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General Chat Thread, Resit GCSE Maths & English - Really? in General; i see few reasons why they cant be all on the same site (though probably best run by different heads) ...
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    i see few reasons why they cant be all on the same site (though probably best run by different heads) and why you cant transfer if you turn out to be more/less suited to any tier than first thought

    as to when yes i see how 11+ are not ideal but as long as movement is possible (and if you have a yearly / 1/2 yearly test that means achievement can be aprrised ) it should be a better fit but nothing is ever going to be perfect
    Last edited by sted; 20th September 2013 at 10:06 AM.

  2. #32

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    I consider myself to be academically intelligent enough (Well, I obviously had a little slip when I signed the contract to start working in this place!!!) however my first go at GCSE Maths was a D.

    I did it again the year after at college and easily got into the C bracket. Reason? They did it in a modular format at college so it was basically focus on one subject area e.g. measurements then take exam - Rinse and repeat 4 or 5 times.

    The modular format was much easier as it allowed more in depth lessons about certain things rather than suddenly jumping from 1+1=2 to Pythagoras!

  3. #33

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    As I said, a basic competency exam is what is needed but some of the things stated on here are worrisome.

    Dyslexia and to some extent Dyscalcula can, and should, be helped and in no way reflect the individual's actual ability with words or numbers, it is a processing error. Schools who do not help people with these issues are failing them. Full stop.

    As for whether someone is ever going to need to find "x" - what about when you buy something that is "four for a fiver" and you want to know how much that is each? THAT is finding x. Perhaps that is what is needed as well, showing people how all this English and Maths might actually fit in the real world.
    And analysing Shakespeare and writing essays etc? - actually it is useful and it does teach analytical and research skills. But not everything has to have a vocational or everyday reason for doing it. Every time you admire a sunset, enjoy a piece of music, or lose yourself in a book you are doing something that is not "needed" in your life, but something that enhances your existence. Shakespeare has a lot to say if taught properly. (which might be the issue of course). He wrote for the masses, for the poor and ill educated.
    We are not all academic, it's true, but there is nothing wrong with being academic and we can all appreciate things outside normal life if we are shown how.
    Every child and young person deserves the best teaching there is so that they can become the best person they can be.

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    Quote Originally Posted by witch View Post
    As for whether someone is ever going to need to find "x" - what about when you buy something that is "four for a fiver" and you want to know how much that is each? THAT is finding x. Perhaps that is what is needed as well, showing people how all this English and Maths might actually fit in the real world.
    That's exactly what I was getting at.

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    Quote Originally Posted by witch
    As for whether someone is ever going to need to find "x" - what about when you buy something that is "four for a fiver" and you want to know how much that is each? THAT is finding x. Perhaps that is what is needed as well, showing people how all this English and Maths might actually fit in the real world.
    Quote Originally Posted by j17sparky View Post
    That's exactly what I was getting at.
    Which, going sround in circles, begs the question - is that GCSE level maths or is that something that should already have been covered during KS3? Does a 'C' grade GCSE prove you can do basic algebra and a 'D' grade prove you can't?

    The dabate is if constantly retesting until the pupil gets the magical 'C' grade is worth the time/hassle/heartache not whether or not maths (or indeed english) are worthwhile subjects to study.

    And of course, everyone should expect a quality education regardless of subject or level being taught. Receiving the best teaching does not mean every child being forced to study every subject to the highest level. In fact, I'd argue that's counterproductive and may go someway to explain some pupils attitudes and behaviour in school. $diety knows I was never the best of pupils during the French lessons my school insisted I take.

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    CAM
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    Because if you start to mention Pi, Radius and 2xy=4x2y to young kids they will not understand. You get the occasional bright spark but the reason they don't get taught such a level of Maths is because it just isn't time yet. By KS4 they are put into different bands depending on their skill levels and ability to understand the subject. Brightest deal with wiggly lines on graphs or some other insane stuff that I can't even begin to fathom, lower tiers handle enough Maths to help them get by in life. I did Intermediate myself which taught me stuff I thought I didn't need until realising algebra helped me to understand the concept of variables in programming and scripts that later proved responsible for kickstarting a career as a data manager into action.

    Your career isn't defined at school. Just because you don't use a certain aspect of your lessons in class, someone else did whilst finding no use for something you found useful. We may not use everything taught to us in Maths and English for our careers as adults, but they certainly help with giving you the knowledge or familiarity of those concepts in the event you do need to use it.

