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Compute Science GCSE mess up

(94 Posts)
fairyqueen Mon 27-Nov-17 18:18:22

Any computer science teachers out there got any words of wisdom for DD who has spent all term working on her controlled assessment? Just doesn’t seem fair to scrap it at this stage. Not fair to carry on either of course.

pestov Mon 27-Nov-17 19:20:53

We have as little idea as you do at this stage - and are just as horrified!

If she's finished already then nothing to be done - focus on mocks and doing the best she can.

If (like my students) she's part way through, keep calm and carry on! This is just a consultation so she needs to treat it just like she did yesterday and try her best without being tempted to see what all the fuss is about online.

Hopefully enough of a stink will be kicked up in the media in the coming days that they shorten the consultation and put us all out of our misery.

Hulababy Mon 27-Nov-17 19:32:26

Another one who is horrified by this. Saw it on the BBC news page earlier. Not told DD yet and school didn't say anything today - will see what happens and hopefully we won't be left dragging on not knowing.

DD has just about come to the end of her controlled assessment, working hard and - based on parents evening last week - has been doing very well with it too. Coding is the part she is really interested in and where she generally excels best too.

Seems so dreadfully unfair for her to have done all that work and for it to not count. 20% of the mark - which is sounds like she had done really well in too - wiped away, for nothing.

How on earth can it be even fairly fair or moral right to do this to kids who are due to complete their qualification in just a few moons time, who have spent a lot of time, working hard to do really well in it?

If they make such a massive change to the make up of a qualification - which this is - how can that ever be right?? Many kids will have chosen this subject partly because of the practical side. The practical coding aspect was a key part for DD. And now what?

All of a sudden the 20 hours she has worked on count for nothing, and the part she really enjoys most and really excels in is scrapped. And they now change the two written exams to be worth 50% each.

I fell so cross about it. Unfair and immoral to all these poor teens.

user1469682920 Mon 27-Nov-17 19:56:25

This is frustrating for those who have done a lot of work already but the most annoying thing is the length of the consultation. Surely a decision needs to be made as soon as possible. Its ridiculous to say continue working on something when you don't know whether it will 'count' or not

Hulababy Mon 27-Nov-17 21:22:10

Sadly Dd has already finished hers - or will this week. So 20 teaching hours spent on something that now won't count.

noblegiraffe Mon 27-Nov-17 21:31:00

I guess if the decision is to scrap it, then you'll just have to tell them that at least they'll now be competing for their CS grades on an even playing field based on their knowledge, and not on exactly what proportion of the entrants got their coursework solution from the internet.

It looks like the proposal is that the coursework will still be required, just not graded. Likethey have to do practicals in science and be signed off as having done them, they don't count towards the final grade so anyone not yet finished will still have to put the time in.

And just emphasise how much they will have learned from doing the project properly that will help them in the exam.

user1469682920 Mon 27-Nov-17 21:44:06

That’s the only consolation. My DS has spent a lot of time preparing for and doing his but I supppse it’s been useful coding practise and he has learnt from it.

Hulababy Mon 27-Nov-17 22:08:39

But it's just not on. Children like Dd are going to be disadvantaged. There's no way that isn't going to be the case - as a result of the exam boards failing to provide a system that prevent online cheating kid who have worked hard will be penalised. They've spend shed loads of time on this work, working hard and not accessing online information. 20 hour spent on one piece of work that will no longer count and they'll find out in the last few month before the qualification is finished. It's just not fair.

The other two exams do not assess the practical side of coding in the same way at all. They are paper based bd not beed in actual coding, on a computer, solving given problems. One exam has no coding in at all, the other still not practical.

The whole point of doing computer science for many kids is there is a proper practical element to it which counts. And for many of these students that's where they will do best, picking up most of their higher marks, rather than the theory side of the subject. So no, it won't put these kids on an equal footing. Some children will have chosen this particular subject precisely because they are very good at the coding aspect.

Hulababy Mon 27-Nov-17 22:12:10

And surely this is something they should have been able to predict - some people might try and access information online. So thy should have been doing more to prevent this and flagging it up way before now. Surely?!

It's so frustrating and so unfair. What a debt to confidence for a bunch of teenagers due to sit their exams in a few months time.

TheDonald Mon 27-Nov-17 23:21:28

What a farce!

Dd is only about 8 hours into hers. In a way I wish she'd finished already. It's going to be very difficult to motivate them to keep at it for another three weeks when it's pointless. I imagine they'll have to go through the motions when they all know the time could have been better spent covering exam material.

What if they then decide to let it stand after all?

Just when i thought this year's students couldn't have any more shit thrown at them sad

noblegiraffe Mon 27-Nov-17 23:24:06

It's shit and frustrating, but it looks like potentially thousands of students could have cheated if you look at the page views the online solutions received.

