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PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2015 9:22 am 
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My son moved schools in year 8 and his new school (Independent) report grades in GCSE format (A* to F), he has just completed year 8 assessments (exams) and I think he's done really well with A's in all the three key areas Maths, English and Sciences and B's in everything else with teacher comments that they were really pleased with the B's given that he had joined the school midway through the first term (therefore had not covered some of the work in History etc), he'd also run out of time on a few papers. I am really pleased but it would be nice to know how he has progressed since he moved schools but his previous school reported the NC levels (he was a level 7b in maths and science and a 6a in English). Do you think his new school would be able to assist me compare results?


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2015 11:09 am 
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In effect you would need the current school to give you estimated NC levels based on his recent exams. I guess being an Indie they might do it but depending on how they work it could be pretty time consuming for teachers.
Have you not had any interim reports from the new school eg at Christmas to compare back to?
It might be a question of just accepting if teachers are happy with progress and then checking next year.
In the meantime it's worth looking at why he ran out of time in exams- is it just technique or does he have issues with processing speed. It's more likely to be the former if nothing else has previously been suggested. Even if its just technique its worth talking through timing in exams and doing a bit of practice.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2015 11:39 am 
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Thank you - The annoying thing is we did get a report but it gave entirely different grades - It stated that he was graded A for Verbal Reasoning (entrance exam). Then the report gave two grades 1-4 for both effort and attainment - he was 3's across the board for attainment (so meeting forecast) top level was 4 bottom 1. A mixture of 3's and 2's for effort although this was a bit hit and miss because he got 94% in Physics with effort level of 2 (hate to think what he would have have to have done to get 4 the highest effort level).

The papers he did not finish were History where the teacher did state had he have completed the final question he probably would have gained an A* - It was exam technique, he spent allot of time on the first 4 questions and the last question carried the most marks (the question he id not finish) .... Rightly or wrongly I have now advised him to look at the question marks and bear this in mind. He also did not finish Biology or Maths but did achieve an A's in both and Geography (not sure what the reason was).

I know he has made good process in French because this was a weakness and he has put allot of effort into catching up.

I will ask the school the question about NC's , I can see some progress from last terms exams to end of year but not year on year.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2015 11:55 am 
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NC levels are being phased out and Private schools don't tend to use them.

I'm afraid that the problem is no-one knows what an 'A' means here - an A in one school could be a C in another. These grades are irrelevant for Year 8 as they will use the new grading system.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2015 12:05 pm 
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I guess that's my issue I dont know how to measure progress from last to this year because I dont know what A and B are equivalent too. I know the school also do mainly iGCSE's so assume different syllabus too and not sure how this will compare to the 1-9 grades - so confusing.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2015 1:12 pm 
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I'm not sure why you think it is hit and miss because he got 94% in Physics but a 2 for effort....? It is quite feasible that someone may find a subject easy and then mess about in the lessons, for example, disturbing others i.e. not putting the effort in! Just because they get a high grade, doesn't mean they are trying their best!


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2015 1:17 pm 
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I think you probably have to be satisfied with progress you can see.
Since he isn't finishing papers or getting top effort marks then you already have areas to focus on. I would put energy into this rather than try to compare apples and pears.
The effort marks usually relate to homework and behaviour in class so if there are subjects where the effort marks are lower its worth checking if he is putting sufficient effort into homework.
He may be doing well in year 8 exams by being bright by getting into good study and exam habits now will pay off later.
It doesn't sound as if you have anything particularly to worry about though.

I would ask the school how they award the grades so you will be able to judge his progress in future. I would guess they have a cut off mark on each subject paper for each grade but are these adjusted by staff each year? Are they consistent across different subjects? Is there a system for ensuring consistency across years?

In principle I don't like the 'place in year' system but it does have some advantages in terms of tracking progress.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2015 1:47 pm 
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I actually think that the Physics effort grade was a mistake, my son loves Physics hence why he excels in the subject there was nothing in the report to say that he wasnt focused or that he did not contribute - there were lots of positive comments. However he got an effort grade of 4 in PE (the only 4 he achieved in his previous term report), he hates PE messes around and actually has a few reprimands during the term and the report comments did not reflect the grade 4 for effort - Hence why the effort grades appeared hit and miss or should I say the comments did not match the effort grade.

KB - Each of the grades definitely had a cut off mark but these varied by subject (so assume they must look at the whole year - they all do the same exams) and then the grades are apportioned accordingly so a certain % get A* and then all the way down to F. They do set for some subjects like Maths - so effectively the grade (or percentage marks) should reflect what set you are in (although the top two Maths sets were very close apparently - my son's grade was similar to his friends in set one). I know they also moderate English papers (each exam is reviewed by two teachers to have consistent marking throughout the peer group). All good as far as I am concerned.

I dont think there is a place in year (or not to my knowledge) so perhaps they just use the grades as a softer approach

I have seen some progress(like French) and I know he is doing much better in the second Maths set than the first - Its just difficult when you have had the same reporting for all your child's life and it then changes and whilst I feel he is progressing (and maturing) it would be nice to have this confirmed or know where he may need to focus a little more.


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