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Maths GCSE early?

(39 Posts)
NickNacks Sat 22-Oct-16 12:59:38

I'm posting here even though ds is at middle school but I guess it's the same.

Ds is currently in year 8 and quite able in maths. We've just started looking around upper schools and looking at the GCSE results in particular. We have noticed that some take it early, would that be year 10? What are the pros and cons for doing this and does the school decide or can we enquire? Thanks for any info.

NickNacks Sat 22-Oct-16 13:00:29

I forgot to say that my thinking of doing this would be so he can concentrate and have more time for other subjects. Is that even a reason?

TyrannosauraRegina Sat 22-Oct-16 13:03:40

It used to be popular, because very able students could take AS maths in Year 11. Then those who wanted to do Maths or Further Maths in sixth form had more time to do it, and those who weren't continuing maths have an extra A-level (and boost the UCAS points average for the school, as they would be likely to have 4 or 5 AS-levels and 3 or 4 A-levels).
With the A-level reforms, I would be surprised if schools continue to do this. It is much worse to do GCSE in Year 10 if you're not going to continue with another maths course in Y11, as I expect a lot would be forgotten by the start of sixth form.

Canoo Sat 22-Oct-16 13:13:35

Schools used to do this to bank C grades but league table rules changed and I can't imagine any schools doing this now. It is a bad idea for able mathematicians- why settle for a lower grade in year 10 and then forget everything before trying to start A level?

hellsbells99 Sat 22-Oct-16 13:17:49

My DDs' school did this before all the changes to league table etc. particularly for set 1s. They then did an extra maths qualification in year 11 to help prepare them for A level. I think with the changes to the GCSE syllabus, it probably isn't as necessary anymore.

hellsbells99 Sat 22-Oct-16 13:19:07

You certainly wouldn't want them doing no maths at all in year 11 in case they wanted to take the subject or a related science at A level.

WhatHaveIFound Sat 22-Oct-16 13:23:39

My DC's school puts their top set class in for Maths GCSE in Y10. These are all children who are predicted A*/A so the school has decided that they're suitable candidates.

I don't think they get any more free time to concentrate on other subjects in Y11 (much to DD's disgust) as they're expected to fill the Y11 gap with Maths AS level.

Witchend Sat 22-Oct-16 13:32:46

DD1 is in year 11.
Her school always used to do GSCE maths in year 10 (for top set) then additional maths in year 11.
Because of the new GCSE what the top set is doing is Statistics in year 10, then New GCSE and additional in year 11. The second set is aiming to do the new GCSE and also statistics in year 11.

NickNacks Sat 22-Oct-16 13:35:58

Very helpful thank you. With him being our eldest, it's all new to me and I have no idea whether I the j it's a good idea or not. Much of what you say makes sense and I suspect we'll just leave things as they are.

noblegiraffe Sat 22-Oct-16 14:02:10

Maths GCSE for a whole class a year early is stupid, it really is. Some kids in the class will get an A rather than the A* that they would have got if the exam was taken at the appropriate time. For some (especially girls) this could knock their confidence and make them less likely to take A-level. For others, this could affect top flight uni applications (medicine) where they apparently look at number of A*s at GCSE.

And with the new GCSE it is even more stupid because it will affect the number of students getting a 9 over an 8, as well as those getting an 8 over a 7. An extra year of maths and maturity do make a difference to grades.

And schools who enter early for GCSE and then start AS in Y11 are total and utter idiots.

CauliflowerSqueeze Sat 22-Oct-16 14:06:19

Agree with Noble

user1474361571 Sat 22-Oct-16 14:55:51

Because of the new GCSE what the top set is doing is Statistics in year 10, then New GCSE and additional in year 11. The second set is aiming to do the new GCSE and also statistics in year 11.

Why on earth are they doing this? It is not clear how hard it will be to get a top grade, 9, in the new maths GCSE. Why not concentrate on getting the top two sets the best grades possible in the new maths GCSE rather than wasting time on a Statistics GCSE that isn't valued by anybody? The statistics content is in any case covered in Maths A level for those who take it i.e. taking Stats GCSE makes the Stats content of A level a bit boring at the beginning.

user1474361571 Sat 22-Oct-16 14:57:24

And getting a 9 in maths is almost certainly going to be a selection filter for top STEMM university courses, now that AS levels are disappearing.

