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National Curriculum Levels and how they predict GCSE grades

(62 Posts)
Kez100 Sat 17-Oct-09 16:23:57

What national curriculum level do you look for in year 9 to predict a D, C, B or A at GCSE?

What year 9 national curriculum level tend to do higher Maths and English GCSE and which levels do the foundation exam? (Seems so unfair at least we could double enter O and CSE's - they said GCSE would save two exam systems - and look what they've got - two exams where you can't double enter!)

Why is coursework on English started in year 9? Surely someone two years younger than the exam age isn't likely to attain anywhere near what they could in two years time?

itchyandscratchy Sat 17-Oct-09 16:48:36

It doesn't 'predict' at all. The two types of grading are unrelated.

The idea is that a student that is working at a level 5 in Y9, should in theory - and only if they continue to work with the same level of effort -they are potentially capable of C grade or above; it's no guarantee though. English especially is based on skills rather than the accumulation of facts/knowledge.

It depends on the exam board, but with the AQA which is the biggest one, coursework is worth 20% of the final mark (5% for each piece) , 20% if for speaking and listening and 60% is for the exam (30% CW and 70% exam for Eng Literature). I agree that students develop a lot in KS4 and that maturity helps their understanding of literature especially , but if they can pull this off for the exam, they can still do very well.

KembleTwinsMwahahaha Sat 17-Oct-09 17:01:43

Some schools start coursework in Yr 9 for English, but then do more pieces than the students actually need to - then they can choose to submit the best pieces. I think schools often do that to give the Yr 9s a sense of purpose - particularly when they were doing SATs. SATs prep took up a certain amount of the year, and starting GCSE coursework after the SATs exams mean that the students were more likely to focus, rather than just coast for the rest of the year. Not sure how that will work now, though.

As far as KS3 levels are supposed to translate, I would (as a teacher) make a note of the KS3 levels, and would hope that a level 5 would be aiming for at least a C, a level 6 for a B and so on, but that's a very rough guide indeed, particularly given how much students develop during KS4.

As far as exam entries go, a school shouldn't decide on what level to put a student in to until well into the GCSE course, so it ought to be based on the student's performance up til that point, rather than KS3 levels.

roisin Sat 17-Oct-09 17:45:18

We've been told that in theory Ofsted and FFT expect at least 3 levels of progress between KS2 and KS4, and ideally 4. The 4 levels of progress targets are very steep, especially for lower attaining pupils. shock

ie sample progression routes might be:
KS2 3b -> KS3 5c -> KS4 D (=3 levels)
KS2 3b -> KS3 5b -> KS4 C (=4 levels)

KS2 4b -> KS3 6c -> KS4 C (=3 levels)
KS2 4b -> KS3 6b -> KS4 B (=4 levels)

KS2 5c -> KS3 6a -> KS4 B (=3 levels)
KS2 5c -> KS3 7c -> KS4 A (=4 levels)

It's fairly common for students to have a blip in progress at some point, so it may not be a smooth curve.

Higher papers can attain grades of A*-D (or fail if they fall off the bottom)
Foundation papers can attain grades of C-G (or fail).

Schools start doing coursework in yr9 because they can start teaching the coursework skills, the criteria for different grades etc. Often these c/w are re-drafted, or re-done completely before the actual exam. Though increasing numbers of schools are doing early entry GCSE for English Lang in yr10, especially since the demise of KS3 SATs.

But English c/w in its current form is being phased out. It is required for 2010 and 2011 entry, but not thereafter. (ie this year's yr9s will do something rather different.)

Heated Sat 17-Oct-09 17:50:58

A lot of schools have collapsed KS3 into 2 years, and start GCSEs in year 9. Some will sit the exam at the end of year 10 and take early entry AS, or do another GCSE in year 11 or, if it will benefit them, take 3 yrs to complete GCSE. It's all termed personalisation but the cynical side of me says it all about bumping point scores/league table rankings.

