct-11 18:27:34

I found another site that told you what percentage you had to get to achieve each grade.

That changes each year and with each paper. The most recent Edexcel linear maths paper for example had a distribution of questions roughly as you describe, but to get an A was 70% and a C was 33%, which is quite a bit higher than you say. It it possible that the grade boundaries that you list are for a module where the distribution of questions between the grades may be different.

I understand the concern that you might not have to get any A-grade questions right to get an A, but it is highly unlikely that a candidate would get all the lower grade material 100% correct then completely fail at the higher level.

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