Iamnotminterested Tue 25-Oct-16 08:18:47

OP my DD sat GCSE maths this Summer at the end of year 10 with the thinking that the pressure would then be off (If she passed!) In a subject that she hates.

d270r0 Tue 25-Oct-16 08:28:08

As a maths teacher I think its a bad idea... basically if he is able at maths he is possibly going to want to do something in the future involving maths... therefore needs to get as high a mark as possible in his GCSE. Taking it a year early will mean there is not sufficient time to cover everything properly/revise thoroughly so he is likely to get a lower grade than if he took it at the end of year 11.

fatbottomgirl67 Tue 25-Oct-16 08:29:20

My dd did maths in year 10 and then did fmq in year 11. Great if they want to do maths at higher level as it gave her a head start. Would add that if they didn't get an A* in year 10 they were expected to re sit

OddBoots Tue 25-Oct-16 08:42:32

My ds did his maths GCSE in Y11, it wasn't a very high achieving school compared to some I have seen talked about on here but that is based on incoming students (the progress 8 is high).

Because of the cohort they didn't offer additional maths but they did encourage him to self-study the Pearson Edexcel Level 3 algebra award which he found really helpful when doing A Level Maths and Further Maths both in terms of content and developing the skills to study for something independently. The school was the exam centre and paid the exam fee but didn't teach it.

The good thing about the award is that the grades are just pass and fail so if you don't pass it then it doesn't need to go on a UCAS form but if you pass it is worth (a tiny number of) UCAS points.

hellsbells99 Tue 25-Oct-16 08:59:27

Oddboots, my DDs studied that in year 11 but were taught it. They found it a very good foundation for AS level maths. I think the new GCSE will cover a lot more though so will make the transition to AS/A level easier.

MsMermaid Tue 25-Oct-16 09:05:35

They have to do maths in year 11. It is a legal requirement now (although I suspect some schools manage to find a way round it, I don't think it's a good idea). So if they do maths a year early then they will need to do some more maths in year 11, probably the further maths GCSE or additional maths.

With the new GCSEs you will find that there are far fewer schools entering pupils for any GCSEs early. Only the first entry counts for league tables, and the new GCSE contains more material so it would be more difficult to have mastered it all too the highest level by year 10 (of course some pupils will still be able to, they will just be rarer).

user1474361571 Tue 25-Oct-16 09:36:51

I think the new GCSE will cover a lot more though so will make the transition to AS/A level easier.

But the new maths A level contains a lot more material too. Not clear that the transition is actually going to be easier.

Badbadbunny Tue 25-Oct-16 11:39:35

I hope that early entry is coming to an end. My niece and nephew both took their maths GCSEs a year early and are both regretting it. Their respective schools sat the pupils for GCSE as soon as they were forecast to get the C grade, which the schools clearly think is a "good pass", but they've both been knocked back by further education and employers for only having C grades when they're competing against other kids with A and B grades. Far better to have another year of teaching to get that C grade up to A or B, or even A*.

hellsbells99 Tue 25-Oct-16 13:09:28

Badbunny - I thought the ones that took it early just to get a pass then usually retook it the following year to try and get a better grade?
User147 - I hope the transition is easier because the jump between the 'old' GCSE and A level is huge! 1 of DD2's friends got an A* at GCSE and an E at AS level.

MrsGwyn Tue 25-Oct-16 16:28:20

Did this 20 years ago before A star and got a B not an A as did most of the class - so I'm not in favour at all.

However eldest secondary school still does this - I think doing AS level in yr 11. We are not in England any more so possibly won't have as much upheaval and eldest is yr 7 so time for them to change their approach hopefully.

1805 Tue 25-Oct-16 17:36:21

my ds is due to sit GCSE maths in Jan 17 - in year 10. They will only be allowed to take it this early if they are expected to get A*. I think they will also do french early in June/July 17 too. I think it allows the more able pupils to work at a pace that suits them. They def continue with maths lessons after January!

noblegiraffe Tue 25-Oct-16 17:42:20

Is it a private school? IGCSE won't count for the league tables and students will be expected to take the new GCSE.

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