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Year 8 marks.

(15 Posts)
andmyunpopularopionis Tue 08-Jul-14 18:28:08

Can someone please explain the english education system to me regarding GCSE, A levels and uni. It all seems very confusing when I try to establish what dd's options will be and I cannot fathom it.

Dd is on track for what I think are pretty bad GCSE's , she does no work at all. Based on her predicted grades she will get a C for English and Geography, B for maths and science and a D for history. This is what I'm led to believe. She's finishing year 8 with 4's and 5's.

Now from what I understand, or more importantly don't understand, is what this means for A levels and therfore uni. Would she even be allowed to do A levels?
It seems that there are no hard and fast rules. It all appears arbitrary based on the school or Uni.

I am so confused. I tried searching for info but all I got was UMS scores... which was just more confusion.

I need her to understand just how badly she is limiting her options by doing absolutely no work and that although she thinks it's fun and games. It's not.

Please tell me based on her current work rate / marks what her real options would be. I think she needs a scare. She has no idea what she wants to do. She has spoken about teaching and environmental science before... but not seriously.

Or am I worrying too much? Thay would make me happy but I think it's unlikely.


noblegiraffe Tue 08-Jul-14 18:33:41

At my school she wouldn't be allowed to study maths A-level unless she got an A. Other subjects require a B, so if she is getting Cs and Ds, even if she meets the requirements to get into sixth form, she will be restricted in her choice of subjects and may be pushed down a more vocational route.

She may also be restricted in her GCSE options in Y9. School may suggest college courses or BTECs rather than a full set of GCSEs.

andmyunpopularopionis Tue 08-Jul-14 18:42:46

Thank you. So basically she needs to get her act together big time it she wants any chance of doing anything requiring a degree?

From what I understand she does 3 A levels and they would take gcse's into consideration for uni as well. If we get there. And in my mind that should be a english maths and science. And at the moment she had no chance of getting any of those.

Okay. We will be chatting tonight. Summer holidays is going to be fun fun fun. ..

AuntySib Tue 08-Jul-14 18:49:05

Our local schools require at least a B at GCSE in order to do a subject at A level. This might not be the case everywhere, and there are BTecs and other training courses that can be done instead of A Levels.

I think the whole system is changing so that this cohort of Year 8s will be the first to do the new exams replacing GCSEs( don't know what they are called). I've heard that they will be harder, with less ( or no) coursework element.

Finishing Year 8 with 4s and 5s is not so great - the minimum expectation for Year 6 is a solid level 4, and many achieve higher than that.

However for some children it is a struggle, and I would be wondering what levels she left primary school with - if she left with 4s and 5s, then she would appear not to have made any progress, which is worrying. As I understand it, GCSE predictions are made on the basis of Year 6 SATs, and therefore are not necessarily an indication of how well she is likely to do if her progress has not been in line with expectations.

As for University, it depends on which one and what course. For academic courses at a RG University you would be looking at AAB as far as I can see, or higher, depending on how popular the course is. For others, much less- I know someone who has been offered a place on a degree course to study Art on the basis of one D at A Level, a clutch of not particularly brilliant GCSEs ( about 7 A-C) plus a merit on an foundation course, on the strength of his portfolio.

But if she is not academic, University might not be the best option - it is worth looking at other post 16 education options.

You may well find her attitude changes when she gets to choose her options and so can study subjects she is more interested in.

lljkk Tue 08-Jul-14 21:23:06

There are people on MN who insist that the only Uni degrees worth having come from certain universities (a minority of them). So keep that in mind when you read the advice here.

There are plenty of uni courses your Dd could get into with only Cs+Bs at GCSE, and whatever A-level those open doors to. Some kids are late bloomers so maybe she'll turn into a hard worker later. But obviously it's better for her prospects if you can get her to take pride in her work sooner & see value in it.

yr8 is hard for some to be motivated because they are kind of treading water without their work being that meaningful.

Our local 6th forms require CCCBB as minimum GCSEs for entry (so just 5, with minimum 2 Bs). I think that's quite common entry requirements.

andmyunpopularopionis Tue 08-Jul-14 22:20:28

Thanks. That does make me feel more positive. I'm not a university is everything Person, neither DH or I have a degree and we have done fine. I just don't want her options limited at this point in her life. Good to know that not everyone expects awesome gcse's to get them into 6th form- that was a concern.

