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2019 AQA GCSE English Language Marking

Discussion in 'English' started by seagrass77, Sep 19, 2019.

  1. seagrass77

    seagrass77 New commenter

    I am a parent of a pupil who sat AQA GCSE English this year in an independent school. He was predicted 8 for both Literature and Language. He scored 8s and 9s in all of his other subjects including English Literature but a 5 for English Language. This was surprising so his papers were recalled and reviewed by his teachers and a remark was suggested. Both papers came back unchanged which was disappointing as he was one mark off 6. C'est la vie, you win some, you lose some.

    I was going to leave it there but I did some research online to look at the expereince of other students. My son's experience with AQA English Language GCSE marking seems to be mirrored by many other students: predicted 8s ending up as 5s. They all report peers who have had the reverse experience; predicted 5s and ending up with 8s. My son has parents who have the financial resources to explore this further but many of the students in his position do not. Is there a systemic issue here or are their experiences all just coincidental aberrations?

    Also, would you advise I appeal the remark? I noticed in an earlier thread another contributor with an identical situation:

    "My daughter received a grade ( English) which was 3 grades below her target grade in August. The school immediately put in for a review of the scripts and they came back unchanged. Since then, both papers have been through the appeal process and she has been awarded 21 extra marks in total."

    I'd be grateful for any advice.
  2. pianopete

    pianopete Occasional commenter

    I agree that a number of results this year were unpredictable - we certainly found that in our cohort of 240 - in both directions. Having seen a few papers, I've had no qualms with the marking I've seen. Very few of our marking reviews have resulted in any changes to grades. We were certainly surprised by the difference in performance between our internal trial exams and the final outcomes for a number of students.

    It could be down to text choice on the day. The unseen nature of language can throw some students. Sometimes those working at the higher end look too deeply or in too literary a way at unseen texts, especially non-fiction. Sometimes a text "speaks" to a lower starting point student and they do unexpectedly well.

    Also, the exams fall after the May half-term and I feel that, despite our efforts, because it is an "unseen" exam students often prioritise more revision in the "knowledge" areas of subjects, thinking that they can just read it on the day and see what happens. The nature of the exam does make revision harder unless students are explicitly taught strategies and given plenty of extracts to support unseen practice.
    dodie102 likes this.
  3. gruoch

    gruoch Established commenter

  4. markuss

    markuss Occasional commenter

    A "review", technically, is not a "re-mark". In a subject where there is an element of examiner's judgment, if the original judgment was not actually at odds with the mark scheme, then on review, the original mark will stand, even if the senior who is reviewing might have judged a bit differently and awarded a different mark. (Bit like the DRS for lbw in criket.)
  5. smatseyuk

    smatseyuk New commenter

    This happened to my daughter 2 years ago. I am an examiner myself so we recalled the script, asked for a review, no change and no change after an expensive appeal. She sat the exam again the following summer and got a 9. She did not do any revision or preparation. It's a subjective judgement and at the top end it becomes even more subjective and open to interpretation.
  6. saluki

    saluki Lead commenter

    Is this important in the grand scheme of things?
    I assume your child is not going to study English at A level. Your child is obviously brilliant at some other subjects. He is obviously going to do well in some other subjects at A level and go to University and do well.
    Why exactly is it important that he has a clean sweep of Grade 8/9 at GCSE??
    Who is it important to? You? The school??
    Shall I tell you a secret? Once you start A levels no-one really cares about your GCSE results. Once you have gained a place at Uni no-one cares much about your A level results. Once you go on to post-graduate studies no-one cares much about your degree classification. Once you enter the workplace it's how you perform that matters as much as your qualifications. By the time he is 21 GCSE English will be long forgotten.
    If he is going into medicine or something that requires high GCSE English he can re-take.
    I have a friend that is always boasting that her offspring went to a prestigious university. The offspring didn't get a good degree, didn't cover itself in glory in its career and is now a drop out hanging around with dubious company. Yet mother keeps boasting to everyone that offspring went to prestigious university. No-one cares.
    Be thankful that you have a brainy child who is going to do well.
    tatiana_bateson likes this.
  7. seagrass77

    seagrass77 New commenter

    You make some very salient points and I agree with much of what you say. Indeed I would go further. Learning to live with disappointment and move on is a very valuable lesson.

    Also whose to say that even if he was under marked on this particular exam he wasn’t over marked on another? Swings and roundabouts as they say!

    But I’ve since found out that our son’s school has asked for an unprecedented number of AQA English language GCSE papers to be remarked. So far 30% of his peers have moved up at least one grade boundary. None have gone down. That would suggest a systemic issue but I could very well be wrong.

  8. CandysDog

    CandysDog Established commenter

    If there is a trend in undermarking (usually half of a set of marking reviews changing by at least 5%), then the exam board is obliged to look further into the marking of the whole centre (in the old days, the whole lot would be remarked, with candidates’ existing grades protected, but that’s not an option anymore).

    See https://www.jcq.org.uk/Download/exa...-results-services-june-2019-and-november-2019 (page 13).

    Having said all that, it is likely the school’s scripts were marked by lots of different examiners.
  9. seagrass77

    seagrass77 New commenter

    GOOD NEWS! A quick update on my original post. We appealed the original decision and one paper came back unchanged. We then went further and appealed this appeal which gruoch mentioned in this thread.

    We have just heard back that his AQA English Language mark has moved from a 5 to an 8.

    Thank you to all of you who offered your advice and support. However, who is fighting for those other students who, having found themselves in the same position as my son, did not have the financial resources to pursue this course of action?

  10. Hi, I’m glad to hear you got a good outcome. So did you win at a Preliminary Appeal or did you have to go to the 2nd stage (Appeal Panel hearing)?
  11. seagrass77

    seagrass77 New commenter

    It was the 2nd stage (about £250 which was reimbursed). The papers came back unchanged from first stage.
  12. angrypixie

    angrypixie New commenter

    That's awful. So sorry you had to ge through all that to get the right grade. That's the problem with English marking. I have to say, though, that as a marker I find the system so much more rigorous than it was a few years' ago when it was all marked on paper. I am surprised that this happens as the system is so good. I can only assume that one marker's opinions may be so different to anothers as sometimes you read something and you think 'that's either very original and insightful or absolutely ridiculous and you can't decide which it is!'
    annemariemichelle likes this.

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