The perils of homeschooling

Badri’s A level exam results were declared a few weeks ago. He got an A* in Computer Science and a d in English (AS). He was unfazed and had not “expected” or “not expected” any grade. And there the matter rested for a few days. But Sonati and I were not easy about this.

He had “studied” even less for his O Level English, and had got an A grade (or was it a B? I forget). Sonati and my gut feeling was that there was something wrong.

Badri was no help because he said (admittedly, in answer to a leading question) that he would not have been surprised if he had got a C in Computer Science.

The school was discouraging; admittedly in good faith:
“Just a caution – last year we did request this for our Art students, who received a lower grade than expected even by the expert external assessor. They had worked like mad for two years and expected a grade or two higher! But the response we got from CIE after re-eval was very disapppointing. It seemed to be the same person, and it was the same grade, with NO explanation of why they had done poorly that made any sense to us…”
“Some thoughts about the English exam. I feel it is not a trivial exam; as an estimate, students in the past have spent up to fifty hours (over about three months) preparing for it. Preparation included reading and understanding a textbook that explained basic concepts, working through several sets of exam papers and coming to a teacher for feedback, ideas for improving writing etc. Even with all this, some students only did moderately well.”

And the fee for the re-eval was 40 pounds per paper! That’s 80 pounds for two English papers times n rupees per pound! Bloody hell.

Then I awoke one morning with the remembrance of something similar from my Class 11 Chemistry exam at Xavier’s. I was travelling home on the bus with my Chemistry teacher and I tentatively asked him “Sir, how come I did so badly?” And he said, “What do you mean badly? You were top of the class.” It transpired that the office clerks had not added my Practical marks to the total. It was too late to change it on the Report card however, and Sukumar Verma said, “You; OK, you were tentative, but didn’t your parents think that they should kick up a fuss?”

And that day, serendipitously, we came across this Guardian article:

And on the CIE website, I saw that they would refund the fees in the case of a grade improvement.

And Sonati and I decided to indulge in this lottery. Yesterday, the d was revised upwards to a c.
Given the adrenaline rush that this “win in the lottery” has brought, we are tempted to ask for yet another re-eval. What would you say?

Double or Quits?


7 Responses to “The perils of homeschooling”

  1. pashwa Says:

    Hello. I think if I ever got an A* in computer science, I’d faint so fast, is never see the second grade!
    The evaluation and re evaluation systems seem so political and rigged that I’m not sure I’d bother getting it done a second time. If Badri needs a better grade to do some follow on studies or something, then perhaps it would be worth it. Otherwise, marks and grades mean so little to me personally, that I would just forget it. Love to you all x

  2. anjuli Says:

    Hello. Can you even ask for a second reevaluation? Otherwise, I agree with Pashwa. If you need it, sure. If you don’t, then why bother.
    PS. The same stuff happen, by the way, with schooled children’s examination results 🙂


  3. வெ. ராமசாமி Says:

    It is a bit bizarre that you can even ask for a second reval for a paper.
    And so the latest “way out” of one depressing, crazy reality turns out to be just a way in to another. What a bummer. Sigh.
    Having said this, I’d vote for “Double”. Like you say, Bloody hell.


  4. Neelima. Says:

    Just do it guys. You never know.

  5. manorama Says:

    I vote for double

  6. Suseela Kumaravel Says:

    Did you get your re eval fee back? Personally I would say ‘quits’ now. Love to all of you. Must catch up with you.

  7. Porcupine Says:

    If it was “SAK” scoring, I would be thrilled with anything better than a D in Comp Sci.

    In my 12th (CBSE – AISSCE) back in the days, I scored a 50 in my English. Dude who had trouble reading complete sentences in English got the highest in class – it was 64 IIRC. Most other English hard-hitters scored in the 50s, with one or two who crossed 60.

    Needless to say, I submitted the paperwork for re-eval. My score did not change one iota. Of course, I got my back on the testing world with a 770/800 in GRE Verbal :-).

    – Porcupine

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