Author Topic: GCSEs  (Read 1232 times)

RedHand88

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Re: GCSEs
« Reply #15 on: August 25, 2018, 12:05:20 AM »
Went to St. Mary's in Magherafelt . . . It would be considered one of the better schools in the area (3 times as good as St Pats) and we had some absolute dungbags as teachers.

Don't get me wrong there were some excellent ones as well but it still surprises me how many teachers back then could be functioning alcoholics/stupid/totally not cut out for being a teacher.

I would hope that things have changed in that regard!

I can tell you from ones I know that it hasn't.

clarshack

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Re: GCSEs
« Reply #16 on: August 25, 2018, 12:43:19 AM »
Thought Dungannon Academy had a lot of poor/boring teachers back in the day. No idea what's it like now. Looking back a good few of them were definitely going through the motions.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2018, 12:54:53 AM by clarshack »

An Watcher

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Re: GCSEs
« Reply #17 on: August 25, 2018, 08:31:40 AM »
I've seen a few GCSE Maths papers recently and as someone else said on here, there is no comparison to back in the day.  In fact some of the tougher GCSE questions have now moved onto A-Level papers.
The modular thing is a great help too.  When it was first brought in I was able to resit certain areas if I wasn't happy with my mark.
It's not today's students fault though.  Good luck to them.  Interesting about how the marking has changed though.  Instead of a percentage getting the top grade, everyone could get the top grade if they scored highly enough. 
I think today's system makes it very distinguish between the very top achievers.  Lots of people seem to get straight As now while very few managed it years ago.

Milltown Row2

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Re: GCSEs
« Reply #18 on: August 25, 2018, 08:33:44 AM »
Thought Dungannon Academy had a lot of poor/boring teachers back in the day. No idea what's it like now. Looking back a good few of them were definitely going through the motions.

In fairness so were a lot of kids, itís easier to teach kids who want to learn
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lenny

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Re: GCSEs
« Reply #19 on: August 25, 2018, 08:44:37 AM »
Went to St. Mary's in Magherafelt . . . It would be considered one of the better schools in the area (3 times as good as St Pats) and we had some absolute dungbags as teachers.

Don't get me wrong there were some excellent ones as well but it still surprises me how many teachers back then could be functioning alcoholics/stupid/totally not cut out for being a teacher.

I would hope that things have changed in that regard!

I can tell you from ones I know that it hasn't.

St Pius had a few tubes also. McIver and big Brendan Convery were great though. Tough but fair.

RedHand88

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Re: GCSEs
« Reply #20 on: August 25, 2018, 09:16:45 AM »
Thought Dungannon Academy had a lot of poor/boring teachers back in the day. No idea what's it like now. Looking back a good few of them were definitely going through the motions.

It seems very hip and modern now. Full of teachers under 40. Alot of the old guard moved on after the amalgamation.

Owen Brannigan

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Re: GCSEs
« Reply #21 on: August 25, 2018, 08:16:07 PM »
I saw a GCSE Maths paper one time, no comparison to the level of difficulty of the O level exam I did back in the day as far as I recall. Don't suppose anyone could throw up a couple of past O and GCSE papers for comparison?

Apples and Oranges.  O level was normative reference assessment and GCSE is criteria referenced assessment.

In Maths it didn't matter how hard or easy the paper as the same percentage of every grade was awarded every year, hence, O level maths pass was often achieved with 25 to 30% mark in exam.

GCSE has to have fewer topics and easier ones to allow pupils to achieve rather than to catch them out as in O levels.

Much of the hard topics in O level maths were moved to A level. Calculus (differentiation and integration) and Logs are examples of A level maths that we all did for O level, same for much of the trigonometry and algebra.


Champion The Wonder Horse

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Re: GCSEs
« Reply #22 on: August 25, 2018, 08:20:22 PM »
Far, far easier now than O levels, particularly Maths. I recently saw a CSE paper from the early 80s, where some of the content is now deemed too difficult for GCSE.


Owen Brannigan

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Re: GCSEs
« Reply #23 on: August 25, 2018, 08:29:31 PM »
Would you say teaching has improved?

In general teaching is better but in a specific way. Teachers have developed their skills in beating the current assessment system.

GCSEs and A levels are now modular.  In the 'good old days' it was all on the day with long exams for the two year course of and O level or old A level. Exams now are sprints.

It is easier to break the subject down, take several exams over the two year period and also complete some controlled assessment in the classroom or practical work. 

Teachers have developed the best methods to excel at these modern exams, they know how to work the system, which modular exams to repeat, how best to prepare for controlled assessment and to complete the practical assessments.

In the old days it didn't matter how poor the teachers were so long as every school had the same quality of teachers because the O levels and old A levels were norm referenced which meant that you had to do better than all the others taking the same exam to get the top grades, e.g. every year 69% of students at A level got grade E or better, can't remember the percentages for other grades. Grades were given out by putting everyone taking the exam in rank order and dividing them into bands by same fixed percentages each year

GCSEs and new A levels require the pupils to compete against themselves, how well each one can do across the modules and controlled assessment, so they do better than before. Grades are given by reaching clearly pre-defined criteria in terms of what they know and can do.

Fair play to all taking the modern exams in doing so well and their teachers for beating the system and playing the modern assessment game.

Owen Brannigan

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Re: GCSEs
« Reply #24 on: August 25, 2018, 08:31:07 PM »
Far, far easier now than O levels, particularly Maths. I recently saw a CSE paper from the early 80s, where some of the content is now deemed too difficult for GCSE.

Again you can't compare apples and oranges. CSEs were also norm referenced in assigning the grades unlike the criteria referenced GCSEs.

Champion The Wonder Horse

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Re: GCSEs
« Reply #25 on: August 25, 2018, 08:56:42 PM »
Far, far easier now than O levels, particularly Maths. I recently saw a CSE paper from the early 80s, where some of the content is now deemed too difficult for GCSE.

Again you can't compare apples and oranges. CSEs were also norm referenced in assigning the grades unlike the criteria referenced GCSEs.

My point was that the content of GCSEs, particularly Maths, is much easier than the content of O Levels or indeed CSEs. Thatís easy enough to compare.

Owen Brannigan

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Re: GCSEs
« Reply #26 on: August 25, 2018, 09:25:10 PM »
Far, far easier now than O levels, particularly Maths. I recently saw a CSE paper from the early 80s, where some of the content is now deemed too difficult for GCSE.

Again you can't compare apples and oranges. CSEs were also norm referenced in assigning the grades unlike the criteria referenced GCSEs.

My point was that the content of GCSEs, particularly Maths, is much easier than the content of O Levels or indeed CSEs. Thatís easy enough to compare.

Correct, GCSEs have to be more accessible to allow criteria referenced assessment to work. Everyone who takes a GCSE must be able to achieve.  Therefore, the content of CSEs and O levels had to be reduced to ensure that the topics being assessed were easier for everyone to achieve a grade.

Maiden1

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Re: GCSEs
« Reply #27 on: August 25, 2018, 10:13:25 PM »
I saw a GCSE Maths paper one time, no comparison to the level of difficulty of the O level exam I did back in the day as far as I recall. Don't suppose anyone could throw up a couple of past O and GCSE papers for comparison?

https://telescoper.wordpress.com/tag/o-level-mathematics-1979/

https://revisionmaths.com/gcse-maths/gcse-maths-past-papers/edexcel-gcse-maths-past-papers
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