dwj-digest (Diana Wynne Jones) V1 #929

Rosemary Hopkins rosieburroughs at yahoo.com
Fri Dec 17 06:56:38 EST 2004


 --- deborah.dwj at suberic.net wrote: 
> If someone here was tracked and not into top track, and doesn't mind
> talking about it, that would add salt to the conversation.  ;)

Well, sort of. When I went to senior school, I was on a 13+
scholarship, so I was automatically put into the top set for everything
for my first year. This ignored the fact that I'd had a choice of
subjects for the scholarship exam, and hadn't done any sciences, and in
the compulsory maths paper I'd got an E. (It also meant that I did
Latin and not IT, because of *course* people who are intelligent enough
to do Latin will never need IT skills, but that's a whole different
argument - it was a very traditional school.) At my prep school I'd
done four years of biology, but only two of "science" which was what
they called the combined physics and chemistry course. So I spent the
whole of my first year at senior school struggling at the bottom of
physics and chemistry classes which were taught at the level of the
best in the class (future Oxbridge medicine graduates), and I only
scraped through the end-of-year exams.

At the end of that year we had to make our GCSE choices, and I was
advised to do only one science (one, plus maths, was compulsory), so
that they could put me in the lower set; people who were capable of two
automatically went into the higher. This suited me fine! I picked
chemistry, went into the lower set, and it was *wonderful*. We were
lucky enough to have a very good and patient teacher, who made sure
everyone understood one step before moving on to the next, but I think
just not being expected to be very bright was a big help for me. And I
got an A in my exam!

I spent the two GCSE years begging to be put down into the second maths
set (of four) where I wouldn't have to do the special extension paper,
but that didn't work. In fact I got an A in maths as well, but only
with a lot of help from the teacher (another good one, even if he did
call me Bonz all the time), a lot of extra coaching in the holidays,
and my good mental arithmetic cancelling out my appalling projects. And
I failed the extension paper.

Make what you will of all this!

Rosie


		
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