Hakluyt Wed 09-Jul-14 06:48:38

What were her levels in year 7?

littlesupersparks Wed 09-Jul-14 06:54:00

Yes B is best for A levels, although I have taught kids who've got C.

4s and 5s are not that unusual - it's the subjects with 4 I would be worried about.

If she is not working that hard she will probably improve and C and B grades seem possible. How has her year been? I always find year 8 is when girls get trickier - make up, boys etc...

I would focus on year 9 being the year to prepare for GCSE and emphasise that she will struggle year 10/11 if she doesn't buck her ideas up. Try and stay in frequent contact with her teachers next year. But I'd whisper to you so she doesn't hear - please don't worry, I bet she will be fine :-)

Tisy10 Wed 09-Jul-14 06:59:34

National average for the end of y9 is level 5. I'm not sure why (or how) you have gcse predicted grades already if she is in y8. A lot can change in year 9 and although, yes she needs to work, in my experience it is relatively normal for them to go a bit off the boil in y8 and start to get it right in y9. I certainly wouldn't be worrying about a level choices just yet!!

throckenholt Wed 09-Jul-14 07:50:36

Does university have to be the only option ? It may well be that it doesn't suit her - or maybe not until she is older.

I would try to encourage her to find something interesting in what she is doing in school - make it a challenge to find something relevant to each subject. It may be that the way it is presented to her is not the way that sparks her interest - so make it a personal mission between you to find an interesting angle. At the very least it might help her see why putting some effort or mental focus in might be of use to her.

And maybe spend some time talking about the kind of jobs she really wouldn't want to do as an adult (even if she doesn't have a focus of what she would want to do). It might help to give her reasons to put a bit of effort in to steer away from the worst options as an adult.

Opening their eyes to just how dull some jobs can be is no bad thing. I have been watching worst jobs in history with my year 8 boy - I think it is really opening his eyes to just what some people have had to do to earn a living smile

andmyunpopularopionis Wed 09-Jul-14 07:53:08

I cannot tell how much more relieved I am right now.
Her Levels at year 7 where not actually defined as she moved from private to state in the last half term. (it was a mess). She is dyslexic but not hugely so. She does need to work harder.

Yes boys, makeup, hair etc are her main focus in life at the moment. Are you saying she'll Snap out of that? That would make me very happy.
The school are helping and are aware that I am willing to support her so they have been great.

We did get a message from the English teacher last night saying the English mark, a 4, was not a true reflection because of some rationalization exercise they had to do because of the changes to gcse's for her year group.

The predicted grade is based on a scale we are given so if you level 4 now you would be, if you carry on at this rate, be a C at Gcse. Should I ignore that.

I really don't get why we can't just have A's, B's and C's and why we need numbers. But I'm simplistic that was. This is so complicated.

Thanks everyone

gymboywalton Wed 09-Jul-14 07:58:18

Forget about a levels and university for a moment.

My son is in year 9 and has recently taken his options. In order to choose history, your English had to be level 6 or above. To take computer science your maths had to be level 7 or above. Practically every subject had a similar requirement. Unless she wants to be very limited in her subject choices, she needs to buck up her ideas.
Something more immediate like that may have more effect than things in the dark future like uni.

andmyunpopularopionis Wed 09-Jul-14 09:19:44

Hi. I will speak to the school today and find out what the requirements are for subject selection. That way we will know what we need to aim for.


gymboywalton Thu 10-Jul-14 08:07:23

How did you get on?

Tansie Fri 11-Jul-14 15:53:27

I like numbers! Though they are initially harder to understand, they indicate actual achievement levels, overall, and can be compared against expected national and in-school averages. Our school (which I believe is the norm) expects a steady 2 sub-level improvement every year, so a 4 high to a 5 medium in one year, to a 6 low the end of the next etc.

Sadly, this number system ends at the end of Y9, when the old 'KS3' ended; so it all becomes A/B/C from there in.

A, B's and C' are, imho, more 'meaningless'. 'A', as in 'if she took her GCSE tomorrow, she'd get an 'A'? or, does a 'C' now mean that at her current rate of progress, in 2 years' time, she should expect an 'A'?

Or A, B & C as measured against what?

I think individual pieces of work benefit from the A/B/C marking; but overall progress and attainment is easier to gauge using NC levels.

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