As you know, I teach science. There are 3 possible options that students can sit for GCSE science at age 16: single science, double science and 3 separate sciences. Single & double are combined science which have aspects of biology, chemistry & physics. Most students do double science. The exams for all of these are next Wednesday, 7th June, in the afternoon. Every kid in the country, just about, will be sitting a science exam on that day, and I'm completely overworked right now with tutoring and group classes.
So, I'm trying to find out what the various double science syllabuses want the kids to know about white blood cells, disease, immunity and vaccination etc. There are 3 possible exam boards for these public exams, and each board offers at least 2 double science syllabuses to add severe overcomplication; but most of my kids are doing one of 2 syllabuses. Which theoretically should make things easier. Except, while AQA Co-ordinated specifies an entire page of content, going into a fair bit of detail about what's required, Edexcel B has all of 3 very vague lines. And I can't find a single exam question from an actual recent past exam on the topic. I can only find questions from books that are written to be roughly the same difficulty level, not actual past papers. This is despite there being 3 exam boards with 6 current syllabuses. I can find 3 separate science past paper questions on bacteria, disease and immunity coming out of my ears, but no double science ones. Am boggling, here.
I don't want to waste my time or theirs teaching them stuff they don't need a week before the exam, but why is it on the syllabus if they never ask about it?
The bit that kills me most about both of the Edexcel 3 separate science syllabuses is the bit about artificial insemination of cattle. I mean, have these examiners ever MET a class of 15 year olds? Let alone tried to TEACH them about this! The June 2004 paper, for example, features a picture of an "artificial vagina used to collect semen from a bull", for god's sake. I can't look at it without laughing!
But even worse than that is the stupid names the stud bulls have. "Ranby Viceroy is a Friesan bull. His semen is collected four times each week and each sample is diluted 50 times before storage. How many pregnancies could Ranby Viceroy be responsible for in one year?"
At least it's "Ranby" and not "Randy" - but it's near enough to kill all the dyslexics, for starters.
I honestly believe the examiners have never met a 15 y.o. in their lives, let alone ever tried to teach one, let alone tried to teach a whole class of them.