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Scottish Qualification Authorities Standard Grade

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SQA is a national body responsible for the development, accreditation, assessment and certification of qualifications taken in schools, colleges and workplaces across Scotland.

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    • More +
      27.10.2008 20:18
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      A High Expected course...

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      Scottish Qualifications Authorities Scotland
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      I have been planning on writing a reveiw on the Scottish Qualifications Authorities Scotland course for a while now and is really something I believe that may be important for parents or the younger generations on this site because if you ever decided to pack away your things and have it away to Scotland with the family to stay and live there, then your child's education is the most important thing...

      Some of you may already know about the Standard Grade course, but for those of you who may not which will include DooYooer's from England, Ireland and Wales, then hopefully this reveiw will give you the confidence that you can send your child to a high school to be studying the Standard Grade course in years to come, but if they are 14 - 16 then the time for the course is then!!!...

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      What Is The Standard Grade Course?
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      The Standard Grade course or " Standard Grades " as they are called, is a two year course taken by pupil's of a Scottish school at the ages of 14 to 16. The Standard Grade course is obviously very long, and most of you will know that in England and Wales GCSE's are taken, well they certainly aren't much different from the Standard Grades which makes the Standard Grades and the GCSE's equivilants. The Standard Grade course actualy replaced the " O " level course some years ago around the 1980's or the 1990's...

      I feel that the Standard Grade course is a very vital part in your education as it is much more interesting for you in some parts other than your other schooling years you have had in the past. The Standard Grade course opens you up to having a career in mind as you are given the choice of several subjects when you have to make your choices for what you will take in thrid year, the first year of the Standard Grade course.

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      Grading
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      Wehn you sit your standard grades, unlike GCSE', your SG's are graded in one's and two's and not A's and B's. The system works like this -

      1 and 2 are credit ( highest level ) grades at standard grade. Equivilant to A and B.
      3 and 4 are general ( middle level ) grades at standard grade. Equivilant to C and D.
      5 and 6 are foundation ( lowest level ) grades at standard grade. Equivilant to D in GCSE form.
      7 means that you have failed the course. Equivilant to an F...

      I Myself have recieved every one of these grades for different subjects. Like for French I've had
      3's but for Computing I've had 1's, you just really have to concentrate and know what you want to acheive...
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      The Courses
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      In the Standard Grade course, you can take eight different subjects to study over the course of two years. Each subject comes under a different category, and the Scottish Qualifications Authority ( SQA ) decide for a Standard Grade pupil to take a course in -

      English ( Compulsory )
      Mathmatics ( Compulsory )
      A Sceince
      A Social Sceince
      A Langauge


      Now these five category's have many different courses inside them, of course English is placed on it's own, and so is Mathematics but they count as two compulsory subjects which mean you have to study them in the Standard Grade course. There are only five subject category's that the SQA want you to take, but the rest is up to you. Every subject on the entire Standard Grade course list for Scotland are -

      Social Sceinces -

      History
      Economics
      Geography
      Modern Studies
      Social Studies
      Social and Vocational Skills
      Religeous and Moral Education ( RME )

      Langauges -

      French
      German
      Spanish
      English ( Compulsory )
      Russian
      Italian
      Urdu
      Gaelic

      Sceintific and Envioromental Studies -

      Biology
      Standard Grade Sceince
      Physics
      Chemistry
      Home Economics

      Expressive Arts -

      Physical Education ( P:E )
      Craft and Design
      Art and Design
      Music
      Drama
      Graphic Communication

      IT -

      Technological Studies
      Information Systems
      Computing Studies

      Mathematics -

      Accounting and Finance
      Mathematics
      Administration
      Business Management

      Classics -

      Latin
      Classic Greek

      So you see that there is so many courses you can take in the Standard Grade course. At some schools, some languages and the Social Sceinces are unavailable, but are at schools further up the m as Gaelic is more popular up the north of Scotland as it is more to do with that area.

      Im not so sure about the rest of the subjects and how they are graded, but the subjects I took were -

      English -

      I had no choice. The subject is compulsory by law and is actualy fairly interesting in the reading part, and you really do use your imagination when writing several peices for your folio of work. Your final English grade is added up when you produce fivepeices of writing which enter your folio for the end of the two years, your close reading passage questions and answers, and your spoken grade which is when you produce a talk in front of the teacher or in the class...

