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Just got back from DCs year 11 parents' evening and i felt a slight air of panic amongst the teachers .....

(114 Posts)
iclaudius Wed 27-Mar-13 20:59:06

They seemed all at sea about grade boundaries .... imparted some shocking statistics about the number of A* for example being awared this year as opposed to last year at the same modules.

A few of them alluded to 'Is this Gove? Who knows?'

Generally left us with the impression that August this year will be very different to the last few years. We are not OVERLY concerned by this as we do agree that the system needs to change BUT its worrying when it is your own child who is THIS year group.

Anyone experienced similar news at theor childs school??

mumslife Sun 07-Apr-13 19:57:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

circular Fri 05-Apr-13 13:17:10

Agree re the sicth form applications. All very well waiting till results and calling round to get a place in 'clearing'. But very nerver wracking to lose out on condtional offers as they are based on predicted grades.

A course may have a minimum requirement of a B, but due to over subscription, only students predicted A will get a conditional offer.
So you have the situation where a student predicted A but gets B gets a place, but one that is predicted B but gets A may not - unless someone drops out, or does not meet min requirement.

Copthallresident Wed 03-Apr-13 00:34:07

IamLouisWalsh It isn't just that I have the observation about the declining standard of marking, and the use of graduate students, on record from DDs very selective indie school, and reports as well as personal experience of huge changes when it comes to remark. I am a PhD student in a Humanities Dept at a RG uni and have known several MA students employed to mark papers to supplement their income, albeit not a topic examined in the GCSE syllabus. It is regarded as a sad joke since 20 mins are allowed for the marking of an A2 question, and some who exploited the opportunity had not only not taught 18 year olds, they had not even been educated in the British system themselves.

IAmLouisWalsh Tue 02-Apr-13 21:29:01

It needs to be a U - I have one kid doing it because she got a C in Lang on resit but missed the January exams. She asked, in all seriousness 'Can I still get a U without revising?'. I bloody hope so.

ravenAK Tue 02-Apr-13 18:30:43

They have to be entered for Lit alongside Lang for the Lang to count. They don't have to actually pass it.

So they'll all be trooping in to sit the paper, but the preparation they've done for it will be...well, minimal.

I know, it's bonkers. hmm.

IAmLouisWalsh Tue 02-Apr-13 17:51:19

Raven - be careful, as you need Lit for Lang to count in the league tables. I know you probably know this, but one school last year didn't!

As for the idea which is repeated time and again about students marking papers - I have marked and moderated English for many years now with the two biggest exam boards, and I have yet to come across anyone other than a qualified teacher marking/moderating. Lots of retired teachers, several on supply, but no-one without actual teaching experience.

ravenAK Tue 02-Apr-13 17:03:39

iclaudius - nope, nothing has been 'rectified' for January re: Eng Lang.

We now have 180 year 11s with raw scores for their January exams, but no idea what these actually mean as the boundaries have not yet been set, & won't be until the June cohort take theirs (which mean our lot will all be re-taking, as we have no idea whether they've been successful already or not).

We've pretty much abandoned Eng Lit as a result for this cohort. sad

Copthallresident Tue 02-Apr-13 14:18:47

mumslife In the post GCSE results days last August a lot of schools and sixth form colleges were relaxing their requirements for individual pupils who had conditional places. Not immediately but after 24 hours when everyone realised it was a fiasco.

mumslife Tue 02-Apr-13 13:44:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Arisbottle Mon 01-Apr-13 22:28:50

I know of a few subjects that have sent papers back for remarks and they have gone from Cs to As. A C grade answer looks nothing like an A Grade answer, very worrying.

Copthallresident Mon 01-Apr-13 21:37:39

As the head of my DDs highly selective indie has pointed out with the expansion in the number of pupils sitting exams marking is too often now carried out by master's students and others with little teaching experience at the level of those being marked, marking errors are far too common and a rigid marking schemes have been introduced as a result which means that well argued and thought out answers can still be marked down. We were not going to challenge DDs RMT mark, surely there was nothing subjective to affect marking, she went up 10 UMS marks. Of course you can apply for a remark but does everyone get the same sort of support from school, it costs money (albeit returned if the mark changes), and can you trust the second marker?

IAmLouisWalsh Mon 01-Apr-13 19:25:46

There were no 'inconsistencies' with marking in GCSE English - no more than normal variations for an arts based subject. The difficulty was caused by the changes made to grade boundaries which are on,y set once all the marking is completed.

Copthallresident Mon 01-Apr-13 16:07:56

Last year there were strange inconsistencies in marking and grading across the board, it applied at AS and A2 too and in English Lit as well as English Language and even in IGCSEs which are supposed to be immune. The trouble was that it varied across exam boards so it wasn't as if it affected all DCs. As the Head of Magdalen school commented “The goalposts are being shifted but not necessarily by someone with a valid GPS.”

noblegiraffe Mon 01-Apr-13 09:01:35

Getting a C in maths was much more difficult last year too, but not as well publicised as the English fiasco. The grade boundaries on one exam board's final module to get a C were way, way higher than previous modules, years, and reasonable expectations.

