Tuesday, 15 September 2015

GCSE Maths (8300) Foundation - A modern resit

I'm a little disappointed with myself, a friend of mine has just taken, or should I say, retaken his GCSE Maths papers, some twenty two years after this dismal first time around, and he's chuffed he got himself a C.

Now, he worked really hard at this, and good on him, I got a C in GCSE maths the first time around, and I am one of those people who think exams now are easier than back then, so my friend challenged me to open the exam board sample exam paper and do it...

So, I did, now I this was with no rehearsal, the Foundation paper, and unlike my exams, no calculator!... Yes, when I were a lad you always had your scientific calculator, but this exam has three papers, two with and one without, I was challenged to the one without (ironic for a computer programmer).

I set about the paper, and after 2 hours had finished, this was a 1 hour 30 minute paper, so a little worrying already, but we'll let that slide, and I also noted I had difficulty with fractional maths without a calculator, which I myself have always always reached for.

I had significant difficulty too as I've forgotten about simultaneous equations, I was proper scratching my head, the feeling that I knew it once was there, but the practical was gone... So I expected to have lost 6 marks already...

I was stunned therefore when told I'd scored just 50 from 79 marks.

Interestingly though one of the questions my mate did say my answer made more sense than the one in the answer paper, I'd used common sense rather than explain how I picked a median group... so he'd deducted two marks as there were no workings, but I'd gotten 1 of the 3 marks available for just being right... I personally feel I should get all three marks for just being right, lets face it, if you put down a good answer you knock confidence!  And I was right, somewhere in my noggin I crunched the figures and I was hard-wired to be right, why should that be penalised?

I've always thought the right answer should get full marks, and only if it's the wrong answer should the working be looked at, but this marking scheme was "A1" they got the answer, but only is "M1 and M2" in the workings... and I'm like, no... A1, they got it, it was right, they passed, stop pussy fucking footing around, they were right... And then if they were wrong, see how far wrong, and feed that back into your course for next year, if 20% of candidates get such and such wrong, but the workings look right, your course might have a fault, or you might have to clarify the teaching material, not punish the candidate who was right all along!

It beggars belief.

But I was truly surprised how hard the exam was, harder because of no calculator for me, but for a foundation level exam it was pretty comprehensive to me, and it has given me a better respect for those getting A's and A*'s today... They must bloody work hard, or at least have learned the procedures for the questions by rote.

The question I have, which remains is, what does 50/79 mean in terms of a grade?... Hmmm... I recon I'm in the C category again, just like I was first time around... Hey ho.

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