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  • Nat 5s anyone?
  • Premier Icon chickenman
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    Anyone else’s progeny the guinea pigs for the new Curriculum for Excellence exams starting next week? 😯

    Premier Icon ohrats
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    Im doing them myself next week. The opportunity to display skills through course work that takes exam-day pressure away from potentially under-confident students can’t be a bad thing IMO. However the way the school has delivered the course in some subjects has been unhelpful, we ended up doing the two-year course in 7 months with all the revision materials coming from old (potentially irrelevant) Int 2 materials and comically the computing textbook being released for purchase a few weeks ago…

    Premier Icon househusband
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    However the way the school has delivered the course in some subjects has been unhelpful…

    Schools have been struggling in delivering the course due (amongst several reasons) to the documents for the qualifications themselves being released only before the summer holidays – and then, more often than not, changed and revised over the summer holidays. This will have had a knock-on effect on the development work that teaching staff will have done for the new courses.

    …we ended up doing the two-year course in 7 months

    It isn’t a two-year course.

    …with all the revision materials coming from old (potentially irrelevant) Int 2 materials and comically the computing textbook being released for purchase a few weeks ago…

    Indeed, as above. There aren’t any past papers for teaching staff to use and examples of exam questions only came out a few months ago!

    Premier Icon chickenman
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    Certainly the kids and teachers have been busting a gut trying to get through the course work, particularly as our school foolishly choose to do 8 subjects (maybe on the premise that they would be easier than previous ones..)

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
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    Househusband has it.

    A) Particularly the SQA have been unhelpful in all this.
    B) Authorities and schools have been poorly supported, with lots of information missing or late or ‘you work out our and tell us how it is’.
    C) Authorities and schools have equally not been organised amongst themselves. Why they has not been more Co ordinated planning and designing of courses and materials I don’t know…. Mind you, see points a) and b) above.
    D) some schools, teachers, authorities, HMIE and (mainly) parents are struggling with what CfE really is, and what the prize is if we really can get how and what we teach changed, to produce creative, confident and robust learners. Secondary schools are 3-5 years behind many primary’s in implementing these changes in approach and attitude. But once again, they are up against parents and many authorities that just don’t get it.

    Hats off to any secondary teachers up here this last year. They are fighting to get the kids a good grade and a decent learning experience- with naff all resources and a lot of opposition.

    Premier Icon Northwind
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    We’re on the outside of it but the advice we’re seeing from the SQA just makes us think they haven’t a clue what’s going to happen. It’s all wait and see, advise will follow results, etc. Not confidence inspiring, hope it plays out better than it seems…

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
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    The SQA issue is because an exam board, who have little to do with teaching and learning, just want everything to fit into standard exam paper and standard ‘we test, you do’ format. And the new Nationals and CfE require a totally different approach and questioning. IME, the SQA staff couldn’t and wouldnt do what is being required.

    Premier Icon ohrats
    Free Member

    It isn’t a two-year course.

    I’m pretty sure it is. I.e. The third and fourth years are spent completing the int2/new nat5 course, fifth year on highers and sixth years on advanced highers/highers.

    particularly as our school foolishly choose to do 8 subjects

    Most of our year group are doing 8/9 subjects of a nat5 int2 mix.

    Premier Icon househusband
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    I’m pretty sure it is.

    And, as a Scottish secondary school teacher, I’m pretty sure it isn’t!

    However some schools may decide to stretch it out over two years but the qualification itself, like Intermediate 1’s and 2’s, is designed to be taught and attained in one session. For instance, in the case of the school at which I teach, the pupils make subject choices at the end of S2 and spend S3 gaining a background that should put them in good stead for N4 or N5 but does not contribute toward the qualification itself. They then undertake the actual qualification itself in S4, or indeed S5.

    I’m teaching pupils that have decided to change subjects at the end of S3 this missing out on that year of background preparation. Also pupils that have walked straight in at the start of S5/6.

    Most of our year group are doing 8/9 subjects of a nat5 int2 mix.

    That’s why your school has opted to make it a two-year course; they’ve stretched it out. My school is only offering six as they’re effectively doing them over one year – but at the expense of choice… but that’s a whole new argument that parents often mention!

    Premier Icon ohrats
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    Ah I see, I stand corrected. I think its a similar set up in third year at our school as well but instead of doing background stuff we actually start on the first and second units of the course.

    Premier Icon TroutWrestler
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    You shouldn’t be starting Nat 3/4/5 in S3. S3 is part of the Junior Phase and should still be focussing on the Broad General Education. All qualifications form part of the Senior Phase (S4/5/6) and are intended to be one year courses.

    While I can see the temptation for schools to embark on Nat 3/4/5 earlier (ie S3), this goes against the entire premise of a Curriculum for Excellence.

    Premier Icon onehundredthidiot
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    Good news is nat5 exam is “accessible” in some subjects. Or so I may have been told.

    Premier Icon househusband
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    Has anyone seen the ‘Ask Sam’ leaflet that was handed out to pupils candidates this week? My favourite was the answer to the appeals question…

    Premier Icon thecrookofdevon
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    Another Secondary Teacher here.
    Nat 4/5 etc are designed to be done in 1 year typically S4 (although they can still be done in S5/6). Initially schools were criticized for not following the Broad General Education up to the end of S3 and daring to start work for the Nat 5’s. The situation has now changed, schools are criticized for not starting the Nat 5 courses in S3 as there is obviously not enough time to get through all the assessment and do the teaching and learning in S4. The phrase ‘omnishambles’ comes to mind.

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
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    You shouldn’t be starting Nat 3/4/5 in S3.

    Unless, like many sensible schools, your school year changes this week, and so our S1 son goes back to school tomorrow as an S2. 😉

    There is a real split in schools that have gone down the ‘less courses, more intense, repeat as needed’ route and the ‘start lots of courses, spread them out and hope’ approach. You can tell which I favour. 😉

    Premier Icon househusband
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    The phrase ‘omnishambles’ comes to mind.

    ‘Flustercuck’ (two letters may need rearranging) is another descriptive.

    Premier Icon thecrookofdevon
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    ‘Flustercuck’ – will have to employ that one in the very near future – probably when management change the school day again!

    Premier Icon novaswift
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    My daughter has started some 4th year work in 3rd year since returning from Easter break. Six subjects for her in 4th year. Apparently some of the prelim results from the current 4th yrs have been disastrous.

    Premier Icon TroutWrestler
    Free Member

    @MOAA – Tomorrow is a bit keen. How are the kids in the “new” S5 & S6 starting their courses as they’ll be sitting exams for the next few weeks? We start our “new” timetable on 2 June.

    Premier Icon onehundredthidiot
    Full Member

    Isn’t everyone heading towards 3/3, 3 years BGE and 3 years senior phase?

    We’re hitting new timetable in a month which is fine but due to a S4 no exam leave dictat, for those kids it’ll be a drag, as we’re finished the course. Hoping for sunshine and a bit of field chemistry in the park, pH readings etc.

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