Kez100 Sun 18-Oct-09 11:35:53

Thanks everyone.

My daughter is in year 9. As a summer baby, she started school full time a good two terms after some of her peers and has always been 'just that bit' behind. I know many catch up by the end of Primary but she never did, leaving with 3a literacy, 4c Maths and Science.

Anyway, she works hard and is very self-motivated (a big skill for life, I feel) and now - at the start of year 9 - is 5b in literacy, Maths and Science.

She came home the other day saying she had been told she should be able to aim for a C in English at GCSE and she told me she was going to try for a B. Obviously, I was very proud of her attitude but, secretly, inside, knowing the sets she is in I was surprised to hear she had been told that. I wanted to know more but didn't want to question her and give her impression that I was querying her ability in any way.

amicissima Sun 18-Oct-09 21:44:35

From a newspaper cutting I've kept from some time ago (Telegraph, I think):

'According to the Department for Education, Level 5=33 points, Level 4=27 and Level 3=21.
You need the average of the three.

'At GCSE, A* =58 points, A=52, B=46 and so on, with an interval of six marks between each grade. The conversion scale, which is based on the eight best GCSEs pupils achieve nationally, equates average scores at Key Stage 2 with total GCSE points scores as follows: 21=202, 23/24=236, 25=272, 27=311, 29/30=338, 31=368, 33 and above = 404.

'So with an average of 27 points [a DC] could expect six Cs (240 points) and two Ds (68 points) at GCSE - unless [s/]he works harder.'

Phew! HTH.

Kez100 Mon 19-Oct-09 05:01:30

Hi, thanks for that.

Kez100 Mon 19-Oct-09 13:48:58

I've been looking at that again and it seems my daughter would have been on 25 points going into secondary. That gives predicted 8 GCSE score of 272 an average grade 34 (or D). Now, that would make sense to me.

I feel it is important that we now support her in her quest to try and nail the C or better in English, Maths and other subjects key to her future.

Bearing in mind, on paper, she is a D grade student but a hard worker who wants to do better and has three years ahead, any ideas on whether we should have intervention.

Ought, do you think, that I speak to her teacher in the subjects that are key to her to ask when the best time to involve intervention? I'd not like to do it too early, equally leaving it too late might leave us regretting late intervention.

mumblechum Mon 19-Oct-09 13:53:40

TBH I'd definitely get tutors for her by the beginning of yr 10 for the core subjects. She really needs to get at least C grades for the GCSE to have any value.

KembleTwinsMwahahaha Mon 19-Oct-09 13:54:37

I think it sounds like an excellent idea to talk to the teachers if you'd like to. You have realistic expectations of your DD, and a brilliant, supportive attitude. I think your DD's teachers would be very happy to speak to you - phone the school to make appointments so that you can ensure the teachers make enough time for a proper talk - rather than, say, bringing it up on parents evening. Good luck!

Kez100 Mon 19-Oct-09 15:00:26

Yes, Mumblechum, she needs to try her best to get a C grade but if she can't but works hard, then so be it.

I have absolutely no qualms about getting her tutors if that makes her more confident and comfortable with her learning but, equally, can a school not possibly offer 'booster' units (I've made the term up, but I'm sure you know what I mean) at least during year 9. I know the extra work involved, she wouldn't bat an eyelid at. (as opposed to her brother who takes life's path of least resistance).

I certainly think I will arrange a meeting to speak to her English and Maths teachers.

amicissima Mon 19-Oct-09 19:55:58

You could get some of the CGP books from Smiths, or similar and get her to show you the topic she is working on in each subject. Then you could go through the relevant page(s) together to see if there's something she doesn't really understand - get her to explain to you what she's learned, you'll both soon see if she doesn't know what she's talking about!