    EDIT - It's also quite odd, but learning German helped me to understand how to analyse and interpret languages. This has helped from my somewhat boredom induced and pointless Welsh self-teaching to working out the structure of a programming language (which has their own forms of "sentence" structure and vocabulary to do it right). Different people find weird and wonderful ways to utilise their knowledge without knowing it!
    Last edited by CAM; 20th September 2013 at 01:32 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CAM View Post
    . Different people find weird and wonderful ways to utilise their knowledge without knowing it!
    Absolutely - that's what I was trying to say! All knowledge is useful even if you don't realise it

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    @CAM, @witch - you both make good arguements why Maths is an important subject to study. But you don't answer the question why everybody must get a grade 'C', or indeed even study to GCSE standard at all. It's not slighlting maths (or english, or any subject) as being non worthwhile endeavours. Far from it. It's more taking exception to th words everyone and must.

    Why must everyone pass at grade C or above?

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    Quote Originally Posted by witch View Post
    As I said, a basic competency exam is what is needed but some of the things stated on here are worrisome.

    Dyslexia and to some extent Dyscalcula can, and should, be helped and in no way reflect the individual's actual ability with words or numbers, it is a processing error. Schools who do not help people with these issues are failing them. Full stop.

    As for whether someone is ever going to need to find "x" - what about when you buy something that is "four for a fiver" and you want to know how much that is each? THAT is finding x. Perhaps that is what is needed as well, showing people how all this English and Maths might actually fit in the real world.
    And analysing Shakespeare and writing essays etc? - actually it is useful and it does teach analytical and research skills. But not everything has to have a vocational or everyday reason for doing it. Every time you admire a sunset, enjoy a piece of music, or lose yourself in a book you are doing something that is not "needed" in your life, but something that enhances your existence. Shakespeare has a lot to say if taught properly. (which might be the issue of course). He wrote for the masses, for the poor and ill educated.
    We are not all academic, it's true, but there is nothing wrong with being academic and we can all appreciate things outside normal life if we are shown how.
    Every child and young person deserves the best teaching there is so that they can become the best person they can be.
    This post seems to address points I raised and I think there is cognitive dissonance in what I was trying to say. My point was exactly about APPLIED knowledge. Theoretical knowledge and applied knowledge are two different things. I would MUCH rather my children learned how to properly write letters and correct forms of address than whether Puck was secretly hot for Bottom or whatever it was. Literacy is not just about writing essays but it is about use of language, grammar, sentence syntax etc. I'm the first to admit that my grammar is RUBBISH, but that doesn't mean I'm a bad engineer. It IS important to 'find x' but unless there are examples to relate it to, there is a gap between theoretical and applied that some pupils can't bridge - LeBoyfriend is terrible at theoretical maths, but he can work stuff out in his head like VAT percentages considerably faster than me! The point is that he was never tested on the applied side, so it LOOKS like he's bad at it but really he's not.

    Another thing that cheeses me off is the inability of kids to properly evaluate sources, discuss and understand why some data is worth more than other data - this was something I learned in Science, not English or Maths. I spent most of my time in English reading ahead during the round-robin-reading because other kids were too slow and I'd tune them out and finish the book. I'd get told off for it until I explained to my teacher that I had already READ the book. In the end my teacher gave up and skipped me as she knew I'd have already done the required reading for the exercise.

    I learned how to do all the really important things from the internet - I've learned more about grammar from The Oatmeal than I did in school. I learned how to format beautiful documents from looking at them on the internet and comparing them to mine. My CV looks the way it does because of an article on a job hunting website, not because I learned it in school and this is what is wrong. I'm not saying that studying Shakespeare and poetry is WRONG per se, but when kids come out of school lacking so many other English language skills, I have to question whether studying Shakespeare was time well spent?

  10. #40

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    To put another spin on this; if a child (or n% of a cohort) fail English or maths, is it the child that has failed? Or the school?

    When I did my O levels (yes, I am THAT old) I thought that with 6 good passes I had done "averagely well". Enough to get me into 6th Form on A level courses. English, maths, and a handful of others. Some years later I heard that in 1977, the average passes for kids that year was one. It is right that the Govt want to drive up standards; I'm not sure that they are doing it in a meaningful way, or even at all.

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    Just to adjust some of the discussion - I think that the policy being proposed is that if they didn't have GCSE C in Maths and English, they would have to continue to study the subjects - though not necessarily for GCSE. So schools/colleges could choose appropriate courses.
    And as an aside, the IB demands Maths and your first language for all....

