# Talk

## Confused re GCSE result in AQA Chemistry

(18 Posts)
pootlepootle Thu 01-Sep-16 20:05:53

Hello

I am sure I'm being really thick here but my dh understands maths and he can't work it out either so I wondered whether the intelligent people of MN could explain this before i ask school and look like a desperate for success mother. (I probably am one but it's an embarrassing trait).

My dd got a B in Chemistry. She did AQA

The marks per exam were given in percentage but the grade boundaries that I've just found online were in raw score.

Her marks went like this

CH1HP she got 82% which was an A.
Maximum mark = 60.
Grade boundary for an A was 42, A* was 51.
So she missed an A* and was an A. I understand this.

CH2HP she got 78% which was a B.
Max mark = 60
Grade boundary for a B was 32, A was 42
I don't understand why 78% doesn't make her an A on this paper. Can you see why she'd be a B?

CH3HP she got 63% which was a C.
Max mark = 60
Grade boundary for a c was 30, for a B was 34
I don't understand why 63% doesn't make her a B on this paper. Can you explain this?

CH4P she got 83% which was an A
Mark mark = 50%
grade boundary for a A was 40 and for an A* was 44 so this is right then she'd be an A.

I feel like this is so obviously wrong that I must be missing something and surely this would never be wrong. Surely the results would never be just calculated wrong?

So before I make a tit of myself, please explain

Sorry it's long and boring.

lifesalongsong Thu 01-Sep-16 20:12:27

Have you converted the raw marks to UMS and looked at the grade boundaries for the individual papers?

When you say % do you mean UMS?

C is UMS 60 - 69
B is UMS 70 - 79
A is UMS 80 - 89
A* is 90 and above

pootlepootle Thu 01-Sep-16 20:14:05

you see i knew i was being thick. what on earth is UMS?

lifesalongsong Thu 01-Sep-16 20:15:17

And a B overall is UMS 280 - 319 which again is correct if your %ages are actually UMS but very nearly an A (if my quick mental maths is right)

lifesalongsong Thu 01-Sep-16 20:18:17

I don't know exactly but I think it's a way to standarise results from year to year to allow for differences in the difficulty of the papers.

It's not entirely user friendly but once you get the hang of the tables and converters it's not too difficult

Thu 01-Sep-16 20:20:29

UMS is the Uniform Mark Scale, which is basically a standardised score. To quote from the AQA website:

We always aim to make sure exam papers have the same level of difficulty from year to year. But in practice, papers do vary slightly. Setting grade boundaries to allow for this makes sure that students who perform at the same level get the same grade, no matter when they do the exam

pootlepootle Thu 01-Sep-16 20:22:13

OK, no need to answer. dh has muttered on about bell curves enough for me to feel confident that we were indeed being thick and are very happy to have asked MN rather than at school.

thanks life

Thu 01-Sep-16 20:22:47

UMS (uniform mark score I think - been out of teaching a few yeas!) is a number that the raw scores are converted into, so that the grade boundary is always the same,eg 60+ for a C.

The raw score or percentage required for 60 UMS marks will vary each year, to ensure a fair distribution of grades, so some years C/60 UMS might need 48 marks, other years may be 54. Some sort of bell curve is involved...
So the percentages/marks you have aren't UMS, therefore don't relate to the grade boundaries directly

pootlepootle Thu 01-Sep-16 20:23:08

sorry, cross posted Nice. Thanks for your help

Thu 01-Sep-16 20:23:31

Ah, cross post. I see you got an answer.

lifesalongsong Thu 01-Sep-16 20:24:05

It's not about being thick, it's something new to you and as I say not intuative, no need to feel bad. I'm not sure teachers all understand it either.

pootlepootle Thu 01-Sep-16 20:27:02

in my day they just gave you these printed slip things and you didn't know any more than that. grade boundaries and stuff is not something i'm used to at all. her friends keep telling her that they missed a grade by only one mark and we didn't understand how they'd know this so i thought i'd look it up.

The internet is a confusing but useful place!

lifesalongsong Thu 01-Sep-16 20:37:54

If she has missed a grade by only 1 it's well worth thinking about asking for a remark. You have to pay but I think you get the money refunded if your grade goes up

pootlepootle Thu 01-Sep-16 20:54:31

did she though? she'd like to do A level chemistry and it was the only one she got a b for. the school are suggesting this is the wrong a level for her - they've got timetabling problems and i think that's the main problem but even so i wanted to be able to say she's a high b but looking at this i'm not sure she is?

lifesalongsong Thu 01-Sep-16 21:09:12

To get an A you need 320 UMS for the 4 papers added together, your DD has 306, for a B you need 280 so she was nearer A than B but unlikely to get the grade increased on a remark the gap is too big.

PurpleDaisies Thu 01-Sep-16 21:16:54

Just to answer your question about A level chemistry-it is a HUGE jump from GCSE. It's probably the one that most students struggle with the most. Most B grade students will get a C or a D at a level.

whynewnham Thu 01-Sep-16 21:43:34

Chemistry is a tough A level- my very hard- working niece aced her GCSEs but got C at AS level and B at A2 in Chemistry last year under the old "easier" syllabus- her other science A levels were both A*.
The school may have a point if she is aiming for high grades.

pootlepootle Thu 01-Sep-16 22:12:26

That's really useful info, thank you. Its always hard to know whether the advice is right or not. She was predicted an A / a* and it was the only one she dropped down on.

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