      Maths -

      I had no choice of this subject either. I really do enjoy maths so far as there are different parts which are quite interesting and you may use in the future, although there are parts which will be useless when you leave school, even the teacher has said so!. My favourite part of the course was Trigonometry which we as a class have completed. It is the study of angles and triangles which may sound boring but quite interesting. You will sit two papers, the general and foundation, or the general and the credit. Everyone will sit the general, and if you are a higher working candidate then you will be working towards credit level papers...

      French -

      French is the foreighn language I decided to take. I do enjoy French sometimes, however I think that school's expect too much from you in the modern languages, although a challenge is good sometimes but when you have seven other subjects to worry about, these sort of problems aren't good to have. Your French grade is counted up by your spoken grade, your reading grade, your writing folio grades and your listening grades. All in all there are many parts of the course and in the 4th year, you will try writing peices which can be a little tricky to remember when you have to write them in full seperatly. Your reading and listening are again divided into Foundation/General and Credit/General...

      SG Sceince -

      This is a Sceince for those who did not acheive a good grade in previous Sceince classes. I never liked the previous classes because of the teachers and I did not know what to revise so I didn't get a great grade, but in my last Sceince test after producing a series of easy practical tasks, I got the highest grade in the class after everyone failed the general and I got a 3 4. I got onto the Credit paper which was tricky and managed to receive a 2 which I am happ with. I have noticed that this Science is very easy yet useless...

      Geography -

      The name makes me cringe. I hate Geography for several reasons. The work they make you do is ridiculous, they never explain answers in a proper way in the exam and the class is annoying making me lose concentration at times. I work with my friend in Geography and usually manage to get the work done even though I hardly know much about it. You will sit two papers, Foundationg and General or Credit and General, they are all very very tricky...

      Music -

      I love Music and have liked it at school for a while ever since I played the Cello and Piano which I suck at and I don't like the instruments. In music now I am doing voice and percussion which I highly enjoy. You also have to present a composing peice of scottsih music which means you create a peices of music, not very entertaining. You also have to sit a listening paper as well as performing and composing which is mainly about types and styles of older music. I do like music and would like to take it in higher hopefully. I hope to acheive an A for this enjoyable yet patient subject...

      Drama -

      Drama was my most favourite subject until I lost faith in the subject and was forced in a group with some people who take over a little bit and waste time. I do like this subject although I don't think I can act but I am told I am great at the theory part which I can agree on. You will sit two papers in the final exam which are the credit and general and foundation and general papers. I myself am a general/credit pupil even though I am not great at drama. Your final grade is made up of your presenting, creating and writing peices which contain evaluation of self and others...

      Computing Studies -

      Computing Stuides is a subject my parents wanted me to take although it isn't my favourite but I am currently in the top class somehow. I have had results from 1 and 2 with one mark from a 1 because of unexplained sections of the theory part. You are set tasks on and off the computers, where you have the theory side of things, programming ( which I hate ) and other tasks like databases. All of the theory is very tricky and programming is very hard and takes a while to get your head around. A good subject, useful but tiring and boring...


      === My Opinion ===

      Overall there are great amounts of subjects you can take which can be very hard and some are easier than others, but really the tasks you have been set need a lot of patience if you want to acheive better grades each time. The subjects I took are very boring and I don't learn anything from them but the others I do and enjoy them. I think that of course others are more intellegent than others but should still be treated the same way as they can learn at different paces in mixed classes like my music class. I really think that to achieve the best possibles grades that you need to study whenever you can as it is very important as is homework, and i you are struggling then you may find yourself buying books of the courses or asking teachers which are great helps...


      === Tips For Study ===

      Pay Attention
      Take In Information As You Write
      Revise Revise Revise!
      Do Your Homework Properly
      Ask Teachers If You Feel Stuck
      Give Yourself A Chance To Shine!.

      Thank you for reading...
      (c) 2008 J24

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      • More +
        19.09.2008 20:33
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        Excellent, opened up so many oppertunities!

        Wow, I loved writing a review that has been such a big part of my life! When I disappeared for a while when I first joined DooYoo it was because I was studying my Standard Grades. So when randomly searching for catergories I was so glad DooYoo added this. For all you English, Welsh, Irish and unknowing Scot's of the Scottish education system, this is for you.

        What Is A Standard Grade?
        The Scottish education system is quite bit different to others in the UK. It is basically the GCSE of Scotland. It is studied by 3rd and 4th years at High School with the ages from 14-16. They are usually 2 year course but I have seen them being condensed into one year course, then allowing an extra year for Higher (AS Level.) Now my best friend is from Yorkshire, so she was able to inform me about GSCE's and AS Levels which is handy. So it is the first certificated level of entry which usually allows entry into colleges and the step to Higher Education courses.

