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Why do they split GCSEs into foundation/higher tier?

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    I've always wondered this. Why do they have different papers?
    I know that some students may not be able to do the higher level questions, but surely they should at least get a go? I just think it's a bit unfair how if you're forced to take foundation papers then you have no possible way of getting and A or B I don't understand why?
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    (Original post by Pen Island)
    I've always wondered this. Why do they have different papers?
    I know that some students may not be able to do the higher level questions, but surely they should at least get a go? I just think it's a bit unfair how if you're forced to take foundation papers then you have no possible way of getting and A or B I don't understand why?
    Nobody is forced to take foundation. The last decision is yours, although your school may strongly advise it.

    Some students struggle very much with certain subjects, and to put it very simply: the higher tier papers are more difficult. So the idea is that it becomes easier to get a C (i.e. a pass) doing foundation tier than getting a C in a higher tier paper. Higher papers tend to have a mix of difficulty of questions, but they tend to be mostly more difficult, with a few easier ones popped in now and then.

    Foundation tier never goes up to the difficulty of A and B questions, thus giving those who struggle with a subject more of a chance to pass. In summary to your question, those who are at risk of failing important subjects like English or Maths especially, may opt for foundation to give themselves a bigger chance of passing.
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    I've never really thought about that. I guess there are three groups of people. The above average group of people who have the ability to get high grades and can easily handle a challenge. Those who aren't so academic and might struggle with things the above average group of people find basic. And then there is the people in the middle, who will probably be strong in some subjects and weaker in others, and unfortunately teacher underestimate those people and put them in foundation tier to 'play it safe'.
    I don't think you should ever be forced to take foundation - it should be your decision!
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    It makes it more accessible to those trying to achieve C's, its better to give them easier questions they can attempt and do well on as oppose to ones where theyll do poorly on and just get disheartened
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    Ah OK I guess it kind of makes sense for giving people a bigger chance of passing. And also I guess otherwise the higher grade students will be doing questions that are too easy for them (probably making it easier to pass).
    But yeah at our school they told you what paper you had to do and didn't let you choose. The only exception was my best friend, and it took a lot of persuading her teacher to let her do higher (she was in the lowest set) - good thing they let her because she ended up getting a B, is now getting A's at English Lit A level and is going to do it at uni in September... It's cases like hers that make me wonder why they don't just do one set exam for everybody.

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