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Coursework for GSCE

(17 Posts)
Swanhildapirouetting Sun 14-Dec-14 19:18:34

I was under the impression that the exams were at the end of Year 11. But suddenly there is all this coursework. Which is obviously part of the final grade and some of it is due very soon. Shouldn't the teachers have given us some sort of indication of what is expected? Obviously they have told my son what is expected but he seems unable to communicate this information to me. So far for his English and his Spanish he seems to be floundering. His last Spanish exam came back as an E. And yet they are expecting him to do a speaking part of the exam off by heart very soon.

His work is low C's D's atm so I want to help him if I possibly can.

Or are the teachers not allowed to encourage the parents to help with coursework?

Is it too much to ask that they send a timetable of dates for the relevant coursework for All subjects so we know what to focus on or ask our sons relevant questions?

Tbh I am feeling very depressed by the way that every teacher just assumes my child will only achieve a C and nothing else is worth fighting for (being put in for Foundation in Science for example and Spanish) Not sure about the others. Know that Maths is Higher atm and English.

Bunbaker Sun 14-Dec-14 19:23:06

I think you would be better off talking to the head of year at your son's school. For some subjects coursework accounts for 25% of the marks. For others such as art and DT it is higher. DD isn't doing a MFL so I don't know how much of that is coursework.

Swanhildapirouetting Sun 14-Dec-14 19:28:17

I frequently talk to the Head of Year already about ds1's dyspraxia and IEPs and things like that but for some reason the most obvious thing which is ds1's academic progress as measured by GSCE success has not come up sad Maybe they just thought it was clear or Ds1 is supposed to have communicated something to me?

I know what the mark content is - just no timeline for anything except ds suddenly saying Oh I have to hand this in Wed...the teacher is going to look at it..(presumably the actual assessment will be later)

As they send us letters about other things like ds being rude or late or missing detention you would have thought they would send us a letter saying "your son has coursework please check with him when it is due".

Yes, I will talk to Head of Year and try and get some hard facts.

LIZS Sun 14-Dec-14 19:29:23

We had a timetable well ahead and have had similar for AS. However coursework and Controlled Assessments are supposed to be the students work although there will have been guidance and practice in class. Perhaps it is worth asking if he could drop Spanish to focus on English.

TheFirstOfHerName Sun 14-Dec-14 19:30:15

I have a son in Y10. He looked at the board and specification for each subject when he was choosing his options in Y9, so he knew which subjects involved coursework or controlled assessments (about half of the subjects he is doing) before he started the courses. I think is a bit head-in-the-sand to start courses without researching the content of the curriculum or the method of assessment.

Having said that, the school also provides him with a rough timetable of the coursework and controlled assessments at the beginning of each academic year. Not exact dates, but which month they are planned for.

So I think the school could have done more to notify him of timings, but he should have found out which subjects would include coursework.

TheFirstOfHerName Sun 14-Dec-14 19:33:01

For Spanish, if it is AQA then the speaking is on a particular topic which the students are told in advance, so he should focus on learning words and phrases from that topic for now.

TheFirstOfHerName Sun 14-Dec-14 19:38:56

DS1 is not a naturally organised person, so we have had to show him techniques to help him with organisation and planning. When he feels overwhelmed by the amount of work there is to learn, he writes a list of the topics and colour codes them into free (confident about the material) amber (unsure) and red (don't understand any of it). Then he concentrates on the red topics first.

TheFirstOfHerName Sun 14-Dec-14 19:39:32

Free? That was meant to say green.

roisin897 Sun 14-Dec-14 19:39:59

We received a general calendar with some dates or time periods for coursework in all subjects, at the start of yr11 and at the start if yr10. However, almost all coursework now is done under "high control" conditions: ie they do it at school in exam conditions, with only minimal notes, complying to strict guidelines. They are not supposed to have help from parents or teachers, apart from the general teaching in the run-up to the assessments. So there's not a lot that you can, or should do as a parent.

Swanhildapirouetting Sun 14-Dec-14 19:51:45

He's done that already with the Spanish First prelearned a paragraph by rote. Yet he doesn't seem to even know what the words mean - and said he did it all by Google translate and can't remember now which ones are which. Anyway Spanish is just a drop in the ocean.

