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How many GCSEs?


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#1 Canopus

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 12:31 AM

How many GCSEs do you think is a reasonable number for most kids with AS?

 

Take into account that back in the days of O Levels most kids took 8 subjects. Biology, chemistry, and physics counted as three separate subjects. In recent years it's commonplace for kids to take 12 GCSEs but is this really too many subjects for their own good?

 

Are there any particular subjects that are not worth taking because nobody sees value in them?

 

Are there any particular subjects that a high proportion of kids with AS struggle badly with?



#2 pinklemon

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Posted 06 March 2017 - 03:07 PM

It depends on the individual.  I sat 7 Standard Grades and I'll admit that with minimal effort and study efforts I had 6 top grades and 1 middle grade.  I didn't like the way maths was taught in my school and I ditched it as quickly as I could. I regret it because I have started reteaching myself it and I'm enjoying it. I now realise that I could have done so much better if I'd studied it independently. I'm sure being in my early twenties now helps a fair bit, though.  

 

1.  What interests them the most is definitely essential!

2. Where they are strongest is equally so.

3. English, Maths and a science are definitely essentials at GCSE level.Maybe a double science? 

4. History could be good if the curriculum reflects something that interests them? But it depends on them.

5. I did a technical class at an equivalent qualification - woodwork. I enjoyed it despite having fine motor issues. It was just memorisation mostly and classwork (not sure of the curriculum in England).

6. Psychology is good at a lower level but it depends on personal interests. I don't recommend sociology because from personal experience I've found that sometimes wrapping around the irritatingly inflated writing styles of traditional writings quite frustrating. That said, I minored in it at University.  

7. A politics/government subject isn't bad either, I did it in high school and enjoyed it. Majored in it at university. However, I know that this is all subjective and it depends on the individual. 

7. Computing is an obvious choice (I got a top grade in it, but never continued it :(

 

I know there are a lot of variety in the subjects offered in England that aren't available where I am. I know ones that demand a strong vocal component (languages + audio tests?) might be difficult for most. I was great at reading and pretty good at writing in foreign language, but I struggled to comprehend what was being said, and obviously communication is a bit of a struggle.  So,uhm,  maybe starting out in the usual number and then having the option to drop some if it proves too much is the best compromise.  I think there are a core set you must take for a good standard of general education no matter your interests.   

 

I think the varied amount of subjects is good that it lets kids explore their options. Find something that appeals to them to carry on at A-level. Which I find pretty good and wish the Scottish system could reflect better.  I should probably add that I am still waiting for my assessment as an adult, so this is just retrospect consideration of my own experience while being undiagnosed. 


Edited by pinklemon, 06 March 2017 - 03:11 PM.


#3 Canopus

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 07:44 PM

Luke Jackson wrote about there being hardly any GCSE options because most subjects were compulsory.

 

Do you think that schools make kids take too many subjects or too diverse a range of subjects.



#4 dgeorgea

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 08:38 AM

My daughter took 12 and got 12 A* to C, most at A* and A

 

While she chose to do GCSEs there were a number of courses she could have taken which would have given her several Level 3 certificates (GCSE equivalents)

 

I know there are subjects which are seen as 'soft' or worthless, but I do not prescribe to this.

 

My daughter was not keen on textiles, seeing very little value in this subject. After school she got into Cosplay, and makes most of her own clothes and props. Once I was happy this was not just a quick phase/interest I bought her a sewing machine to make things easier. If she needs something embroidered she asks me, a skill I first learned at school, and has given me a lot of pleasure over the years.

 

Another skill I learned at school which has stood me in good stead over the years was typing. This has helped me to move from manual work, I am no longer able to do to office based work.

 

However I agree with Pinklemon it will depend a lot on the individual.



#5 Canopus

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 06:48 PM

There has been criticism that as well as English, maths, and science, many secondary schools have been known to make every student take:

 

1. A humanity

 

2. An arts subject

 

3. A foreign language

 

4. A technology subject

 

5. Religious studies

 

6. ICT

 

It has caused problems by making kids take subjects that they are no good at as well as preventing them from taking combinations of subjects they want to take. For example, history and geography not possible. Two foreign languages not possible. Electronic products and business studies not possible. Art and drama not possible.

 

The situation has changed a bit now that foreign languages and technology subjects are no longer compulsory but schools can still impose their own rules.

 

I hold a view that some subjects are harder or softer than others as many shades of grey but I refuse to recognise a demarcation line between what is a hard subject or a soft subject. Such a demarcation line could cause developments in education to stagnate.



#6 dgeorgea

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Posted Today, 07:52 AM

Hi Canopus,

 

I don't have a problem with the selection you have shown above, but then I believe that education up to the age of 16 should be broad, with the option to either specialise in a smaller number at A level or to continue with a broader education with ebac or bac.

 

I am sad to hear that a combination of Geography and HIstory is restricted in some schools.

 

Yes some subjects are harder, while some are easier, but I would disagree that because a subject is easier it is necessarily useless. My education was unusual as I attended a special needs school. So while we did the main subjects maths, English, general science, history, maths, history, geography, technology (ICT we didn't have a single computer) we also did less traditional subjects such as child development, home economics and typing. Over the years I also did canoeing, archery, abseiling and rock climbing, as well as PE, swimming and sport.

 

One of the current issues with education is it has been such a political football over the years. One of the most damaging is the league tables. This has resulted in some schools restricting or removing some subjects, such as history because previously poor performance has lowered their place in the league tables. Another crude measurement has been the introduction of SATs. This toxic combination has caused many schools to concentrate on results at the expense of a proper education. Fall behind on one of the basics, maths or English will have a knock on effect with students falling further behind. But teachers have little choice to move on to the next part of the curriculum. Yet while parents are expected to use these two measures to determine their child's future, and politician are too happy to compare to very different performing schools, the government has one main criteria to comparing schools, which is the number of students on free school meals.

 

One of the most pathetic spectacles I have seen is a primary head from a school in a high deprivation area going to a primary school in an affluent area to see how she could improve things for the students at her school and come back with only one suggestion. For parents to buy spelling books and get the children to learn how to spell ten words each week. This in a school where many students did not own a book or used the local library.

 

It is no wonder our education system is failing so many children.






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