We are now a few days post GCSE results and the adrenaline has subsided somewhat. In it place has been left a sense of calm, pride and now some unanswered questions. It has also left me feeling emotional! As an ex teacher I understand the exam systems more than most. I don’t always have the greatest faith in the marking systems in place. As I have experienced it from both sides, as a teacher and exam marker and now from the perspective of a parent. Therefore we have been debating GCSE Exam Success, Value Added and Getting Papers Remarked. We are asking for two GCSE remarked.
Chloe worked really hard in the six months leading up to her exams. She revised steadily and used many different strategies to help her. I wrote extensively about GCSE Tips – five tips on how to revise, more exam tips and 5 tips on how parents can help their teens during exam season. Using past papers is always advised and Chloe was well prepared. However after the Maths exam she had a crisis of confidence and she was also worried about another subject.
Yet as results morning dawned we clock watched until it was time to go and collect the brown envelope. We were early, one of the first but we could wait no more. I hadn’t planned to go in to collect the results with Chloe but she wanted me too. We went in and with a fast heart she prised open the stapled sheets, she saw she had passed Maths which was her first success. Then she spotted an A* and whooped with joy. No A*’s were expected – especially in Religious Studies!
Then one by one she looked at the paper with her eyes and smile getting wider. She outperformed her expected grades time and time again. Her hard work paid off. As a teacher I have written before about how much value added she would give the school. She will be one of the young people they analysed the day before as the results came in, she will be one of their success stories.
For us as parents we are so proud, she deserved those grades and she has revelled in the celebrations. It does leave her with new decisions to make, originally she was going to do two A Levels and the sports BTec. A few months ago she decided that three A Levels would be better and now because of the results she has more choices and more decisions. Chloe is unsure on what subjects to take after getting an A* in the English Literature exams too. Again that was an unexpected result from a set 3 girl who had had booster groups all throughout primary and the first couple of years at secondary. The fact she scored higher than her set 1 friends was not lost on me (or them as they teased her and triumphed in her unexpected success).
Getting a GCSE remark
Two exams are being remarked as she was one mark off the next grade up. As an examiner I know how subjective marking can be in written papers and both of the papers in question are essay based so we are paying for the GCSE remark and seeing what happens. It may stay the same but we will play Russian roulette and test the system. The system has changed slightly and now the marking needs to be out of tolerance before the mark is changed.
We will try it and let people know. It is a shame that as parents we need to test the systems and play the Education system but we can afford it and we knew how to check the grade boundaries. It is worth looking at the grade boundaries for each exam board and speaking to teachers if you think you are really close. The deadline for getting papers remarked is mid-September and costs approx. £30 per paper.
We put no pressure on Chloe except providing her with all the resources and support she asked for. We marked papers for her, got through so much ink and printer paper from printing out past papers but her success came from self-motivation, great teaching and having ambition. Her future looks great!
After getting the GCSE remark her English Lang result went up by six whole UMS marks which is staggering. This resulted in be awarded a B grade rather than a C grade. Chloes PE GCSE remark stayed the same leaving her one mark from that A grade! Frustating but that can be the reality and it is why every single mark counts!