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AIBU Two bites at the cherry for GCSE -is it unfair?

(24 Posts)
noimkaren Tue 22-Sep-20 09:11:59

I've been told that a local school is doubling up on GCSE mock exams (October & February) in case they need to use Central Assessed Grades for next summer. I'm assuming that the school will choose the best mock result in each subject as the exam grade. How will it work?
Is this happening elsewhere? My DC is year 11 and school is just doing late October/early November mocks as usual. Will they be at a disadvantage because they're only getting one chance? Will
the schools that double up skew the results? AIBU To think that these schools are playing the system and taking advantage?

OP’s posts: |
leafeater Tue 22-Sep-20 09:15:22

The CAG can take into account mocks, other assessments, tests etc, so mocks are only one part of it.

Houseplanted Tue 22-Sep-20 09:15:26

DSs school did that last school year. The mock results were pretty poor so they redid them all in February to give the children another chance, this helped to boost their confidence and give them more practice. It’s sometimes done in ‘normal times’.

Comefromaway Tue 22-Sep-20 09:16:48

Lots of schools have two lots of mocks. Its one of the ways they track progress.

Schools don't just use mocks for CAGs (still reeling from the fact that ds got 4/5 marks all through year 10 in Business Studies, got a 5 in his mock but got one bad report of a 3 just before lockdown (he was ill and run down and we suspect he actually had covid due to a hacking cough and headache/tiredness) and he got given a CAG of 3 for his GCSE.

roseapothecary Tue 22-Sep-20 09:18:52

My school has always done 2 mocks. Used lots of things as evidence for CAGs, mocks only part of that.

Redcrayons Tue 22-Sep-20 09:21:19

Mine were this years gcse cohort. They had mocks in October, December and were halfway through the last set in March when lockdown happened. So just doing one set seems more unusual to me.
They didn’t just use mocks though, as that would have been massively unfair to people like your son who only did them once. They took into account homework and classwork.

noimkaren Tue 22-Sep-20 09:28:25

Thanks for your replies and educating me smile It's a very steep learning curve if you're a first timer/ aren't a teacher, especially now with the very wobbly & shifting goalposts. Feeling a bit more reassured.

OP’s posts: |
ProperlyPdOff Tue 22-Sep-20 10:29:55

My DS managed to get at least 2 CAGs that were lower than his mocks, but no-one else at the school seems to have. I think the school then moderated based on y6 SATs, which is highly unfair if you had no idea your DC's SATs would affect their GCSE grade 5 years later.
Be wary of schools that use FFT if you didn't take your y6 SATs seriously and believed the guff that the tests were to assess the school not the pupils.

madasamarchhare Tue 22-Sep-20 11:12:24

Agreed with above. My dd has 2 CAG grades lower than her mocks. No ground to appeal (which we attempted) even though one of them had been externally marked for her mock. Very frustrating although has not prevented her doing the a levels she wanted. And agreed with pp and yr6 sats. In normal times no these wouldn’t matter however, from now on in parents, students and teachers alike will all be aware that sats, mocks and anything else they do can all be considered. If the students do the best they can do all the time then that is as much as they can do.

EwwSprouts Tue 22-Sep-20 11:56:20

It's not gaming the system. I think it's a sign of a school that has done gcses over three years. DS school does gcses over two years so he did mocks in Jan when hadn't finished the syllabus in some subjects.

Comefromaway Tue 22-Sep-20 12:22:35


My DS managed to get at least 2 CAGs that were lower than his mocks, but no-one else at the school seems to have. I think the school then moderated based on y6 SATs, which is highly unfair if you had no idea your DC's SATs would affect their GCSE grade 5 years later.
Be wary of schools that use FFT if you didn't take your y6 SATs seriously and believed the guff that the tests were to assess the school not the pupils.

My son didn't do SATS. I have no idea why he got a Grade 3 when he was expecting a 5.

ProperlyPdOff Tue 22-Sep-20 12:45:09

Comefromaway: sorry to hear that. The SATs thing was the only reason I could think for the CAGs being lower than mocks and not across the whole school - this made it worse, knowing that the teachers lowered your DC grade but not others who took the same exam, and was a reason for leaving that school when otherwise we had no reason.
You have my sympathy.

noblegiraffe Tue 22-Sep-20 12:46:08

Sometimes schools do thorough end of Y10 exams that obviously didn’t happen this year so the ‘October mock’ is effectively replacing the Y10 exam. This data is useful for figuring out what is needed to be taught in Y11. The kids aren’t going to do better on them than next Feb mocks because they have been out of school so long.

