Foundation English Literature v Higher

(23 Posts)
knittingwithnettles Fri 05-Feb-16 17:51:47

Ds needs a B to do A level English Lit; he is keen to do this. However if the teacher only thinks he is capable of answering the Foundation level questions is he going to manage the intellectual challenge of English A Level?

Teacher incredibly patient and kind to ds who has dyspraxia, but I'm wondering whether I should just accept the safe option or push for ds to at least try the Higher. He is doing Higher in Language (same teacher)

Teacher says he can still get a B if his coursework is up to scratch but that's what they said last year in Science (practical rather than coursework) and he ended up with a C in that (on the Foundation paper)

I'm worried there is pressure being put on the teacher (s) to enter students for Foundation with the carrot of a possible B, when it is more likely they finish with a C. Good for school League Tables, safe option but not so good for my son long term.

Ds is not very good at organising his thoughts on paper but he is genuinely interested in English Lit. I feel torn. And tbh a bit let down to be told this at this late stage. Ds doesn't mind, but I fear he isn't going to aim very high on the foundation paper, whereas teaching him HOW to answer the Higher questions might go a long way to helping him move forwards academically.

knittingwithnettles Fri 05-Feb-16 17:53:30

A number of people in his set are being entered for the Higher, and so far the expectation is that he does Higher. Exams in 3 months. He is in Year 11 and 15.

LIZS Fri 05-Feb-16 18:00:09

If he wants to do A level I agree he needs to do higher .

knittingwithnettles Fri 05-Feb-16 18:03:21

Have you taught people who did Foundation only and struggled at A level?

His school say that there are students doing fine at A level despite coming on from Foundation GSCE (B)

LIZS Fri 05-Feb-16 18:46:45

I don't teach. However Ds is doing A level English Lit, the workload is demanding and time consuming. He is only now realising how much he needs to read around to bring into his coursework. He is also dyspraxic btw.

titchy Fri 05-Feb-16 19:01:05

It's not necessarily that you CANT do A level from foundation, but if a kid can't manage the higher paper with confidence now they'll massively struggle at A level - which he'll start in 6 months. A level will be one exam at the end of two years don't forget, so no coursework, no half way AS exam.

Afaik the actual questions are the same whichever tier, but foundation gives hints as to the answer, so not particularly good prep for further study.

knittingwithnettles Fri 05-Feb-16 21:17:01

any more teachers out there? Don't want to be PFB about this but I feel I'm letting him down.

This has now happened in three subjects. Teachers telling me he stands a better chance of a B if he is entered for Foundation.

It doesn't really make sense. Either he has the ability for a B or he doesn't. It feels like smoke and mirrors somehow.

knittingwithnettles Fri 05-Feb-16 21:21:01

And if as you say Titchy anyone who cannot do Higher will struggle massively with A level, why was he even encouraged to think of A levels. This school has a sixth form which only takes B students and above for A levels. His target grades are all Bs except Maths C(which he is also taking at Higher) School offers no alternatives except two Btecs in subjects that don't suit at all.

TeenAndTween Fri 05-Feb-16 22:07:14

My DD was diagnosed with dyspraxia y11, can't organise her thoughts and write enough detail, ended up with Cs for both English GCSEs despite As for coursework.

We have gone down a mixed route for her, BTEC plus Spanish A level.

I suggest you look around at other 6th form options just so you have a Plan B.

I honestly can't see how someone will be able to manage A level in any subject they can't do higher level GCSE papers for.

knittingwithnettles Fri 05-Feb-16 22:22:31

Which BTEC did you choose Tween - I've already been investigating those, but he doesn't seem suited to any of them, except possible Music.

I may just try to get him to retake some of his GSCEs next year, maybe it is a developmental thing, and he needs another year to sort out what he wants to do and how best to do it! Ds certainly isn't getting As in his coursework, possibly one A in language task sad

TeenAndTween Fri 05-Feb-16 22:29:24

She's doing Travel and Tourism. It's been a bit bumpy but it is right for her I think. We really had to hunt to find it though.

There is a BTEC support thread running here with various nuggets of useful info hiding in it.

GasLightShining Fri 05-Feb-16 23:06:23

And if as you say Titchy anyone who cannot do Higher will struggle massively with A level, why was he even encouraged to think of A levels. I expect they are after bums on seats and thus money

Are his target grades realistic? My DS target grades were all C and he ended up with grades ranging from A-E.

