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Scottish exams, any teachers around?

(11 Posts)
PJ67 Sat 16-Jan-16 10:43:45

Hi. My son is in 5th year and doing the new cfe highers. He seems to be struggling a bit with physics and I don't quite understand the new system. He has passed one 'nab' and failed the second which he will resit next week. He seems to think there is only one chance to resit. I phoned the sqa and they seemed to say it was at the discretion of the school. I've spoke to my son about maybe doing it over 2 years but he's keen to sit the exam in May. I'm not sure I trust the school and think they are keen to look good and therefore stop anyone doing exams who might fail. We had this with the national 5's where we were told he should do nat 4 in computing and would probably get a C in PE and he ended up getting an A I'm both.
I just want to know what is the correct advice, it's so confusing! Can they refuse to let him sit the exam?

BloodyDogHairs Sat 16-Jan-16 10:50:31

I'm not a teacher but when my Dd was sitting her 5th year exam's (last year) she was advised not sit the maths one. She wanted to give it a go so I had to write a letter to the school to inform them DD wanted to take the exam.

OneMagnumisneverenough Sat 16-Jan-16 14:04:34

I've heard from a good source that the East Ren schools are peculiar in that they have these fantastic results for the Highers but there is a lower proportion of English and Maths taken compared to other schools. The story goes that they deliberately get pupils who don't specifically need them for their Uni courses, to take those in 6th year (if at all) so as to maximise the chances of getting 5 As at the end of 5th year....

I therefore would not be surprised at schools discouraging pupils from sitting exams that they thought wouldn't look good in their stats.

I'm not a teacher either though.

rogueantimatter Sat 16-Jan-16 16:22:31

My DD was advised to consider doing higher English in 6th year after a poor result in her prelim. We got her an English tutor and she got an A in her higher. I know someone who tutors physics if you'd like to pm me - though I'd want to check with her before giving her number.

DD's HOY told me that provided she passed her nabs the school couldn't insist that she wait a year.

Is your DS doing five highers? Depending on what he wants to do, four highers are usually fine as long as he gets good grades.

Groovee Sat 16-Jan-16 16:30:07

Our school only gives one resit on the NABS too.

PJ67 Sat 16-Jan-16 19:06:03

Thanks everyone. Rouge, we've just got him a physics tutor so hopefully that will make a difference in the main exam but it's the nab resit on Wednesday I'm worried about. If he fails that I don't think he can sit the exam although the sqa seem to be saying its at the discretion of the school how many times they can resit.

dotdotdotmustdash Sat 16-Jan-16 20:46:01

Nabs are set at a level that is equivalent to a 'C' standard in the Higher exam. If he can't pass the nabs, then the school has to assume that he can't achieve a C pass in the Higher. It is at the discretion of the school how many resits they give, but I'm not sure it helps the pupil if they get endless resits and are nursed through the nab just to achieve a pass.

If you Ds doesn't pass the nab, maybe he isn't ready for the Higher and another year to repeat everything and fly through the nabs would be better.

fuckweasel Sat 16-Jan-16 21:04:38

Agree with dotdotdotmustdash, the 'NABs' are 'minimum comptency' ie set at C grade level. My school only allows two attempts at the 'NAB' (actually called UASPs now!). If he cannot pass these (and the pass mark is also very low at 50%) then he probably isn't up to the Higher exam in May.

PJ67 Sun 17-Jan-16 11:09:49

I agree that he would probably be better doing it over 2 years but he's determined he wants to sit the exam so I'm trying to find out what the 'rules' are. It seems very unfair that different schools will do things differently with the nabs and the number of resist allowed. We were in a similar position last year where he was failing class tests in nat 5 computing and the teachers wanted him to do nat 4 but he ended up getting an A so it's difficult to know whether he should get the chance to try to turn things around.

Cake0rdeath Mon 18-Jan-16 22:11:07

They can recommend that he not sit the exam based on prelim results, but they cannot stop him from sitting, especially if you get involved. However, if he doesn't pass the NARs then I'm pretty sure he can't pass the final exam anyway.
As for the NARs (formally NABs) pupils now need to pass outcomes, not gain a certain number of marks. A strategy for your DS would be to ask the teacher what outcomes he has outstanding and focus his attention on answering the questions that link to those outcomes during his resit. If he's already passed outcome 1.1 and 1.2 but still has outcome 1.3 to go, he doesn't need to worry about his answers for 1.1 and 1.2 as they're already in the bag. The marking schemes indicate the questions linked to particular outcomes-it would take his teacher two minutes to tell him that to gain outcome 1.3 he'd need to answer Qs 1,3 and 5 correctly, for example.

PJ67 Mon 18-Jan-16 22:39:45

Thanks for your message cake. I'll have a chat to him about this. We've got him a tutor but he's only seen him a couple of times so not long enough to help with these assessments but hopefully with the final exam, assuming he gets through this bit! I'm not sure what looks worse on a university application, to fail and resist in 6th year or to do a subject over 2 years. I'm a bit worried he would refuse to do physics again in 6 th year no matter what so maybe better to take a risk and sit it. I wish the exams
were over, I'm stressed already!!

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