        What Courses Can You Take?
        Everyone has to do English and Maths. It is compulsory which makes sense as those are possibly the most important subjects, no matter where you are. There is a big range of subjects avaliable but it does vary on where you live and what school you go to.
        Sciences: Biology, Human Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Technological Sciences and Home Economics.
        Social Subjects: History, Geography, Modern Studies, Religious Studies, Classics and Economics.
        IT: Computing Studies, Accounting, Administration and Business Management.
        Languages: French, Spanish, Scot's Gaelic, German, Italian, Urdu and Russian.
        Arts: Drama, Art, Music, Graphics and Craft And Design.
        Others: P.E, Woodwork, Engineering and Sports Studies

        It does vary from school to school. Like if you live up north your much more likely to do Scot's Gaelic. Urdu and Italian for example aren't avaliable at my school but are more likely to be taught in Urban high schools. But there is a big variety to choose from so you get to pick 6 subjects to study and get Maths and English compulsory. So over two years you study 8 subjects at standard grade level.

        Grading System
        When I first started my Standard Grades the grading system did confuse me a lot. Basically how it works is you can't really 'fail' it. You get levels which are categorised into Credit, General and Foundation. It is graded by a 1 to a 7.
        Credit- 1 and 2
        General- 3 and 4
        Foundation- 5 and 7
        Credit is the highest you can achieve with a one being like an A is some respects. A 7 however is not a fail it is just basically showing you have done the course but haven't really learnt much from it. You can get a UPO which is as near as a fail as you can get. Most people will be aiming for Generals and Credits, as these can be used to get into Higher courses and college. All through your 2 years of study you will be tested to see what you estimate grade will be. This is then used to find out which papers you should sit.
        Everyone on the course will sit the general then optional Credit or Foundation paper. For potential Credit students, the General paper is a safety net incase of a problem in the final exam. A very good idea as I found out in my prelim. A prelim in the exam you sit before your final exam, again as a safety net. I didn't do very well in my Physics and Computing Prelims and didn't achieve what I wanted but it is good to see what I did wrong so I don't do it again for the final exam. The grading system overall is a bit confusing but very good and fair, allowing candidates the chance to get as best grades as they can.

        Learning
        Well, Standard Grades are the first taste of real work. My favouite subject I discovered was History and really enjoyed learning about the Russian Revolution and World War 1. I did take all three sciences, just to see if it was the route for me but then found I didn't really enjoy Biology or Physics very much. I did really like Chemistry however. You get tested in each subject around every month, this doesn't just have to be a class test, sometimes a homework or even a project.
        I really enjoyed a majority of the classes. Some days, I didn't want to be there etc, but that is just when I have an off day. Sometimes we went on trips, if you see some of my reviews, like Botanical Gardens, Scottish Parliament and the Lake District. These were excellent, and very helpful. I thought they were very good courses and i'm glad I took, what I did.

        My Results
        Well I only got my exam results in July so it is still pretty fresh in my mind. I actually got mine by text message, although it also came by post. You can sign up through this service, incase your on holiday etc which I thought was a very good idea. It gave you a basic breakdown of what you got. So when I screamed out of happiness you can maybe see why...
        Chemistry- 1
        Biology- 1
        Physics- 1
        Computing- 1
        Home Ec- 1
        History- 1
        Maths- 2
        English- 1
        I was so happy with my results, all credits! All my friends got roughly what they wanted, some even got more, expecting general grades then get credits. This lets me get into Higher courses, or if I wanted to, College courses. I was wanting to do my Highers first and try for university however. So was overall very happy with my results.

        Conclusion
        Well every 14-16 year old at High School in Scotland does sit their Standard grades which is such a useful part of education. If you have Credit or General Standard Grades you now have so many pathways you could follow. Whether it be an apprenticeship, college, higher education and much more. After 16 a student can leave school if they want to which I'm not personally planning to do, so I will be disappearing for a while, with my highers.

        It's really nice to write about something that has been such a big part of my life and hopefully my highers will be well and I will be off to University next year, actually that is a really scary thought...!

        Janie x

        P.S. Just a quick thanks to everyone who has supported and given me advice education wise through out my time on DooYoo, also I dedicate this review to Jordan2493 who is currently studying his Standard Grades, good luck!

        Copyright of Scotlandizdabest 2008- On DooYoo

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