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A farce that ain't remotely funny!!!!

Discussion in 'Drama and performing arts' started by Crowbob, Aug 24, 2012.

  1. Crowbob

    Crowbob Lead commenter

    And you want to badmouth AQA for their incompetence? Let's hope that you haven't complained to AQA using this example or you could end up getting your students into a spot of bother.
    <h2>AQA GCSE Drama Written Paper (42401)</h2>

    June 2012 Examination

    Please note that no Texts or Personal Notes can be taken into the
    examination. Please ensure that this information is passed on to the
    invigilator(s) for the exam. Paragraph 4.2 of the Instructions for the
    Conduct of Examinations states that if candidates have any unauthorised
    material in an examination (whether or not they intend to use it), this
    may be considered as malpractice.

  2. Ooh calm down ! I don't want to fall out with you - you sound lovely. You're right though! My lack of sleep got in the way here and I was thinking of a student who forgot Antigone for her AS exam. None of my GCSE students took a play or anything else into the exam but irrespective of that the marks are not concomitant with any of those achieved in other subjects so A* students in a vast array of other subjects somehow lost the ability to write in a Drama written exam. Okay it must be my incompetence, I give up!!!
    PS - Just so you know though with the old spec I used to achieve nearly 50% A*s and I can't help but think the old spec was more difficult but, again, probably just me! [​IMG]
  3. ... Let's just question the validity or intelligence of chasing A* grades which as we all know are very few and far between at gcse in the main amongst all the boards. Why dont we think more about the actual needs of our ranks of innocent pupils who choose our subject because they love performing or writing plays and are interested in the myriad ways in which live theatre can impact upon them and emotionally touch both audience and performers, not to mention critically reflect our society and help build their self confidence as developing and creative individuals. Aim for the A by all means but don't think we've all failed if they don't get it. Lets simply teach the hell out of the specifications, foster a deep understanding and love for theatre, put on some amazing school productions and performance events ,go and see masses of live theatre and enjoy our lives. If we get A grades, fantastic..predict on the low side just in case, If the boards can't/won't give out A*.. So what..its not going to ruin my summer holidays..
  4. Well said. A* is only awarded for the top 5% of marks in the country, so it stands to reason one might not get any!
  5. corblimeyguvnor

    corblimeyguvnor New commenter

    Doesn't your school have an smt? Or exam targets? Departmental reviews? Exam review? I agree with your philosophy but in reality I have a head teacher breathing down my neck and kids and patents who value A* grades above all that. The fact is I often have students who get straight A* and wind up with a B in my subject. My head is not a drama teacher so to him (or to most logical people) it will inevitably look like I have not taught well. Thankfully not with GCSE this year. AS is another story. In my school we have predictions based on midyis tests and are expected to meet them or above. Personally I would love to teach in a happy vacuum where grades didn't matter but sadly in our statistics driven educational realm, I HAVE to care about A*.

    Just done an analysis. Our students all took the exam in the June of their Yr 10 and those who didn't achieve what they wanted retook this year. In almost every case 35 students failed to get anywhere near the UMS mark they achieved last year. eg: Top level conscientious student who got 93 last year (B) wanted to improve and got 56 (E) this year. This is true for 75% of my candidates and most of them have had to aggregate their Yr 10 mark. What this effectively means is that we must have un-taught them!! I have lost it with the woman at the board today and I suggest we all bombard them with complaints. We MUSTN'T let them get away with this any longer. It is scandalous. I notice the talk on the radio was mostly about English on results day. AaaaaaaaaaGH!!!!!

    This was my first attempt at an angry letter. It made me feel better but I won't send it because it no matter how bloody frustrated I am it won't have any effect. We don't wear the trousers!!!!

    Dear Sir/Madam,
    Following another day of despair analysing the staggering inconsistencies in the marking of the AQA Unit 1 I am writing to you to protest in the strongest possible terms.

    Please peruse the excel sheet attached:

    You will notice that my cohort of students finishing in 2012 also took the exam in 2011 to get some experience. The theory was that if any of them did well enough to be able to drop the written aspect in year 11. Four or five students did just that and I was happy with the way the paper was marked in that the results were predictable and consistent with my knowledge of the academic abilities of the students.

    The rest of the cohort re-took the exam this year to improve their grade. Twelve out of the sixteen candidates in year 11 who re-took were awarded less UMS points than when they took it the year before. And the majority of these weren?t even close. I draw your attention to candidate no: who achieved 96 (B) marks in 2011 and 53 (E) in 2012. Candidate no: achieves 66 (D) in 2011 and 36 (F) in2012. What these figures show to the outside world is that my colleagues and I are effectively ?un-teaching? our students and that a year?s more experience and hard-grind have enabled them to fail more catastrophically.

    What the figures say to me is that whoever has marked these papers has not read the mark scheme (which presumably is provided to eradicate subjectivity?)and (given the protection and anonymity the exam board provides) has plucked marks out of thin air and applied them to my students? hard work. This is akin to the paper-boy who throws his papers in the nearest bin and rides home on his bike with his pay.

    Let me state now that I am wholly dissatisfied with these occurrences (I had another such experience two years ago). AQA in its arrogance and impenetrability will require me to jump through numerous bureaucratic hoops and incur huge costs to re-mark or challenge their unassailable divine judgement.

    I would ask that my letter is passed on to the chief examiner and that he/she is able to help me compose a letter I must now send to all my students explaining the incompetence of my department.

    Yours Sincerely etc
  7. Ooh please send this letter. I am composing one of my own (I have no doubt mine will be somewhat less hilarious and potent) and think if we all protest eventually the farce that is Unit 1 marking may have to subside as teachers are livid and hardworking pupils are paying the price. You know, I always tell pupils that doing Drama improves confidence but many of mine are looking at their written exam mark and opting out of A-level Drama as they no longer have the belief in themselves that they can do this subject! That's one reason why we have to be careful with the strategical -exam board- games at play here!!!!
  8. Read my post in AQA GCSE results re: WJEC GCSE Drama and then CHANGE BOARDS! Then write a letter to AQA explaining exactly why you have left them and refuse to pay them any more money! Since they are profit making entities that is the only way that exam boards can be persuaded that what they are doing is wrong!
    I cannot recommend WJEC highly enough!
  9. Crowbob

    Crowbob Lead commenter

    Actually, AQA is a registered charity and does not make a profit. It also runs a number of "loss-making" courses...

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