CrypticQueen Tue 22-Sep-20 12:57:25

I think OP is worried that if this year’s year 11s and 13s can’t sit GSCEs and A-levels, how on earth will there be a level playing field if they use CAGs. It was bad enough last academic year. I expect one thing we can count on is the government failing to plan for this eventuality angry

ProperlyPdOff Tue 22-Sep-20 13:02:55

I agree that the OP should be worried about how there will be enough data and reliable data about the current y11 and y13 pupils if teacher assessment is used again.
The problems with last year's y11 and y13 CAGs are clear. There was a prolific poster who was highlighting the fact that schools that use FFT had already moderated their CAGs (downwards) and many other school had not - so pupils at the latter schools got higher marks since there was no moderation by Ofqual in the end.
That problem at least should not happen this year since schools would be daft to self-moderate and disadvantage their own pupils against schools that did not self-moderate last time.
Lessons will have been learnt in some respects.
The government need to make it clear now exactly what data should be collected by teachers from now on and the conditions required for a mock result to be valid (and ensure all schools follow the same exam conditions).

SeasonFinale Wed 23-Sep-20 18:36:17

Sometimes CAGS were lower than mocks because the mocks had not covered the whole syllabus and the harder parts of the syllabus were yet to be taught. Some mock papers were set on the basis of short answer questions only and did not have essay questions in them which the pupil might not have been as strong at. There are a whole host of reasons why a CAG may be lower than a mock. Also mocks were not the only pieces of work to be considered when deciding the CAG.

NonstopNC Wed 23-Sep-20 18:53:08

@SeasonFinale I understand your points, but it is galling to have your DS marks be a grade lower than his mocks when none of his friends have been similarly reduced (so the argument about course content and exam content etc do not apply to our case).
So my DS got a 9 in two subjects in his mocks, his friend got 8. DS got a CAG of 8 but his friend got 9. Same mock exam. If the real exams had gone ahead DS would have got the same or more than his friend, just like in the mocks.
Friend overall did much better in his CAGs than his mocks. DS did overall worse in his CAGs than his mocks.
I really don't think continuous assessment that the pupils had no idea would count towards this GCSE should count, and I really don't think y6 SATs should have any bearing on GCSE predictions or CAGs. But my DS school is an FFT school and FFT rules there. So y6 SATS means my DS currently working at grades 7-9 in year 10-11 was predicted grades 5-6 by the FFT algorithm.

SaltyAndFresh Wed 23-Sep-20 18:58:19

We do two sets of mocks as standard.

Darbs76 Thu 24-Sep-20 12:54:58

Our school has always done 3 mocks. We had done 2 before lockdown and they used both in their consideration of CAGs

SeasonFinale Thu 24-Sep-20 17:29:05

Nonstop - then I assume that once your school ranked their pupils your child ranked lower than his friend when they took into account homework grades, topic tests and so on and perhaps abided by their historic data readings. Your child would not have access to every single mark their friend got. If the difference was between say a 9 and a 7 then yes stance but the difference between a 9 and an 8 is slight.

MadameMinimes Sat 26-Sep-20 07:24:05

We always have three sets of mocks during GCSEs. End of year 10, end of autumn year 11 and spring Year 11. The exam practice is invaluable. We will still have two sets of mocks for our year 11s who have already missed their end of year 10 mocks. No way are we going to drop down to one mock because other schools have decided to do only one. Two rounds of mocks in year 11 is pretty much standard now.
With CAGs remaining a possibility this year I think all schools would be wise to be planning for two mocks.

meditrina Sat 26-Sep-20 07:28:44

Mocks are only part of the evidence, so I think assssments under exam conditions are going to be very useful for that.

Two full-on sets of exams seems a bit much (takes up time, when that's so sorely needed to get through the curriculum at all)

Current years 10 and 12 couid benefit from regular exam condition assessments too, so there's a good evidence base for them just in case.

MarchingFrogs Sat 26-Sep-20 12:28:58

The pupil taking the teacher as meaning, carry on as you are, of course you'll pull it out of the hat on the day if they say something like, Okay, so that piece of work would only get you a grade x in the real thing, but don't worry, there's plenty of scope for improvement, is seriously not a good way to go this year.

DS2's school does end of topic tests and other written assessments as standard, but normally only one formal set of mocks at each level (they still take AS). That may change this year, I suppose, but so far, I haven't heard anything. (He is in year 13, though and that kind of message may be confined to the relevant parent group).

HuaShan Sat 26-Sep-20 18:31:35

DS did 2 sets of mocks for GCSE (Dec and March) and 2 sets for A level (Nov and Feb). I thought 2 sets was usual practice! First set, the whole syllabus hasn't been covered, by Feb/March it mostly has.

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