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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 1:01 pm 
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I'm an invigilator and have just invigilated Biology GCSE, Higher and Foundation papers. Higher is supposed to be more difficult, but I can't say I noticed much difference between the two tiers. Both papers ask questions that require one word answers, or multiple choice. There are longer questions too, they just don't seem that difficult to me - and I'm no scientist!

As this is the first exam I've invigilated since summer (when I began looking at 11+ papers with my dd), I think that some GCSE's are actually easier than the 11+! If you've bothered to revise, I imagine it is easy to get an A (sorry, A*!)

Some schools make students study for as many as 15 GCSE's. Until I started invigilating I thought 15 was too many for anybody to do - now I think if students are bright and self motivated, it shouldn't be too difficult. Whether you're at a grammar school or not.

Preparing for the 11+ is a good start, whether a dc passes or not. After all, nobody knows for sure what is going to be in the 11+. Students have a good idea what will be in GCSE's.

I find it interesting that many 16 year olds, having done their Biology GCSE today, were saying they wanted to be doctors - or nurses - or pharmacists, basing their opinions on their biology GCSE. Of course, they will be in for a shock at A level - I don't consider A levels to be any easier than they were twenty years ago.

I genuinely consider maths and science GCSE's in particular (where there is some multiple choice) to be easier than the 11+ questions my dd and I have looked at over the summer.

For those who studied for the 11+, they could probably try a maths GCSE right now! And get half of it right!

Anybody seen a GCSE paper and agree?


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 1:06 pm 
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I think many do get a huge shock when they go from GCSE Biol to A level...
..however one of the problems with GCSE Biol was that you had to get EXACTLY the right words(s) - no clever alternates seem to count, one of the problems I had with one of the kids ensuring that they followed the rules!

re the GCSE maths, anyone got access to a copy of a paper ? we could give it a go.. :? :mrgreen:


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 1:27 pm 
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I used GCSE foundation papers with ds when preparing, and some 11+ indie papers. The 11+ ones were definitley harder! Try this for example (non calculator paper, so analagous to 11+). I agree with ginx that I'd be confident ds could do well in these already given the level of 11+ prep he did. And with another poster recently who was commenting that a child who had passed 11+ knew 80% of what was covered in year 7 and 8 maths at his grammar.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 1:35 pm 
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We used a few GCSE Foundation papers in maths to prepare for the 11+, it seemed to be a comparable standard.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 2:12 pm 
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I'm shocked you guys have already looked at GCSE papers with your 10/11 year olds!

You're the clever ones - I wish I'd thought of it. Perhaps I should download (assuming it's possible) some past GCSE papers and have a look.

Stands your dc in good stead for GCSE's. Muggle, I shouldn't be shocked but I am - that the 11+ is a comparable standard to GCSE Foundation papers!

Every child who sat the 11+ will do well at GCSE level ... altho' GCSE's are changing back to O level essay style, I believe.

Amazing to think of 10/11 year olds managing any part of a GCSE paper designed for 15/16 year olds!


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 3:06 pm 
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hermanmunster wrote:
..however one of the problems with GCSE Biol was that you had to get EXACTLY the right words(s)


Exactly and its very prescriptive about using the right terminology for higher grades.

I was also suprised at IGCSE grade boundaries for Maths, they seem to be so low. In 2010, 28% would get a C grade on the higher tier. I looked at GCSE Edexcel for 2010 here http://www.edexcel.com/iwantto/I%20want ... daries.pdf and its not that much different either hoovering around 30% for a C Grade on the higher tier.

I remember seeing a discussion on the teachers forum that last year it was difficult getting a C grades on foundation paper compared to higher paper as some boards had high grade boundaries on the foundation paper.

Ginx I don't see the point of testing and giving them GCSE maths when they are younger. Perhaps ocassionally that may be fine but I think its better getting a broader knowledge of maths. I like this free online resources http://www.artofproblemsolving.com/Alcu ... uction.php Its for gifted students but any child can use it because the system automatically provides problems of appropriate difficulty.

The Sunday Time had this last week
"State schools + maths = rejection by Cambridge"
Quote:
AN ALARMING gap between the success of state and independent-school applicants for maths at Cambridge is revealed by internal figures that have fuelled the row over A-levels.

Maths is the subject with the third-highest number of state-school applicants to Cambridge but it has the lowest acceptance rate — just 18% were successful last year compared with 40% of those from independent schools. The gap is reflected at Oxford where 14.5% of state-school applicants were accepted for maths compared with 22.8% from independents.

State-school applicants are also far less successful in subjects that rely on maths, such as science, engineering and medicine. In computer science, only 24% are accepted, compared with half of those from private schools.


This here is the problem of just restricting a child to narrow curriculum of GCSE testing
Quote:
“Mathematics teaching at A-level tends to be very narrow and procedural and this is the case across the state and independent sectors. A handful of schools go well beyond the syllabus and they are the ones dominating the Oxbridge entries,” said Jeremy Hodgen, professor of mathematics education at King’s College London.


Image

Point is for those with gifted Mathematician, simply dosing them with GCSE papers is pretty restrictive esp if the children plan studying it on higher level.

Quote:
Nick Edwards, who is studying economics at Cambridge, received extra maths classes at Tiffin school in Kingston, southwest London. “In A-level maths and further maths, the methods to solve each question are given to you on a plate. You go through the motions that your teacher will have drilled into you. In Step, you have to work out which methodology to use to solve the problem, then solve the problem itself. It’s a better test of pure logic, and there’s a creative element to it as well,” he said.


I think the KS3 is VERY long and there isn't much to cover so and the reason why most schools have narrowed it down to 2 years. Yes I suspect the ones who scored well in 11+ can give a GCSE paper a good go. :lol: (and that makes me wonder if grammar schools add much value in the 5 years they have with these kids)

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 3:34 pm 
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sherry_d wrote:
I don't see the point of testing and giving them GCSE maths when they are younger. Perhaps ocassionally that may be fine but I think its better getting a broader knowledge of maths. I like this free online resources http://www.artofproblemsolving.com/Alcu ... uction.php Its for gifted students but any child can use it because the system automatically provides problems of appropriate difficulty.
That looks a good site - will give that a go. I've been using nrich with ds (as well as the odd GCSE foundation paper!), but more resources are always handy.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 3:54 pm 
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ginx wrote:
Perhaps I should download (assuming it's possible) some past GCSE papers and have a look.
Have a look here or direct from the AQA site for AQA papers, or here for Edexcel.
ginx wrote:
I shouldn't be shocked but I am - that the 11+ is a comparable standard to GCSE Foundation papers!
ginx wrote:
Amazing to think of 10/11 year olds managing any part of a GCSE paper designed for 15/16 year olds!
I find it just as shocking that the exams for 15/16 year olds are at a level which can be done successfully by a a reasonably bright 10/11 year old!


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 9:34 pm 
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ginx wrote:
Of course, they will be in for a shock at A level - I don't consider A levels to be any easier than they were twenty years ago.



Really? I've read several times that universities are having to spend most of the first year doing relatively basic maths to get 1st years up to the standard they need to be at to start their degree course. Never happened in my day (blah blah...don't know they're born...).


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:02 pm 
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Level 5 is about a grade D/E so of course Foundation (which contains 50% of the paper at grade G and F) looks straightforward. The 2012 papers are slightly different so do look at those when they are available; questions require more problem solving.

A KS2 level 5 will be expected to get an A or A* at GCSE and you don't get that on a Foundation paper. In fact I doubt many GS pupils sit Foundation tier anyway!


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