With maths, she needs to be confident and quick with the basics, which really comes with endless practice (repetition); eg. number bonds: say 3+ 1, 3+2, 3+3, 3+4 -> 9+ ... etc, really quickly, also subtraction, tables, division. She needs to be aware of quantities and size in the world - is 1 metre the size of a finger, a leg, a long walk? how about 100 cm? - that sort of thing. Then at least when she's worked out what's going on in the question she'll be quick and confident with the arithmetic necessary and recognise if her answer is totally ridiculous in terms of decimal place (eg. a swimming pool is filled with 10 mls {two teaspoons} of water, you need 10 kilos {10 big bags} of sugar for 3 cups of coffee etc). Some DCs panic and lose touch with the world they know when faced with 'hard maths'.

I did this with DD and found that some subjects were easier for me to work with than others. With some we worked out what was going on together and I learned quite a bit!

mmrred Mon 19-Oct-09 21:24:10

For a student working at a 5b at the start of year 9, I would unhesitatingly forecast a grade C if not better.

Levels and grades are linked (they are for the same subject, after all - it would be silly if we were teaching different sets of skills) and, roughly if you look at level/skill/grade descriptors, a student performing at level 5 if entered for GCSE this minute would get a grade E. Your daughter has made 5 sub-levels of progress in 2 years - if she continued at that rate over 3 years she'd be looking at a 'B'.

And a rate of progress like that indicates a great student and school, you must be really proud of her.

I would say, though, that the English GCSE is being changed yet again (perhaps because of issues to do with coursework) and there is a level of uneasiness about what the new exam is going to be like. At best, teachers are unsure of the new exam and the pupils directly affected will be those currently in year 9 as they will be the guinea pig year as teachers try and find their feet.

Kez100 Tue 20-Oct-09 21:48:13

Thank you mmrred.

I am indeed proud of her - I'm always proud because of the level of effort she always puts in. I am very pleased to hear that it is paying off for her in your view. If anything, I'm sorry as a parent I don't know more about the levels.

Indeed the school have done well in their support too. They stopped her set in year 8 (the bottom set) from doing an extra language and gave over the extra time to extra literacy. It has really paid off for her as last year she gained three of the sub level gains and from her graded work this half term she appears to be a solid 5b.

I know she was upset this year not move up a set in English but, because of the way they did it, she cannot now jump on the second language because it's too late so she has to stay in the bottom set for year 9. However, she tells me today that her teacher is letting her and a friend working also at 5b to work together to extend their level within the set.

She is fine with the lack of second modern foreign language as she appreciated at the time, English was the most important and she can always do another language at evening class or college later if she wants.

Her French has remained fun as one lad in the bottom english set is french, so they always had plenty of quality extension work and oral work going on in French class.

Kez100 Fri 23-Oct-09 12:38:24

What a lovely teacher my daughter has!

I have had a reply and she has said basically what mmrred says and is delighted with her progress. She mentions some things particular to my daughters English learning this year which, if she takes the opportunity, will help support her to her end of year target of 6C. She has given me details of where in her books to find her target work so we can be sure she is working on those things. I suspect, knowing my daughter she is fully aware of what they are and has it under control.

She has said wait until year 10 if we want to involve a private tutor due to all the things mentioned above.

Not yet heard on Maths which is a similar situation - working at 5b but, in Maths, she never performs in tests to her ability in Maths (got 4a last time when working at 5b) so she needs some support there - well, she has actually asked for that because it annoys her. Hopefully, I will hear from that teacher soon.

Kez100 Wed 14-Jul-10 18:21:19

Well, here we are, end of year 9. Daughter has applied herself with her normal attitude and had a great year. She has scored three level 5a in maths English and science at key stage 3. She is working now on level 6 work in all three but that's in the last half term so, I guess, that is why understandably she hasn't been allocated a 6. She has also scored 6 in her options of history, ict and drama and a 5 in her option choice of French. Very proud of her and delighted with the teaching she has received.

So, now to year 10. Well after she has had a nice long summer break!

ibizagirl Sat 18-Jun-11 12:00:03

hello. am new to this! my daughter is in year 7 at a good high schooland in top set for lessons. on her recent tests she has scored 7b. means nothing to me. but daughter said these marks are good although many got results like these in her class and they have also done gsce maths exams. not sure what she will do in year 8 but the teachers do push them.