IAmLouisWalsh Mon 01-Apr-13 08:55:26

Nothing has been 'rectified' in English - the solution was not to set boundaries. The boundaries for the November resit were very similar to those from the summer, and the trend will be likely to continue. Getting a C in English is significantly more difficult than it has ever been.

January modules will not run again.

iclaudius Sun 31-Mar-13 22:42:46

ravenAK - thanks- i think the english was an exception and caused such a stir that things were rectified for January

i think the general TREND is as Shipwrecked stated and echoed in the January ds school last year in Biology 55% of students got an A* ( v high performing school) this year it was 7%

the biology department rang another similar school as he was shocked and they reported an almost identical result each time.....

is this going to be seen as FAIR?

ShipwreckedAndComatose Sun 31-Mar-13 18:29:57

What Iclaudius (great name!) said was true for some of the science exams for AQA this January. The A*, A, B boundaries moved significantly but the ones lower than that did not.

So I think the only certainty is that we do not know exactly what will happen in June!

ravenAK Sun 31-Mar-13 17:50:18

The C/D boundary in Eng Lang moved up by roughly 10% last June.

It really, really wasn't a couple of points.

iclaudius Sun 31-Mar-13 00:20:58

couthy my understandning is that there is a HUGE change in the A* boudarie but this is then only a matter of a couple of points difference in the C/D boundary - teachers have told me this

iclaudius Sun 31-Mar-13 00:19:22

i think you DO nutcracker - definitely do for CB as i've just had the letter

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Sat 30-Mar-13 10:36:24

Ok, I'm sorry. I'll leave this thread now, as I've obviously upset you, Russians, and that wasn't my intention. I'm just struggling right now to sort everything for everyone, and obviously let this out on this thread. Once again, I apologise.

RussiansOnTheSpree Fri 29-Mar-13 22:09:25

No couthy, that still doesn't work, that was your FIRST POST in this thread. All I'd done at that point was express concern and worry at what a PP had said was now happening, like many other posters above me. The OP expressed her concern in terms of A* boundaries. That was what this thread was supposed to be about. I have seen you do this so very many times under your various names - somebody posts something, other people respond, then you pile and and tell us all we have nothing to complain about because your life is so much worse. And clearly, it's pretty bad. But that doesn't mean other people can't express worries about their own situations on MN too. And as I said above, you don't actually ow anything about anyone else's circumstances anyway.

I'm generally very sympathetic to your plight. But in this case, you piled into the thread and were horrible and rude right from the start. So in this case, no, Im not going to spare any worry for you because I've got enough worries for my own SEN child. Who deserves at least as much consideration as yours, and who has apparent actual government policy saying people like her are not allowed to get the top grades. And who would never in a million years be allowed anywhere near a catering course.

TheOriginalNutcracker Fri 29-Mar-13 21:55:05

Sorry, can I just clarify something. Do we now not get ctc and cb if they stay on until 18 ?? Apologies if i've missed something.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Fri 29-Mar-13 21:30:10

The gap between the two is well over £40 a week. That is an insurmountable amount to our family, especially given the benefit cap changes and UC issues still to come BEFORE she finishes Y11.

I have another appointment with the SenCo after the holidays. Though she was in years at the last appointment, of frustration, as she has 27 in current Y11 in this predicament, and 32 in current Y10. She can't secure residential places for any but those who will get nothing but 'G' or less now. Those between 'D' and 'F' are only going to be 'ok' if their parents can fully find them for food, clothing and travel to college.

She is being told by the LA to apply to the further afield college's hardship fund. They are saying that they only have the money for 30 student's travelling costs. Over all the students in our town affected that don't have parents with the funds to cover this. Which is estimated to be over 150.

CouthySaysEatChoccyEggs Fri 29-Mar-13 21:23:40

The difference is that when we chose her Options, it was based around the predictions pre-fiasco, and she was predicted 'C's.

Getting the SAME marks, she now will only get a 'D'.

Therefore it's not that her ability has changed, or the hard work she (and I) are putting into getting her those grades has changed, but simply that for getting the same amount of total marks, she will not get the same grade.

And the boundary has changed the most for the C/D borderline pupils.

Where she may have scraped a C before, she will now be lucky to scrape a D.

If the grade boundary has changed by 5 points between an A* and an A, it has changed by 8 points between a C and a D.

So you could have been 7 points into a C before, yet now you will just miss out on one. And 7/8 points is a lot harder to make up than 5 - when you bear in mind that those attempting to make up 5 points are far less likely to have learning difficulties than those trying to make up 8 points...

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