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Combined science grades

(35 Posts)
Alsoplayspiccolo Mon 09-Sep-19 11:25:55

Can someone please clarify how combined science grades would be presented on a school's results table?

For example, would a 66 be entered twice for each student attaining it, as it is worth 2 GCSE grade 6s?
And would they enter a 65 as a 5 overall?

There still seems to be some confusion as to what the double grades actually mean; I just watched a YouTube video by a science teacher who said that 65 means you have achieved a 6 and a 5, whereas another teacher said it means you have two 5s, but both at the higher end of the grade boundary.

Comefromaway Mon 09-Sep-19 11:48:38

Combned Science is worth 2 GCSE's so you get two grades. 6 5 means you have one grade 6 and 1 grade 5.

Last years grade boundaries for AQA Trilogy Higher Tier show that if you got an overall mark of 143/400 you got 6 6, a mark of 126 would have got you a 6 5 and a mark of 109 would have got 5 5.

Comefromaway Mon 09-Sep-19 11:49:32

Thats 2018 results sorry, not 2019.

Comefromaway Mon 09-Sep-19 11:50:14

And it was Synergy not Trilogy (I obviusly can't read tables properly!)

TeenPlusTwenties Mon 09-Sep-19 12:28:47

If you get a 4-3, have you passed 0 GCSEs or 1 GCSE?

So say you needed 5 passes for a college course and got 5,5,5,5, 4-3, 2,2,2 would you have your 5 passes or not?

clary Mon 09-Sep-19 12:45:41

I thought 4-3 meant you hadn't passed at all, it's equivalent to 2 x 3.5 as it were. Just going off other threads on the issue tho. It's certainly not clear!

Alsoplayspiccolo Mon 09-Sep-19 13:11:41

clary, that's my understanding too.
I can't see how they could award a 4 AND a 3, when the total marks for all papers ( all 6) are combined.

Comefromaway Mon 09-Sep-19 13:12:53

Well technically a Grade 1 is a pass but in terms of college applications if a college needs five passes the 4 3 will count as 1 pass (grade 4 or above). If they require 5 good passes it will not count as a good pass is seen as Grade 5.

TeenPlusTwenties Mon 09-Sep-19 13:18:01

come Remind me, are you speaking from a position of knowledge (eg a teacher in an FE college)? It would be nice to have a definitive answer, though of course I could just ask the relevant college I suppose!

sanityisamyth Mon 09-Sep-19 13:19:56

@Comefromaway a grade 1 is not a pass. It is a grade. A grade 4 is a pass. A grade 5 is a "strong pass"

Combined science is worth two GCSEs so there are two grades. They add up all the marks for the six papers sat and work it out against the grade boundaries. It depends on the marks achieved and the grade boundaries.

They can award a 4-3 if they have reached the marks for that point on the grade scale but not enough for a 4-4.

Technically a 4-3 would be 1 GCSE pass grade. A 4-4 would be 2 GCSE passes.

Comefromaway Mon 09-Sep-19 13:20:01

No, I'm not a teacher. Dh is but he doesn't teach science. I'm just going by the entry requirements of out local college and how they ask for the grades on their online form.

Comefromaway Mon 09-Sep-19 13:21:52

@Comefromaway a grade 1 is not a pass. It is a grade. A grade 4 is a pass. A grade 5 is a "strong pass"

It depends who you are asking.

One of our local colleges asks for 4 GCSE passes at Grade 3 for some of their Level 2 btec courses. It asks for 5 GCSE passes at Grade 4 or above for some of their Level 3 Btec courses and it askes for so many Grade 5 and 6's for their A level courses.

sanityisamyth Mon 09-Sep-19 13:23:47

A grade 1 is NOT a pass.

sanityisamyth Mon 09-Sep-19 13:24:47

Pic didn't attach. A grade 1 is only just above ungraded.

Comefromaway Mon 09-Sep-19 13:31:28

As I say, it depends who you are asking. A 3 is not a standard pass but it isn't a complete fail. There are some kids who will never achieve a Grade 4. Telling them they have failed comepletely well, why would they even bother trying to get a Grade 3 in something if they think they are failures anyway.

Alsoplayspiccolo Mon 09-Sep-19 15:30:44

sanityisamyth, so you're saying that a 43 is a 4 and a 3? I still don't understand how 6 papers over 3 subjects can be divided into two separate grades? And if it can be, why not simply keep every subject separate, so that students are able to say," I got 4 in biology, 4 in physics and 3 in chemistry"?