Madsometimes Sat 18-Jun-11 13:54:21

This is a very old thread, but AFAIK Kez100 is still around. Her dd must have just finished taking her GCSE's. I hope all worked out well for her smile.

Kez100 Sat 18-Jun-11 22:17:27

Hiya. I'm still here! My daughter is in year 10 and has just finished her history GCSE (the full one they do it in a year) and English (which they have all sat early). She has had modules for sciences 4 in total and one more next week. Thanks for asking! She is working very hard and we are really proud of her. I'll keep this threD updated with her results when they arrive.

Thanks for asking smile

Kez100 Thu 25-Aug-11 22:59:53

I'm back! Results day.

She has just finished year 10, so just a few results.

English language - D but two marks (4ums) off a C. Her controlled assessments haven't yet been taken into account. She is doing AQA new syllabus, so schoolmate reluctant to give controlled assessment grades, however, they are C and B levels on the old system - just as an advisory. I have no idea what happens now - is that enough, or will she resit? Hopefully someone on here will guide me a bit, otherwise we wait to hear from the school.

History. Bit upset with this one at a D but it's how the cookie crumbles, I think. She had a great exam - very proud of her - it's a hard subject to do fully in one year. Her coursework was entered as a B according to her final year 10 school report but on the results she was given Cs and Ds and it dropped her to the 2 percent, 4 ums below the C. That change of coursework grades stripped her of the C.

My poor Godson had French and geography internal assessments dropped from A to D! Different school.

Her Science modules were a bit 'Meh' at Ds making her, currently, secure D on one of the double award and a C/D borderline for the other. She's not great at Science but does work very hard trying - loads of past papers etc, so I can't knock her for effort.

magentadreamer Fri 26-Aug-11 08:59:18

Kez, can you not ask for a remark? Given that she is so close to a C grade. I noticed DD (yr9) was marked down for a CA in one of her exams as well.

Kez100 Fri 26-Aug-11 10:41:59

She spoke to her History teacher yesterday, who said she was on the automatic radar for a remark because of the 2% and because of what he thought her coursework was worth. He thought her exam was good and I agree - better than I had expected (which is what makes it such a disappointment for her really) Hard workers on the C/D borderline need that bit of luck as they are constantly fighting to 'achieve'. I will follow this remark remark up when they return in September. Ensure the process is followed and it's not just empty words.

English, I will talk to the department and ask what the process is now with adding the controlled assessment grades. This department is absolutely excellent and whatever they say I would fully trust. I am hoping that they are good enough grades to just be added and give her the C but I know AQA were quite cagey about saying what grade levels controlled assessments were, and so the school may be reluctant to 'cash everything in' when someone is likely to be in the low-mid grade C when exam and assessments are fully banked. It's just too close if AQA call the grade levels differently.

magentadreamer Fri 26-Aug-11 11:16:20

Fingers crossed the History remark goes your DD's way. I'm assuming her English hasn't been cashed in yet? My DD is a C/D candidate for English and will need luck on her side in two years time no doubt.

Kez100 Fri 26-Aug-11 13:18:28

No, it wasn't cashed in on the results. Her full UMS marks for English will be out of 300. On the exam paper she got 68 UMS out of 120. (72 is Grade c).

The remaining 180 UMS marks come from a variety of controlled assessments. I assume she will need 112/180 62.2% UMS minimum to get a C in that plus make up for the lost UMS on the exam. Only the school can advise us.

Good luck for your daughter. Stick around this long standing thread and we can use it as a support for the C/D borderline candidate. One thing that has helped my daughter is the History GCSE in a year. I know she has just dipped out on a History Grade C and so, to some, it seems pointless, however the work involved was so demanding from a literacy point of view, I do think that has helped her English too. It also taught her how to work hard. It was very intensive.

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