It is just the lack of information which is getting me down. I am completely reliant on dyspraxic ds1 for any information getting through and he will go to any lengths to downplay anything "urgent" or difficult for fear of being criticised.

We had a list of all the mark schemes for each course and the coursework required and the Boards but never thought I would personally have to look up the timetable or that they would be assessed when he has not yet mastered the actual curriculum or have to go through the questions personally to see what whether he understands what the coursework is asking for. For example he has to do a review of the Inbetweeners. He has chosen it himself. But he hasn't understood they are asking for him to evaluate what makes it good or funny not just say It Is Funny. Surely teacher should be sending this work home with a note to say This Is Very Important Coursework. To be Completed by x Date. Assessed on x Date.

But that is an idea. I will look up the individual Boards now.

DoctorDonnaNoble Sun 14-Dec-14 19:54:42

The boards won't be able to tell you when schools do controlled assessment. Schools arrange it themselves but marks have to be with the board at a certain date. Most schools send out that information to parents. If your school hasn't I don't see why you shouldn't contact them to ask.

Swanhildapirouetting Sun 14-Dec-14 19:59:10

Donna Yes, I see what you mean, as most is marked internally,

TheFirstOfHerName Sun 14-Dec-14 20:01:26

I think we will be in a similar position with DS2 in a couple of years. His ASD makes it difficult for him to understand what is being asked for. It is particularly a problem in things like RS and English literature.

LIZS Sun 14-Dec-14 20:27:40

He does need to go through his Spanish oral again and get to grips with the vocabulary he is using, not just rely on online translators. It can't be that long and at least it might give him more confidence in what he is trying to say. Also it will help with written or listening papers as topics tend to overlap.

His teachers should be providing an outline structure for him to produce things like reviews and balanced essays with conclusions. A lot of emphasis is put on students managing their own workload though , your involvement is meant to be minimal. However if he is borderline C/D in more than one subject it would be better to achieve C or higher in fewer subjects than D's in several. Has he done proper mocks yet ?

skylark2 Sun 14-Dec-14 21:11:19

"I am completely reliant on dyspraxic ds1 for any information getting through and he will go to any lengths to downplay anything "urgent" or difficult for fear of being criticised. "

Can't you email the teacher, tell them this, and ask for a timetable of controlled assessments just so you can avoid disaster?

DS's school emailed the controlled assessment timetable to the parents. Days and subjects, not anything which means we could help with content, but it does mean we can make sure head in sand the weekend/evening before doesn't happen.

ladygracie Sun 14-Dec-14 21:15:45

At my dd's school the controlled assessments are listed on the school calendar accessible on the website. For English we also got a timetable of what they would be doing & when but it was just a rough guide.

TeenAndTween Sun 14-Dec-14 21:58:46

I'm guessing your DS is still in y10.

My DD1 is y11 and is ?dyspraxic (going through assessments).

I have had to be very organised to steer her through things to ensure she knows properly what she will be doing and when.

There tends not to be a timetable for doing the CAs, as the individual teachers will set them 'when they think the class is ready'.

Since start y7 DD has been strongly trained to write everything in her planner so she remembers to tell me about it. I ask her questions 'what's the exact wording of the question?' 'what date is this due' 'is this a practice or for real' 'how long does this need to be' etc. and if she can't answer then she has to go back and ask the teacher. Luckily we have a very good email system which I have made copious use of.

For DD,
- MFLs CAs make up 60% 2 written at 15% each, and 2 spoken at 15%. Oh, and he really won't get very far using google translate.
- Science coursework experiments 25% per GCSE
- English lang 40%? CA, on language use and creative writing (4 parts)
- English Lit 25% CA
- History 20% coursework
- Drama - all coursework
- Maths - none

If your DS can't be trusted to pass on info accurately, I strongly urge you to bypass by talking with the teachers direct and requesting they email you any CA info. Don't be afraid of making a pain of yourself. These GCSE results will be with your DS for life, and if he can't be organised himself he needs support.

Also make sure you know the exam board for each subject. Then you can find the marking schemes online.

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