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 Post subject: GCSE's and SEN
PostPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2011 5:35 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 13, 2005 12:49 pm
Posts: 1647
Location: berkshire
Just need to have a small rant and ask for comments....

My son sat Edexcel Maths Linear Higher Tier non-calc paper on Monday 6th June.

He came out of the exam distraught. He is uaually an A* student in Maths but said he couldn't understand what the questions were asking him to do.
It turns out that not only was this paper 'the hardest paper set in 10 years' it was not like any previous non calc past paper and therefore was not what my son was expecting.
He has aspergers, in preparation for any exam I have to take him through many past papers so that he has some knowledge of what to expect.
He has no idea what score he will get.....he said that he just couldn't think as he was so upset.
Conversely the calculator paper had the same type of questions as other past papers and my son believes that , even with a few silly mistakes, he got around 95%.

I just don't think it is fair to change the 'style' of questions as students such as my son will be penalised for his lack of understanding of the wording of questions and therefore not be able to show his Maths ability.

Just so annoyed...... I know he struggles in English but didn't think this would affect his Maths!!!!!!!! :evil: :evil: :evil:

I am sure that there is going to be a wide variance (as much as 40%) in his marks.

Do you think that a letter to Edexcel would make them realise how this could affect SEN students?


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 Post subject: Re: GCSE's and SEN
PostPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2011 7:18 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2007 12:42 pm
Posts: 3810
Location: Chelmsford and pleased
I've got the paper on my desk - one of my pupils cried. Maths was her best subject and she really needed the A.

It was very hard but the questions were in the usual style, unlike the revolting modular paper for year 10s.

There was an unpleasant surds question and a factorisation of the difference of two squares.

Friday's paper was really easy and hopefully will have made up for Monday's tough one.


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 Post subject: Re: GCSE's and SEN
PostPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2011 7:48 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 13, 2005 12:49 pm
Posts: 1647
Location: berkshire
Sounds like the difference just freaked him........well we will just have to wait til August for the results. He needs a B to study A' Level Maths but should get an A.... hopefully. :roll:


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 Post subject: Re: GCSE's and SEN
PostPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2011 7:56 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2009 2:14 pm
Posts: 612
Location: essex
I invigilated that paper. I am no mathematician but during the exam I always read through the papers and I thought it very hard. I could do the first question on the flapjack recipe but then resorted to looking out of the window at the rather lovely herbaceous borders surrounding our school hall. I also invigilated the calculator paper, I was so busy rushing around giving out rulers, calculators, tracing paper and spare pens that I did not have a chance to look at the paper but the vast majority of the hall finished with plenty of time so hopefully, as moved says, this will even out any poor scores in the non calculator test

I have heard on the grapevine that many of this years exams have been quite tricky, possibly due to years of the Daily Mail accusing the exam boards of dumbing down. Hopefully this will just result in changed grade thresholds rather than a cohort of students with poor results.


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 Post subject: Re: GCSE's and SEN
PostPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2011 8:10 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2010 4:38 pm
Posts: 109
"I just don't think it is fair to change the 'style' of questions "

The syllabus is the syllabus. Past papers will indicate the way the questions have been asked, but unless that's part of the syllabus, it's not binding.

It's arguably dangerous for people to prepare with a heavy emphasis on past papers, because if the style does change --- and it may not even be intentional on the part of the setting board, because what you've seen as a consistent thread in the style may just be happenstance rather than policy --- then you have little in the way of grounds for complaint. Changing a syllabus is a really big deal, because it has to be phased in with provision for people retaking old specifications, it requires new text books, it requires new lesson planning, etc, etc. But if problems have emerged (probably inability to students at the far ends of the intended range from each other) or new requirements need to be plugged in (in recent years, the need to distinguish A* from A) then it's far, far easier to alter the balance or style of the exam papers than to start the two to three year process of introducing a new specification (and, it's worth noting, when that happens, there are no genuine past papers anyway).

You need to be prepared to answer questions on the syllabus; the past papers are there only for broad guidance. If you're entered into a new syllabus --- my elder daughter is the first cohort to take her particular maths scheme --- then there are no past papers anyway, and the board will merely provide one (error-filled, in this case) paper which indicates the rough way in which the subject will be examined.


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 Post subject: Re: GCSE's and SEN
PostPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2011 8:25 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 13, 2005 12:49 pm
Posts: 1647
Location: berkshire
Yep.... I agree completely....unfortunately the one thing about having aspergers that affects my son is 'change', so this would have a much greater impact on my sons mental state during the exam than others without aspergers syndrome. Just another way that SEN can show itself!


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 Post subject: Re: GCSE's and SEN
PostPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2011 9:47 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2008 10:12 am
Posts: 3758
Location: Berkshire
Oh dear, chad, I hope between the two papers everything is evened out, and he's not too traumatised.

Such a shame for him :(


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