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Dyscalculia? GCSE maths level 2 maths mock disaster!

(15 Posts)
whippetwoman Fri 16-Feb-18 12:07:28

I wonder if anyone can help with this problem? We're getting a bit desperate now.

Unfortunately, my eldest is struggling with maths GCSE and it is extremely unlikely that she will achieve the level 4 she needs this summer to progress to (non-mathematical) A-levels. She would like to do Photography and History A-levels. Her best subject is art but she should get level 5s in English, history, RE etc.

Essentially, she's working at a level 2 and has always had huge problems with maths despite being conscientious and putting in the effort. It's got to the point where I am thinking of pursuing a very expensive dyscalculia diagnosis for her in a last-ditch attempt to gain her extra time in her exam, although I don't know if we're in time for this now for the summer exam and might have to wait for a November re-sit.

We've tried a tutor, which made no difference at all and short of this diagnosis and some kind of emergency maths camp over Easter, I am all out of ideas. I am unable to help her with maths as I myself never achieved a pass, but am old enough to have got away with it - same for my mother!

Does anyone have any experience of this? Is there anything we can do? What if she never passes maths? All ideas and input are very welcome. She really is trying but she just can't do it.

OP’s posts: |
DinkyDaisy Fri 16-Feb-18 13:17:10

I am someone who struggled with maths in the O level/ CSE era.
I wish I had someone helping to make positive steps then as feared maths for decades.
Would Functional Skills level 2 maths be an option for her?
I achieved this only a couple of years ago and it is a more practical maths.
It maybe something that college will offer? Maybe worth checking.
I did non maths Alevels and degree but maths always somehow an issue due to my fear and avoidance. Functional maths may be a way of achieving a maths qualification to take her forward.
Good luck.

DinkyDaisy Fri 16-Feb-18 13:18:40

I never had a diagnosis but that might be worth pursuing...

whippetwoman Fri 16-Feb-18 13:47:08

Thank you Daisy, that’s really helpful! I didn’t know about functional maths so I will persue that angle as it would provide some kind of recognised qualification. I struggled for years with maths unfortunately.

OP’s posts: |
jeanne16 Fri 16-Feb-18 15:15:45

I’m afraid extra time is unlikely to help your DD. If she is achieving level 2 in the paper, you will probably find she finished everything she could actually do in about half an hour.

This won’t be ideal but she should be able to progress to 6th form and redo her maths gcse at the same time. I would get her intense coaching in the run up to the exam in the hope this will push her over the hurdle (which is about 18% for a level 4).

noblegiraffe Fri 16-Feb-18 15:57:03

If she has always struggled with maths then it's unlikely that some miracle will happen between now and June, I'm afraid. Extra time won't help as a grade 2 student won't be able to access most of the questions on the Foundation paper as they are too difficult.

If she gets a grade 2 in the summer then she won't have to resit GCSE maths, she could sit Functional maths instead for the compulsory resits, however if she gets a grade 3 she will have to resit GCSE.

Why does she need a 4 in maths to take her A-levels? She should be able to find a college where she can take them alongside her maths resit class.

noblegiraffe Fri 16-Feb-18 15:58:01

(which is about 18% for a level 4).

A grade 2 student won't be sitting higher, they'll be sitting foundation where you probably will need just over 50% for a 4.

whippetwoman Fri 16-Feb-18 15:58:47

Thanks jeanne16, you could be right there. I have a teacher friend so will ask her to recommend a maths tutor and see if some very intense coaching is possible, fingers crossed!

OP’s posts: |
Chox49 Sun 03-Feb-19 15:21:53

My 16 yr old daughter has terrible problems with Maths. For years we were told she was fine and she would ‘get there in the end’, but by the end of Year 9 she was so stressed and frustrated with all things mathematical that it was really beginning to affect her confidence. We felt that some kind of diagnostic testing seemed the best thing to do, just to try to find a way forward for her. There’s always been a huge gap between her English skills (8 in mock exam) and Maths (3 in mocks). However, interestingly, there is no diagnostic test just for dyscalculia; she did a general test of a broad range of Maths and English skills. The test revealed quite specific and very severe areas of weakness and it has helped us to understand what we (and her teachers) can do to support her. She is now able to have extra time in exams and this has made a HUGE difference. It takes her much longer than most students to understand and remember (when she can!) what to do. It was definitely worth the eye watering £350 for the report for the above reasons. It also provides evidence to the Sixth Form she wants to attend that she has a very specific learning difficulty - she’s not just ‘weak’ at Maths!

Moonpie07 Sun 03-Feb-19 15:46:53

DS1 is Y10 and currently achieving grade 1 in maths, 7 in best subjects and 5/6 in others. We've known he had a problem with maths since Y2. Primary school generally useless and its been a constant fight through high school but eventually some help but you have to be VERY persistent. Firstly, don't waste money on a diagnosis yourself as this probably won't actually gain DD any benefit. Ask if school SENCO can test. This got DS on SENCO register and he is now permitted to sit all maths tests including the GCSE on his own not in main room. He is also allowed to stop and leave room to give him breathing space. Extra time in itself would do little for him. There is very little real assistance for dyscalculia in our experience but there are some practical things you can try. Use a blank sheet of paper to cover everything but the one question she is working on, get her to use lots of colours to highlight the numbers. DS1 has had a couple of tutors and current tutor by far the best. Tutor needs to really understand the issue and be prepared to try lots of different methods to find what works. Sorry for length of post! Please ask if there's anything else but my main advice would be persistence with the school SENCO.

happygardening Sun 03-Feb-19 17:35:39

DS1 has severe dyscalculia he passed the foundation GCSE paper with a C. Numbers quantity time volume have no meaning to him what's so ever. He doesn't understand why 2x7 = 14 and 3x7 can't be 56, quantity is totally meaningless to him. He is unable to guesstimate if you asked him approximately how many biscuits were on a plate he would be clueless he just cant guesstimate from just looking at something, ditto a column of figures. He has a high IQ 134 but also terrible processing (bottom 2%) and working memory.
We hired a tutor who just went over and over and over the same type questions until he could do them, it didn't matter why you did them like this he just learnt rote fashion that this is what you do when you see this question he doesn't understand why. He learnt table but has no understanding of why 3x7 can only be 21 if 2x7 = 14 and 4x7 = 28. He also in year 11 had a teacher with ASD he taught one method no questions asked this really helped. He passed we cracked open bottle of champagne and he's never done math again since the end of yr 11.
So there is hope.

happygardening Sun 03-Feb-19 17:38:30

Should also have said his mock was score was less than 10% but on my DH's insistence he moved up to a different math set/different teacher.

ProfYaffle Sun 03-Feb-19 17:40:56

Re the diagnosis, you might find the organisation offering that will do a cheaper screening assessment first to see if the full diagnosis is worth pursuing.

VanCleefArpels Mon 04-Feb-19 07:50:03

Been there OP, you have my sympathy!

The way we got through it was intensive tutoring throughout Y11, twice a week plus extra sessions school put on. Repetition repetition repetition is the way when they can’t “see” what the questions are asking. Familiarity with question format and just remembering what rules to apply for particular styles of question. Also do the Foundation paper if possible. We were lucky and did GCSE in the first year it got “hard” and the pass mark was 14% 🤔😉 so squeaked through....

Surprised you need a pass when doing unrelated A levels though - she would have to retake but surely no barrier to doing her A levels?

Somethingsmellsnice Mon 04-Feb-19 14:12:04

Is she sure that A levels are the correct route for her though as if she is only achieving a level 5 at History will that be high enough for the 6th form to accept her on to an A level History course? It is worth checking.

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