It's awful that kids will have worked hard on something that will now (most likely) go unrecognised, but it would also be awful going into the exam knowing that the grade boundaries would be pushed much higher because of the huge number of cheats - or potentially that examining malpractice accusations would mean that results were delayed or grades not able to be set.

There are no good options moving forward.

But yes, the exam board (especially computer science examiners) could have anticipated this. It looks like they did attempt to get solutions removed from the internet from early September onwards, but not always successfully because it's the internet.

TheSecondOfHerName Mon 27-Nov-17 23:24:22

Signing in as DS2 is part of the way through his 20 hour NEA.

TheSecondOfHerName Mon 27-Nov-17 23:26:13

Consultation closes 22 December. Details here:

user1469682920 Tue 28-Nov-17 07:31:00

Why does it have to be so long - surely can consult in a week or so. No solution is great so in some ways it would be better for them just to decide now then at least there would be no more time wasted

noblegiraffe Tue 28-Nov-17 07:48:07

3 weeks then results in January is a pretty tight consultation in education. If you read the consultation, it's pretty much a done deal anyway ('preferred option') so I wouldn't expect the outcome to be anything other than they've already set out.

They did something similar a few years ago when they cancelled the speaking and listening assessments for English GCSE. You can read the response to that consultation here:

fairyqueen Tue 28-Nov-17 07:53:29

DD is off to see her much-loved CS teacher before school. She’s hoping for enlightenment but I doubt he will have much to offer. Must be upsetting for the teachers too, having the goalposts moved so late in the day. She’s planning on doing A level CS so the knowledge and experience won’t be wasted (not that any knowledge is ever a waste) but it’s just so so rubbish for the kids who worked hard and wouldn’t dream of cheating.

LooseAtTheSeams Tue 28-Nov-17 07:55:07

It's pretty awful. DS is due to complete his today and unfortunately did hear about the problem yesterday. It's his best part of computing and he's very good at it.
I think the outcome should probably be to put a pass, merit or distinction grade next to the result for the exams as happens for speaking and listening but the exams for this year have already been written and there won't be much programming in them. Considering this was supposed to be a qualification to encourage more people to be able to code it's a complete farce.

Hulababy Tue 28-Nov-17 08:27:10

Yes, total farce. And a huge disadvantage to many children who have done this work properly.

Could be very damaging to the renewed efforts to bring Computer Science back what with these issues in it first year of the new GCSEs.

Dd also wants to do this at A level but it makes you think - what happens if the same happens again especially when the practical component is agin a substantial amount.

Probably lots of same people accessing the information over and over too - they'd need to keep accessing it to be able to retain the information, bit by bit, to memorise it for the lesson. Unless whole centres were allowing access in class - but afaik that's not allowed so a much bigger issue.

TheSecondOfHerName Tue 28-Nov-17 08:50:28

I told DS2 about the consultation, as I'd rather he heard about it from me than from pupils discussing it at school.

He felt that online discussion of the task would have a limited impact anyway. Firstly because they can't take anything in with you, so they'd have to memorise anything they read online. Secondly, they're marked on their write-up of their process of how they developed the solution.

TheDonald Tue 28-Nov-17 09:04:06

I told dd about it this morning. She was actually quite pleased!

She said a boy in the other class who has finished the assessment has been selling answers for £5!

She actually chose which task to do deliberately to avoid the one he did because she thinks all the answers will be too similar.

And she thinks it might do her a favour because all the cheating would raise everyone else's mark and now she might be more likely to get a 9.

She also said it's not the worst thing to happen to her year group and there's probably more to come!

fairyqueen Tue 28-Nov-17 09:09:15

TheDonald you have a very wise daughter! She will go far. My DD said the answers were effectively online before the tasks were released, you just had to figure out how to piece it together.

NotSureThisIsWhatIWant Tue 28-Nov-17 09:10:03

Does anybody has a link to the news? DS is just starting but if it is not worth it...

BlueBelle123 Tue 28-Nov-17 09:13:11

DS is due to finish his coursework in January, great timing just when the decision will be made.....its going to be very hard to motivate him to complete it, with maximum effort!

Personally, I don't think it can stand no one should be allowed to cheat and get away with it, if they do where's the deterrent?

Hulababy Tue 28-Nov-17 09:45:18

I'd be interested to know which tasks were easily online. From what I can gather most of our local schools have done a different task to the one DD has been doing.

Notsure - based on the consultation he will still have to do the task. It will still be a compulsory component - but no longer count for anything regards the final grade.

As the coding side of the course is the area DD really was excelling in, rather than the written theory it is more likely to have a negative impact for DD. She does fine in the written side, but the 20% coding side is where she was really flying.

LooseAtTheSeams Tue 28-Nov-17 09:54:15

Hulababy DS is exactly the same. He'll do fine anyway but was counting on programming to do really well.

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