And if he doesn't get Bs does this mean the school will not accept him. Might be worth having a plan B just in case.

I am big fan of BTECs and my DS is in his second year of an extended diploma. The likes of Oxford and Cambridge won't accept it as qualification but he is off to university in the Autumn and is on target for top marks.

I also understand the despair of being told things at the last minute. Every parents evening I always asked if targets were realistic so imagine my shock to be told one April that my DD would not be getting an A and would be lucky to pass. My DH still talks about the look on my face.

When my DS took his GCSEs you couldn't get higher than a C if you sat the foundation paper so has this all changed?

TeenAndTween Sat 06-Feb-16 09:56:34

When my DS took his GCSEs you couldn't get higher than a C if you sat the foundation paper so has this all changed?

I don't know about in the past, but if you get a high C on a foundation paper worth 60%, and an A on CAs worth 40%, this could average out overall to a B.
And if there is more than one paper for a subject you can do Higher for one and Foundation for another (e.g. science).

JeanPadget Sat 06-Feb-16 10:44:50

Hello OP. I'm an English teacher, and it isn't possible to get a grade higher than C having taken the Foundation papers, no matter how good the CAs are. You also can't mix and match the H and F papers. AQA Literature, for example, has two papers, and you have to take either H or F in both.

I'm sorry, but I agree with the previous posters who have said that if a child can't manage English Literature H at GCSE they will really struggle with the demands of A level. The A level specs have already changed and are now much more difficult - no modules, closed book exams, pre-20th century lit requirements tightened up.

TeenAndTween Sat 06-Feb-16 11:48:40

Jean really? Gosh. I'm sure that's not the case for edexcel science though, you can definitely mix tiers for that. (Can't you?)
OP and others. Sorry for giving wrong information.

JeanPadget Sat 06-Feb-16 12:15:55

Hi T&T. I don't know about science; that's not my subject. I was certainly under the impression that it wasn't possible to get higher than a C on any foundation paper in any subject. The F questions are definitely easier / more accessible in English as they give you prompts abut what to include and how to structure your answer.

It'll be fun and games in 2017 when the first 'reformed' English GCSEs are taken - untiered paper; 25% of marks for SPaG; pre twentieth century extracts to read and analyse. The pass rate is going to plummet. Still, I'm sure the government will blame us teachers angry

knittingwithnettles Sat 06-Feb-16 18:43:14

Jean I've told what Tween said. That a mixture of High C and High B can equal out as a B, and that you can mix tiers. I will go back and question teacher further. Ds1 has target grades of B across the board (apart from Maths C) I suspect he will get a B in Maths only confused at this rate..

Anyway he seems to be working a bit harder at the moment and spending all his time in school on Twilight and Saturday sessions so that is something.

knittingwithnettles Sat 06-Feb-16 18:44:06

I've been told what Tween said.

Floggingmolly Sat 06-Feb-16 18:51:03

What exactly is the point of the foundation papers being easier if the grades aren't capped and a B (or C) is the exact equivalent of a B or C on the higher paper?

knittingwithnettles Sat 06-Feb-16 19:03:03

Who knows?

clary Sat 06-Feb-16 19:09:20

I'd be amazed if a student who was likely to get a C/maybe a B would cope OK with A level.

In my subject BTW (MFL) you can get a B if you do foundation - if your coursework is really really good (this counts for 60%). I had a student 2 years ago whose final CA pieces were really good, high B/A standard, and he would have done v well in the foundation exams (he was getting 30/35 in practice papers); he got a B smile

Didn't enter him for higher as I fear he might have dropped off the bottom IYSWIM and also the exam is much harder and he would have panicked.

BTW I wouldn't have wanted him to do German A level. His skills and understanding just weren't there.

JeanPadget Sat 06-Feb-16 21:04:59

Hi Knitting. I would check out this assertion about achieving B on Foundation with your son's teacher. It may be a board I'm not familiar with, of course, but I've been teaching a long time and I've always understood that the F tier in English is capped at C. (When I started, many years ago, it was capped at D shock)

Pleased to hear that DS is knuckling down a bit. Reality generally hits boys towards the end of January in Y11.

wannabestressfree Sat 06-Feb-16 21:11:18

Another English teacher and agree that foundation is capped at a C in my school. I would also not be happy teaching a child at a level with less than a B and would expect they had sat the higher.... it's a very heavy course.

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