..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"
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
“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.
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.
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. (and that makes me wonder if grammar schools add much value in the 5 years they have with these kids)