Dyspraxia. Depressing impact on son's GCSE grade of SPAG in science.(7 Posts)
He's dyspraxic. Predicted A he got a B. Its ok as he is still able to do A level. He was mid to low grade B so I didn't get it remarked as I didn't want to risk the grade going down. All papers were fairly similar.
He hand wrote the papers on advice of the school. Which I agreed with due to needing to make drawings etc. Now wish now he'd typed.
I got photocopies of the two of the papers so I could assess the impact of his handwriting. (I'm a science teacher).
Very depressing indeed. In the six mark question (the one that assesses good use of English) he got 2 marks /level 1. According to the mark scheme
"Level 1: basic
Knowledge of basic information
The answer is poorly organised, with almost no specialist terms and
their use demonstrating a general lack of understanding of their meaning, little or no detail
The spelling, punctuation and grammar are very weak."
His writing was actually its pretty legible although poor/scrawly/varying in size. He wrote 18 lines, included 10 specialist science terms/words all spelt correctly. He spelt movement (movment), oxygen (oxeygen), digestion (digestin) incorrectly. All the 'science' is correct.
It seems very harsh indeed. I think the marker took one look at his handwriting and gave a 2.
Please all use a lap top in the GCSEs!
there are some exams for which it is very difficult to use a laptop , such as science. ds handwrote his and got A* so suspect your ds was a bit unlucky and it is a shame you didn't have a remark. fwiw I'm pretty sure ds was marked down in English language for using a laptop, by not getting full SPAG credit, and missed an A* by a whisker so not always of benefit.
An alternative I have used with a pupil with poor handwriting is to transcribe the paper after the exam (he wasn't allowed a laptop as it was not his normal way of working as the exam board required). That way the original paper written by the student (including diagrams etc) and the transcribed (more legible) paper goes to the marker.
Thanks for this very sobering post. DS Yr 10 is going to be in a very similar position. It's worrying that the markers might be swayed by poor handwriting or use of laptop. DS has dyslexia, terrible handwriting and spelling and things are not much better on the laptop. We know that the spelling marks from SPaG are a lost cause but I was hoping that if he worded things correctly, he might get the punctuation and grammar marks, thus only losing one mark. Sounds like this might not be the case then! When he speaks his science, it sounds like he is reading from the textbook. Unfortunately, he won't qualify for a scribe. He is currently predicted an A for science but it sounds like he's going to be up against it - no matter how good his scientific knowledge!
Don't be discouraged. Four years ago, the year when the English GCSE marks went South, my dyslexic and dyspraxic DD and her dyslexic friend both came out of school in tears having been given a B in Eng Lit though predicted an A*. Though the increase in the marks for SPAG had not yet been formally implemented it was the opinion of the teachers when they saw the script that her poor syntax was a factor. I bumped into the other girls Mum last night and she also got an A* in Eng Lit at A level. In a 3 hour plus exam as you can imagine my DD says her writing, spelling and grammar go to the wall!
My DD is now reading English at one of the top RG unis for the subject. She is working on her first Essay and had her weekly session with the Learning Support mentor (paid for via DSA along with every bit of hardware and software you could imagine, another culture shock ) who advised her that her work will not be marked down for grammar and syntax providing the meaning is clear.
It really is highly unlikely that the examiner took one look at his handwriting and gave it a 2!
All the GCSE science exams are marked online now, and include numerous premarked seeds, often including one with very poor writing. Failure to mark those correctly would cause the examiner to be stopped from marking. 18 lines is rarely (never?) appropriate in a 6 marker and suggests that he did not truly understand or directly address the question, 6 marks often being attainable in less than 6 lines.
(Examiner, teacher, parent)
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