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Doing maths GCSE a year early

(52 Posts)
Marmitelover55 Sat 28-Nov-15 21:31:31

DD2 is in year 7 and we've just had parents evening. She is in the top set and her maths teacher told me that they will complete the year 7/8 syllabus this year and then start the GCSE syllabus in year 8. They will study this for 3 years and sit the GCSE at the end of year 10. In year 11 they will then study additional maths/further maths (sorry can't remember which) and sit that exam at the end if year 11. I understood that it's not advisable to sit GCSEs early so should I be worried about this? She is at a good comp if that makes any difference.

LBOCS2 Sat 28-Nov-15 21:35:28

I went to a good comp and took my maths GCSE a year early, as did the whole of the top set. No one got less than a B, everyone took statistics and the first module of A level maths in y11. It was fine, and lots of people went on to study it at A levelZ

noblegiraffe Sat 28-Nov-15 21:39:17

It's not advisable to sit GCSE maths early unless you are going to get an A*, although doing further maths in Y11 will make this less of an issue.

However, the landscape will look a lot different in a few years time, the new GCSE is much harder so the school may stop offering further maths GCSE and spend the extra time on GCSE. AQA may even stop offering the further maths GCSE. No point in worrying yet.

Marmitelover55 Sat 28-Nov-15 22:10:23

Thank you. Yes the teacher did mention something about they will all get A* although my DD does not like maths, so I'm really not sure she will. I guess I will have to wait and see as it is early days.

Mrsj70 Sat 28-Nov-15 22:14:04

There will be no A* at the point your DD sits her GCSE whether a year early or not. From summer 2017 Enlish and Maths GCSE's will be marked 1 - 9 rather than A* - U

Mrsj70 Sat 28-Nov-15 22:14:52

English not Enlish! Good job I'm not taking mine again!

Millymollymama Sat 28-Nov-15 22:57:20

I would be very concerned that the school did not know what it was talking about! Everyone knows the new syllabus includes a few topics that were A level previously. Lots of children will need Y11 to get level 9.

noblegiraffe Sat 28-Nov-15 23:01:57

Those decisions haven't been made yet, Milly. It's basically suck it and see with the new GCSE. My school will attempt further maths GCSE alongside new GCSE for top set with current Y10 (we enter for both in Y11) and see how it goes.

However I would be concerned that the OP's school may be entering Y10 early for the old GCSE this year. They need to be aware that it won't count in the league tables and that they will have to sit the new GCSE in Y11 too.

GinandJag Sun 29-Nov-15 07:13:55

Doing maths early is a bad idea.

TinkerBellThree Sun 29-Nov-15 07:27:31

Why do you say that Gina!? Just interested to hear your argument.

ShanghaiDiva Sun 29-Nov-15 07:27:08

Ds sat maths early and got an A* and will take AS maths in year 11. We are overseas so league tables are irrelevant. He didn't study the igcse for three years though, was just moved up one year for maths.
Gin and jag - why is it a bad idea?

mygrandchildrenrock Sun 29-Nov-15 08:48:04

At my DS last school, students took Maths a year early in Y10 mainly to make sure they got grade C. If they were C/D borderline they could take it again in Y11. My DS got an A in Y10 and self taught himself and got an A* in Y11. They did statistics in Y11.
I thought with re-sits going, or not counting, most schools would no longer do early entry. I really don't see the point of it.

ggirl Sun 29-Nov-15 09:05:47

dd did maths a yr early ,
did maths As yr early as well ,whole top set did

it wasn't a problem

Marmitelover55 Sun 29-Nov-15 09:06:01

I think the point is so that they can do additional/further maths in year 11. At the private school where I work thr top set sit maths and further/additional maths at the same time in year 11 - I wonder if this is a better way?

mygrandchildrenrock Sun 29-Nov-15 09:46:56

It really does depend on the school, as I said DS's school did no further maths but a intermediate level statistics. Not a private school though.

noblegiraffe Sun 29-Nov-15 09:48:46

The DfE produced a document of evidence showing that early entry is a problem. Students who enter early do worse on average even if they resit. A lot who enter early don't get to resit and improve their grade so end up with a worse grade than if they sat the GCSE at the end of Y11. The DfE didn't decide to not allow resits in league tables on a whim, they did it because it was bad for students and to discourage early entry.

Sitting maths in Y10 and stats in Y11 was a bloody stupid idea for progression to A-level. Sitting AS level in Y11 is a bad idea - results are worse and it messes up things for students who want to go to a different sixth form.

Sitting maths at the end of Y10 will inevitably mean that some students do worse than if they had had the extra year. Doing further maths in Y11 will alleviate the effects of this on progression to A-level but students will still be stuck with an A when they could have got an A*. Sitting both in Y11 maximises possible grades in both.

