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Maths GCSE grades lower than English?

(47 Posts)
TheSecondOfHerName Thu 05-Oct-17 11:11:59

In the results from one school shown here, the GCSE Maths grades are lower than the grades in English Language and English Literature. Is this due to a difference between subjects in the way the grade boundaries were set nationally?

Kazzyhoward Thu 05-Oct-17 11:19:12

Absolute opposite at my DS's school - their Maths grades were far better than both English Lang and Lit. It just depends on the school, teaching quality, whether they have a good HOD etc.

TheSecondOfHerName Thu 05-Oct-17 11:25:42

That's interesting. I didn't realise there could be so much discrepancy between subjects.

JoJoSM2 Thu 05-Oct-17 11:48:17

I think 2 grade difference is easily possible between a class taught by a great teacher and another with a chain of supply teachers or a really weak teacher.

noblegiraffe Thu 05-Oct-17 15:30:47

Are those numbers numbers of kids getting each grade? 54 9s in English Lit? shock is it a grammar?

The results look amazing but could be explained by intake. However it does represent either comparatively awesome English teaching or comparatively weak maths teaching because nationally a much lower percentage of students were meant to be awarded the top grades in English than maths. The 7+ rate for English was supposed to be 16% and for maths it was supposed to be 20% of entries.

TheSecondOfHerName Thu 05-Oct-17 15:39:53

The school is partially selective (25% of places are allocated on academic aptitude, the rest is mixed ability).

The possibility of comparatively weak maths teaching is what I'm concerned about, especially in the light of the information from noblegiraffe that the national picture was the reverse of this.

titchy Thu 05-Oct-17 15:53:31

The national picture was a lot worse....

Even if you remove the top 25% of those grades, their results are phenomenal for a mixed ability intake.

Unless mixed ability actually = leafy middle class, tutored to hell and back? Or they're lying...

TheSecondOfHerName Thu 05-Oct-17 15:58:45

The 75% not selected on academic aptitude includes the younger siblings of those who were, which affects the distribution of ability.

Clavinova Thu 05-Oct-17 16:14:56

Single sex girls' school? A leafy girls' school relatively near to me (not the op's school) is showing 10% more A*-A in English Literature than Maths in 2016.

TheSecondOfHerName Thu 05-Oct-17 16:21:26

Clavinova it is a girls' school, but surely that can't be the reason for lower grades in Maths than English? The school is quite pro- STEM subjects and plenty of pupils take Maths A-level.

Clavinova Thu 05-Oct-17 16:37:35

I think I have guessed the school op. The blurb from the English Department is highly impressive for a state school and GCSEs are not that difficult.

Clavinova Thu 05-Oct-17 16:42:18

Posted too soon - in fact the blurb from the English Dept. would be highly impressive for a private school.

DumbledoresApprentice Thu 05-Oct-17 16:44:33

Some of the difference may lie in the fact that Maths is tiered. My school was overly cautious in entering for higher tier maths this year as the maths department was very nervous about where the grade boundaries might be on the new specs. The English results massively exceeded what we were expecting and the same was true for many of the higher tier maths results. The Maths results were quite a bit lower because fewer candidates had the opportunity to achieve the top grades.

Kazzyhoward Thu 05-Oct-17 16:46:56

Clavinova it is a girls' school, but surely that can't be the reason for lower grades in Maths than English?

Yes, that can be the reason. We have single sex grammar schools. The girls' school massively outperforms in English whereas the boys' outperforms in Maths. The exceptional versus average grades are reversed between the schools. Same happens with sciences - boys far better than girls, yet the "wordy" subjects like history, RE and geography, the girls outperform the boys.

TheSecondOfHerName Thu 05-Oct-17 16:57:05

DumbledoresApprentice if the school over-cautiously entered too many pupils for the foundation tier, wouldn't there be a bulge of grade 5s?

noblegiraffe Thu 05-Oct-17 16:57:11

National statistics for girls only:

English grades 9-7%. 3.3. 6.2. 10.2
English lit grades 9-7%. 4.5. 8.0. 11.8
Maths grades 9-7%. 2.9. 6.3. 9.3

So you would expect fewer 9s in maths, but not that many fewer. However the picture isn't as bad as first looks from the raw figures.

TheSecondOfHerName Thu 05-Oct-17 17:08:40

Kazzyhoward the discrepancy you describe between the boys' school and the girls' school would explain it.

The feminist in me doesn't want to think that girls are less able than boys at Maths. The parent in me hopes the Maths teaching is as strong as the English teaching.

TheSecondOfHerName Thu 05-Oct-17 17:10:11

noblegiraffe thank you for finding the figures for girls' GCSE grades.

noblegiraffe Thu 05-Oct-17 17:13:41

Girls aren't really less able than boys at maths, the 9-4 or A*-C pass rates are usually almost the same, although boys do get more of the very top grade.

The problem nationally is that the figures are dragged down by boys' abysmal performance in English. 56.5% boys got 9-4 this year compared to 73.7% of girls.

TheSecondOfHerName Thu 05-Oct-17 17:23:24

The problem nationally is that the figures are dragged down by boys' abysmal performance in English. I hadn't thought of it that way round.

TheSecondOfHerName Thu 05-Oct-17 17:29:23

For 50% of these girls, English is not their first language and is not the language spoken at home, so they have done v.well.

MumTryingHerBest Thu 05-Oct-17 17:57:28

TheSecondOfHerName I was told that one particular English teacher was extremely good and certainly well liked by the DCs. They were very supportive and very thorough in making sure DCs understood where improvements etc. could be made in their work. Unfortunately they have now left the school.

I was also told by a couple of parents that the maths teaching is not great at that school and a lot of DCs are using maths tutors to supplement. I'm not sure if that is true or if it is being used as an excuse to use tutors.

I suggest you speak to as many parents you know with DCs in the school (across a few year groups if possible) as there seem to be a lot of different opinions being aired at the moment which I think is down to recent changes.

From what I understand the linked school does a three year GCSE course whereas this one does a two year GCSE course (happy to stand corrected as I may be out of date on this).

25% of places are allocated on academic aptitude, the rest is mixed ability

The ability range on intake for this year group is approx. 2/3 high ability and 1/3 medium ability (with a few low ability)

LocalEditorMerton Thu 05-Oct-17 18:02:15

Is this Graveney by any chance?

LocalEditorMerton Thu 05-Oct-17 18:03:25

Sorry posted before I'd read all the posts - obviously not as a girls' school blush.

Haskell Thu 05-Oct-17 18:15:02

High-performance girls' school here... they perform way better in English than maths, sorry.
They arrive with higher KS2 in reading than maths too.

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