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GCSE predicted grades (9-1) under achievment and spiky profile (maths/science techer input especially welcomed)

(21 Posts)
AlexanderHamilton Wed 05-Apr-17 09:27:42

OK, so I've been following the GCSE predicted grades fiasco with interest. Dd is in year 10. Many of dd's friends from her private junior school went onto a selective school in Year 7. Dd passed the entrance exam and was offered a place but for various reasons including financial chose to go to a non selective school with the idea that she may go back to the other school for A levels.

I have always been led to believe that dd is a bright girl and of A level calibre. She has said for the past few years that she wants to do maths & science at A level but this is looking more and more unlikely and I can't work out whether its because she simply isn't of the right calibre, whether it is down to poor teaching (she complained in Year 8 about the maths & science teaching & there were a lot of staff changes/supply teachers) or whether it is the new GCSE's that mean she isn't confident with the new, more difficult syllabus and hasn't had enough time to prepare.

Her report at Christmas predicted her a Grade 5 for Science (she is doing triple), a Grade 6 for Maths and a Grade 6/7 for English) At Parents Evening last February half term we were verbally told that actually those predictions were made from CATS tests and that she is expected to get a Grade 7/8 for Maths, Grade 8 for English and Grade 6 for Science with the possibility of Grade 7 in Physics. Recent feedback in Science is that she regularly comes top of the year in tests but doesn't put in enough detail.

Ds at the selective school has always struggled a bit academically but from comparing the work he is doing now in maths and science it is of a much higher difficulty than what dd was doing at his age. I've recently had both of their CAT scores sent to me. Both come out with a similar mean (123 for dd and 121 for ds) but ds has a much more even profile.

Dd has a verbal reasoning score of 141 which is exceptionally high & her score for Spacial is 123 & Quantitative is 118 which is above average. However her non verbal score is 108. She has an asd and this huge disparity between verbal and non verbal that could be causing her problems in her academic work.

Her written report has just arrived and in all areas she is meeting or exceeding expectations apparently but her predicted grades do not indicate that she is an A level candidate in maths and science and certainly not at the selective school where the old Grade C was seen as under achieving, Grade B was average and Grade A was the expected level for most, if not A*.

Her predicted grades are:

English Lang Grade 8
English Lit Grade 7
Maths Grade 7
R.S Grade 7
Sciences Grade 6
Music Grade 6
French Grade 6

In order to do A levels she needs 5 Grade 7's and 3 Grade 6's.

Now of course it could be that her teachers don't have a clue about the new Grades and are being cautious in their predictions or as I said before it could be that the class as a whole are just not being taught to the highest levels or have not got enough time to cover the new syllabi. I am wondering whether it is worth getting a tutor for dd over the summer (she already uses CGP books and Khan Academy) But also specifically what strategies can be used to help a child with specific areas of difficult (non verbal) to achieve to her full potential particularly in Science. (She has a Full Scale Weschler IQ of 138)

mumsneedwine Wed 05-Apr-17 10:30:54

I'd say relax. The new grades are a bit of an unknown at the moment and so teachers are generally veering on the side of caution. Also, these are predicted grades so nothing to say that's what she's going to actually get - she could achieve all level 9s !!! It's a shame that a 7 doesn't look 'as good' as an A because that's what it is. I see many many students smash their predicted grades through hard work and asking their teachers for help when needed.

BertrandRussell Wed 05-Apr-17 10:35:57

"In order to do A levels she needs 5 Grade 7's and 3 Grade 6's."

Well, in order to do A levels at that particular school she does. Not at most other schools.

Is she only doing 8 GCSEs?

oldbirdy Wed 05-Apr-17 10:43:44

Her cats were done 3+ years ago on one day. You can't assume they are a perfect representation of her intelligence. In any case her non verbal score is still a good average so wouldn't count as a "specific area of difficulty". It's apparently something she is relatively less good at, but she doesn't have an actual "difficulty".

I can't really understand your concerns tbh. An autistic student predicted the equivalent of As, A* and Bs is doing very very well. You probably need to focus on getting her to increase the detail of her responses in science (a common issue in autism. My ds' is best in class according to his teacher in terms of understanding, but in exams he gets 4s as he leaves all extended answers blank).

mackerelle Wed 05-Apr-17 10:43:51

Science teacher here. For science we are all a little clueless, but not completely. I find it odd that she is predicted a 6 but is top of the year - is the . CAT scores seem high apart from the 108, but to be honest that doesn't mean anything without putting in effort.
A 6 is fine and she could go on to do A Levels in science with that, but it's not particularly strong.
'A' Level calibre doesn't mean much - anyone who is vaguely intelligent and willing to work hard can do A Levels. Does it mean they think A Levels are as far as she'll go?
If those are predicted grades then it won't be because they haven't completed the syllabus as the teachers will have factored that in.
If she's actually top of the year with a predicted 6 I'd get a tutor who really knows what they are doing.

oldbirdy Wed 05-Apr-17 10:51:23

(Whispers) Just to say, effort isn't always the deciding issue in whether or not an autistic student does well in science. (Or any subject). It can be, of course, or it can be to do with intolerance of ambiguity, poor comprehension of what the question is actually asking, giving factual answers without explaining the importance or effect of the fact, etc.

AlexanderHamilton Wed 05-Apr-17 10:59:45

No, she is doing 9 in total (science is triple).