SheGotAllDaMoves Sun 29-Nov-15 10:40:11

The only reason to do any GCSEs early is that it is absolutely in that particular child's individual best intetests.

Macro decisions are rarely for the benefit of students.

Temporaryusername8 Sun 29-Nov-15 11:09:19

top set sit maths and further/additional maths at the same time in year 11 - I wonder if this is a better way?

Marmite one of my DCs' schools (superselective) do that for their top sets and it seems to work very well. It seems to keep the GCSE stuff fresh which appears to help when starting the A levels.

ProfGrammaticus Sun 29-Nov-15 11:14:08

DS1 did maths and further maths GCSEs in year 11. It has been useful when starting sixth form as one of the modules has largely been covered so it has given them a head start. It also stopped him being bored shitless in year 11 as frankly maths GCSE is no challenge for the more able kids.

QOD Sun 29-Nov-15 11:15:28

Dd grammar did that. A year early so if they got D or C they could re take in Yr 11.
og course it then changed that schools could.only use first results in league tables so they stopped it in future yrs.
Dd was pissed off as she got an A and originally would have stopped maths lessons then, but then the government said they had to be taught maths throughout Yr 11 too.
so those that got D and below retook gcse. Those that got C and low B took statistics and dd had to do Further Maths.
She got a B and is now doing A level.maths

So actually it made doing A level maths easier and more attractive to her as a lot of the AS work is covered in further maths

Me? I failed maths O level 3 times grin

yeOldeTrout Sun 29-Nov-15 11:27:10

Macro decisions are rarely for the benefit of students.

That's what Home-Edders say about the entire state education system.

mudandmayhem01 Sun 29-Nov-15 11:29:16

A good reason not to is on the admissions page for Sheffield university for medicine. They want 6 As at GCSE all taken in Y11. I went to a conference there once and they gave strong warnings against early entry even several years ago.

yeOldeTrout Sun 29-Nov-15 11:59:10

So there are what... 200 places on that medicine course? Should schools & students make decisions based on 200 places out of 490,000 FT University 1st yr places available in 2016? On that theory, everyone should triple science for GCSE & chemistry-bio-math for A-levels. No other choices allowed (?)

Besides, do Sheffield (medicine only) not take equivalents? So FMSQ might be considered a GCSE for that admission req purposes?

Seems likely the student in top sets taking FMSQ might actually take at least 6 other GCSEs to be completed in yr11, anyway, even if stats GCSE or FMSQ doesn't count.

MrsUltra Sun 29-Nov-15 11:59:52

Agree is not good to take early. The key reason some schools do it is not for the benefit of the DC actually taking the exam, but to give the teachers more time to focus on the D/C borderline kids in Y11 without having to worry about the 'secure C and above' kids. (Schools' stats will depend on dragging those DC across the line to a C).
But universities are looking for DC who can achieve well when taking several disparate subjects a the same time, (and not the hot-housed kid who did no others that year and got his GCSE aged 10...)
At my DC high achieving school, all GCSEs are taken in Y11, by which time they have gone way beyond the GCSE syllabus anyway, and most of the DC also take at one modules of the AS maths at the same time and score highly. We didn't actually even know DS1 had taken AS until he mentioned it on results day grin

PiqueABoo Sun 29-Nov-15 12:28:22

Lots of children will need Y11 to get level 9.

But can lots get it? I haven't kept up with it but a year ago the ambiguous story was that a top grade 9 would be awarded to the top 3% i.e. it's effectively norm-referenced.

The DfE produced a document of evidence showing that early entry is a problem

That does look convincing in a general sense, but I'm not convinced by it for A* territory. I couldn't get a sense of how many of them actually suffered because of early entry. A decimal place would have helped with that 5% v 6% comparison and so would some official info on error bars etc.

Pragmatically it's not about when exams are taken, it's about how thinly a given school stretch a curriculum with a GCSE-stuff ceiling across KS3/4. If my Y8 DD is competent at GCSE-stuff X, then I'd like her to learn new trick Y in lessons rather than redundantly revisit X which is likely to encourage too much perfectionism and damage enthusiasm etc.

In DD's case the top set is perhaps (national) top 20% ability in a bit-above-middling intake comp. It's never fast enough for me/her, but Y7 did proceed at a reasonable enough pace and at the end of the year their teacher claimed they'd polished off the majority of the KS3 curriculum. In Y8 to date, one of the weekly maths lessons has been dedicated to um.. 'fun maths' and in the others a different teacher has called some of it 'level 9-10 work'.

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