The idea that you can both pass and fail science at the same time makes no sense to me.

sanityisamyth Mon 09-Sep-19 15:38:42

@Alsoplayspiccolo because combined science is only worth 2 GCSEs. There is extra content to cover to be awarded a GCSE in separate biology, chemistry and physics. They have to do all three subjects but it's only 2 GCSEs so it's the simplest way to do it.

Attached (hopefully) is a screenshot of how AQA worked out their grade boundaries.

If the 6 papers together scored 117 then they've achieved enough marks for a 5-4 but not enough for a 5-5.

sanityisamyth Mon 09-Sep-19 15:44:09

The 4-3 was a quick invention by the government/exam board as so many students missed the 4-4 mark very narrowly. It means that students can include 1 GCSE pass in their college requirements, rather than none when they were only out by a couple of marks.

titchy Mon 09-Sep-19 17:20:03

A grade 1 is NOT a pass

FFS of course it's a pass. It's just at level 1 rather than level 2.

A 43 in double science is the equivalent to two grade 3.5s - but as you don't get grade 3.5 it's recorded as a grade 4 and a grade 3 as that is the same size.

You can't give GCSE grades for individual science because they only study 66% of a GCSE in each subject, unless they do paper 3 for each.

catndogslife Mon 09-Sep-19 17:38:58

See the following blog for information about grades ofqual.blog.gov.uk/2018/03/23/grading-the-new-gcse-science-qualifications/.
It looks as if the grades are based on an average across all the 6 papers but if you are a few marks below the grade for 6-6 rather than giving 5-5 this is shown by 6-5. So technically a student with 4-3 is just below the official pass mark for 4-4. It's possible that for college applications it could be accepted as one level 2 pass, but it's probably down to the individual sixth form.
It wouldn't really matter mathematically if the school entered it as a 6 and a 5 or two 5.5s in their own presentation of the results as mathematically it would be the same.
To cover @titchy's point about grade 1 in more detail. A GCSE qualification is a level 1/2 qualification. So to progress to level 3 (BTEC or future T-levels) you need to have level 2 passes i.e. grade 4+ in at least 5 subjects. For A level subjects higher grades than this would be needed.
If a student obtains GCSE grades 1-3 they would have passed level 1 but would need to repeat level 2 either by retaking GCSEs or taking a level 2 vocational qualification.

nonicknameseemsavailable Tue 10-Sep-19 09:12:20

out of interest then if they do triple science do they get given the grades as biology, chemistry and physics or do they get 3 grades the same for "triple science"?

sanityisamyth Tue 10-Sep-19 09:22:58

@nonicknameseemsavailable they get 3 separate grades they could get a 9 in bio, a 7 in chem and a 4 in physics. It's reliant only on what they get for those subject papers.

Comefromaway Tue 10-Sep-19 10:10:25

Triple science is a sort of nickname for taking single separate sciences as opposed to combined science so the exams for triple are not connected at all (hence its possible to do foundation for one science and higher for the others etc.

My son's school is unusual in that it does not offer combined science at all but allows students to opt for either two or three separate sciences. So he will get a grade in Physics and Chemistry but not biology.

catndogslife Tue 10-Sep-19 11:24:51

It used to be possible to take Triple Science as a "combined" subject with 3 grades for "triple" science i.e. core + additional + further but this has not been possible for some years.
It's now 3 separate GCSEs in Physics, Chemistry and Biology with 2 exams in each subject. the grade for Physics is based on the marks for the 2 Physics papers and so on for the other 2 Sciences so they are totally independent from each other. You can mix tiers for this option i.e. Physics both exams Higher and Biology both exams Foundation but with the Combined science all exams have to be the same tier.
I would say that for a pupil who is 2 or more grades lower in one Science subject at the end of Y10 the "triple" science option would be better as it's easy to see how pupils perform across the different subjects.

nonicknameseemsavailable Wed 11-Sep-19 09:38:29

oh great, I actually think that would be a lot better for my children (assuming they are seen as good enough to do triple science). I did three sciences separately but lots of my friends only chose to do 1 or 2 as you could do that then. I think it is a shame this is no longer offered at schools (with the exception of Comefromaway's son's school)

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