In our area most schools don't have 6th forms. There is a huge 6th form college that is completely non selective half way across the city, her current school offer very limited A levels alongside vocational diplomas or there is another over subscribed state school that is in the next county that does take a few external students. They haven't updated entry requirements but it looks like they have lowered their requirements from Grade A in subjects to be taken at A level down to a Grade B (possibly due to the fact that they now do 3 A levels not 4 since I last looked. The maths dept have updated requirements, you need Grade 7 to do A level maths. However this school does not offer all the subjects dd wants to do.

AlexanderHamilton Wed 05-Apr-17 11:01:16

Old birds, her cats were done last September. I didn't post the cats scores she got in year 7. School don't usually report the results but we got them from the ed psych as part of her asd assessments.

AlexanderHamilton Wed 05-Apr-17 11:05:39

Ds is also very intelligent & autistic but for him I'll be happy if he leaves with Grade C GCSE's due to his particular problems.

Most of her current classmates are thinking of applying to do vocational Btec type post 16 qualifications. Our catchment school closed its 6th form as two years ago not one child opted to stay on.

oldbirdy Wed 05-Apr-17 11:09:02

Ok, but it still stands that they don't show any specific difficulty, just a relative weakness that is still a good average. I suspect it is the impact of her autism upon her communication that is causing the issues you are observing, rather than her cognitive scores themselves (see post above for how autistic students can misinterpret questions).

AlexanderHamilton Wed 05-Apr-17 11:15:11

It was her spiky year 7 cats profile that led to the investigations/ed psych being called in etc (yr 7 was 131 verbal, 105 quant, 118 spatial) but yes I do think some of those things are her issues.

But also in years 7, 8 & 9 they were given old KS3 SatS Papers (levels 3-6) wheras ds at his school has been given Level 5-7 exam papers.

OddBoots Wed 05-Apr-17 11:20:04

Just to pick up on the part about your ds studying harder stuff than your dd did at the same age, this could well be because the curriculum has changed. The GCSE changes have some in before the children sitting them have studied the new material but the younger children are having time to learn that material before they enter the GCSE years. The children in Y11, Y10 and Y9 have been the most let down by the timing and method of change but that would apply whichever school she attended.

AlexanderHamilton Wed 05-Apr-17 11:21:40

Maybe some of this is me thinking what if. She felt she wouldn't fit in at the selective school & had minor issues with several children who were going there so we agreed she could go to a non selective school & she is happy there but has complained in the past (year 8 especially) the work was too easy & what she did in primary.

TheFrendo Wed 05-Apr-17 12:10:39

Recent feedback in Science is that she regularly comes top of the year in tests but doesn't put in enough detail.

If a student who is regulalry top of the year in science tests is not suitable for A levels in science then no one at her school is either. Which is clearly nuts.

Her predicted grades are puff. Ignore them & tell her to do the same.

TeenAndTween Wed 05-Apr-17 12:39:34

My dyspraxic DD had problems adding detail to her science 6 mark questions. She would answer a 6 mark question such as 'What is the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes?' as 'type 1 is caused by X and type 2 by Y' which at most could gain her 2 marks.

We did a lot of work in y11 on saying anything she knew that might be relevant, checking past papers to see what was required etc. She improved massively on those questions.

Go and look at the huge 6th form college. They aren't for everyone, but they can offer much more flexibility in terms of subjects. They can also be a useful half way between school and university. (Check quality of pastoral support and interaction with parents though).

AlexanderHamilton Sat 08-Apr-17 14:36:42

I just wonder if her school isn't used to having particularly academic children.

I was talking to dh about the possibility of getting a tutor for her over the summer & he told me that her English teacher told him she was the brightest student she'd ever taught. I have to say in English she has come on leaps & bounds since year 7 but it seems a bit of an anomaly.

I do think that the mixed ability teaching in Year 7 & 8 didn't stretch her in maths & science. The workbook & assessment sheets were all Foundation Level 4-6 stuff, never the higher Level 5-7 stuff (old NC level based)

roundaboutthetown Sun 09-Apr-17 09:24:13

If her non-verbal IQ is considerably lower than her verbal IQ, do you not think it fairly predictable that she would be doing better in English than science and aspects of the maths curriculum? Why does she want to do science A-levels? Does she have a particular career in mind?

PhilODox Sun 09-Apr-17 09:36:10

She sounds able enough, it just sounds as though she hasn't got a tiptop background/foundation in sciences, which is something you can work on between now and Y11.
You don't need to use a tutor, but you may find that she responds well to a tutor (lots of children do, as it's one-to-one and can be a confidence booster). If you have time, you can do the work yourself though, or if she is a good independent learner, so can she.
I would look to read around the syllabus, so she is testing her understanding and extending her knowledge of the sciences, and also discovering applications of what she's learnt.
Does she definitely want to do sciences? What is her interest for the future? University course etc?

AlexanderHamilton Sun 09-Apr-17 11:51:28

Her interest for the future is dancer of physiotherapist (with eventual specialism in dancer rehab)

noblegiraffe Sun 09-Apr-17 14:02:54

I assume that she will be sitting Y10 exams soon? It might be worth holding out on any decisions re tutoring etc until she has sat them and you can have a proper look at how she gets on particularly in science and where she is losing marks. The school might also be able to tell you how she performed relative to her peers in the various subjects which would give you a better idea of how her spiky profile is manifesting itself.

Predicted grades at the moment will be a bit of a guess, exam performance would give you something a bit more concrete to work with.

AlexanderHamilton Sun 09-Apr-17 16:51:11

Yes noble (your help very much appreciTed by the way if you know what I mean). Year 10 exams are the week after half term.

I am very happy with her current maths teacher & am confident he's doing the best he can in the circumstances. Science I'm not so confident in.

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