  12. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by AMLightfoot View Post
    Another thing that cheeses me off is the inability of kids to properly evaluate sources, discuss and understand why some data is worth more than other data
    I don't think you are very old so I am very surprised to read this - did you not study history at school? All three of my children studied history (and english lit) and it was then that they learned how to evaluate sources and do exactly what you say is important in terms of data. In fact, there is a "sources" paper in the exam. Their grasp of how to evaluate things, and what it was like to actually live through the history they studied is far far better than mine ever was. I went to a grammar school and we were just told to learn the facts.

    As for theoretical versus applied, that is definitely a teaching issue. If you really have learned everything since school then your school was appalling - the schools I work in spend a great deal of time teaching children how to put things across whether it be written or verbal. Essays are very useful to stretch a child's imagination whilst also practising spelling, grammar, syntax, and all those things you mention.
    They don't often read in a round-robin way anymore either.
    As for teaching - didn't you become a teacher? And yet your grammar etc, by your own admission, is rubbish. Right there is one of the problems this country has when teaching english and maths. Teachers need to be taught grammar etc before they are allowed to be teachers AFAIC
    If a teacher is rubbish at english or maths, how can they teach the children what they need to know?
    Last edited by witch; 20th September 2013 at 08:48 PM.

  13. #43


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    Apologies if this has been stated already but;

    If every child must get a C grade,
    then the gov. must think every child is capable of a C grade,
    as historically only just over half achieve a C in English and Maths then the education system has always been a failure,
    therefore most teachers are incompetent...


    Obviously the above is nonsense, but if you are to assert that every child can, and will, get a grade C you must therefore acknowledge the current model of eduction is not working. If you do not want to acknowledge that, and believe that most children achieve what they are meant to achieve then what? Only possible solution I can see is "fiddle" the children through the exam by way of making it easier, exam coaching/hand holding, etc...

  14. Thanks to j17sparky from:

    witch (20th September 2013)

  15. #44


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    Quote Originally Posted by witch View Post
    If you really have learned everything since school then your school was appalling

    They don't often read in a round-robin way anymore either.
    I can honestly say I've learned everything since/prior to school. I used to get ~100% in just about every test I did (in the subjects I cared about. I was not going to apply myself to MFL, RE, HE, or English...) up until KS4 as all I did as a primary child was watch the schools programs and open university. In KS4 I didn't really go to school, did zero coursework when that made up around 30-40% of the grade, yet still got A-C in all my preferred subjects, including English (sort of shows how low the bar is when I could only possibly get 60-70% of the marks). The teachers used to think I must be cheating as even when I was in school I either caused havoc or went to sleep in class so they would quiz me on the spot and be amazed I already knew the answer - I don't think it ever occurred to them that I might have already learned it off the TV and the reason I was a nuisance was because I was bored.

    It was only once I left school and, if I'm honest, started using the internet that I learned how to write letters, CVs, express myself in somewhat of a meaningful way!

    FYI the school I went to, although attainment is always high, value added is by far one of the worst in the county. Unfortunately they didn't have value added when I was at school.


    And btw they still do round-robin at the school I work in - one of the best in the county in both attainment and value-added.
    @witch It's interesting that, although we are supposed to have a national curriculum, schools can be so different. Nothing you said in your post ringed any bells with my education or (at least what I've seen) at the school I work.
    Last edited by j17sparky; 20th September 2013 at 09:16 PM.

  16. #45
    CAM
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    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    @CAM, @witch - you both make good arguements why Maths is an important subject to study. But you don't answer the question why everybody must get a grade 'C', or indeed even study to GCSE standard at all. It's not slighlting maths (or english, or any subject) as being non worthwhile endeavours. Far from it. It's more taking exception to th words everyone and must.

    Why must everyone pass at grade C or above?
    Because Grade C is the bar used to judge the performance of a school and student success (5 A*-C including English and Maths to be precise). As I've stated already, employers seek Grade C or higher and that is why it is important to achieve in these two subjects.

    We could lower the pass rate to G if you like since technically that is a pass, but then people would be complaining about schools letting students down and allowing them to leave with rock bottom grades being seen as acceptable.

    EDIT - And to add, BTEC courses which weaker students tend to get put on are also equivalent to a C for a Pass grade at GCSE level.
    Last edited by CAM; 23rd September 2013 at 09:19 AM.

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