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Am I a muppet!

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by hurricane4816, Feb 11, 2012.

  1. I am relatively new to teaching and maybe a bit green. When doing speaking assessments, I get students to prepare about the topic (Edexcel) usually ten possible questions. Then I will probably ask about six of them. The students don't know which questions I will sk.
    Then I ask some unpredicted questions. (2/3}. I do this to ensure that students can speak with a degree of spontaniety and creativity. Also to deal with the unpredicted element which is vital for the higher grades.
    My colleagues give them the answers in advance and the students know in advanced ALL the questions. Some of my students have complained that I was being unfair. So I when through the assessment criteria and guidance for teachers with the class. Now, some pupils are saying others teachers in dept are cheating. I feel uncomfortable about this. Also, if my students don't do well, parents may complain to say that their son/daughter were not treated as others in school. Also, when moderating students performance', my students work may not sound as a good as the others because of the different conditions in which the assessment took place.
    I am new and don't want to rock the boat. What should I do?
  2. Some about the misuse of apostrophes! Unable to edit it for some reason
  3. noemie

    noemie Occasional commenter

    Refer this in writing to your head of department (email will do). Without naming names, explain that the rules regarding assessment are set out very strictly by the exam board and that you should all be following them as a school to ensure consistency. If your HOD then wants to break them, make it clear you will follow orders but are uncomfortable with them. But at least it will be on their head and if parents report malpractice to the headteacher/exam board then you will have written proof that you attempted to do something about it.
    Are you sure there needs to be three unplanned questions? With AQA there's only one. I understand that it may be frustrating to not test learners' speaking skills properly and to basically have a memory test instead of a proper speaking test, but if you are making things harder for your learners than the rest of students will need to do then you are doing them a disservice. But if that's what Edexcel want then you're right to be concerned. I'm surprised that your HOD hasn't already had wind of all this and dealt with it.
  4. Dunteachin

    Dunteachin Star commenter

    Put this on the agenda for the next departmental meeting, where you can all discuss it. You probably jumped the gun by flagging this up with your students first and have now made a rod for your own back. I'm sure your colleagues aren't cheating; they may have mis-interpreted the instructions, or maybe you have. The last thing you want to do is cause any animosity in the department or spark complaints.
  5. henriette

    henriette New commenter

    No, there don't. Nowhere does Edexcel decree this. They do want to hear a student's spontaneous response to an unexpected question, but it could fall anywhere and there is no need to 3.
    My students plan for every eventuality: they know the way my mind works and will try to predict what I may ask them. Given this level of preparation, it can be very hard to ask something totally unexpected which bears any relevance to the "subject" they are talking about.
  6. " You probably jumped the gun by flagging this up with your students first and have now made a rod for your own back"
    Sorry, the students complained that I did n't know what I was doing (maybe because I am new). I simply when through the assessment criteria with them. I believe all good teachers would do this with their students. (afl/pupils taking ownership of learning etc) What kind of system are we in if I can't go through the assessment criteria?
    We analysed the key statements in each category. Then, the students made the connection with other classes. That is not my problem!
    Only the other day, four students (nice kids) said they were being unfairly treated by me. However, I am just doing my job correctly but on that occasion I did n't show them the rules in black and white.
    Thanks Noemie for your advice. I will check with the board for further clarification with regards to the "unpredicted element"
    I will go gently, but this could cause complaints because of different ways of doing the assessment.
    Dunteachin, I am neither naive nor stupid, I know experienced teachers with an education to at least degree level can follow simply rules about how to assess students. If they want to risk their careers then they can, but I will probably keep my head down and hope to win students/parents' respect through honesty, hardwork and good teaching.
    However, I do recognise that by refusing to play the game, I could put myself in bother. This is something I am willing to risk. I won't be bullied into malpractice.
  7. Dunteachin

    Dunteachin Star commenter

    You are, indeed, correct to go through the criteria with them. I photocopy it and let them keep a handy version of it so they can see exactly what they should be aiming for.
    I most certainly do not think you are naive or stupid. However, are you really sure that your colleagues are engaging in malpractice?
    If I were you, I'd approach your HoD and ask him/her to clarify some of the points and get a clear picture of how your colleagues assess the work. If what they say doesn't tally with the guidelines, then ask why they do it differently. You should all be doing the same thing. And following the rules!
  8. "No, there don't. Nowhere does Edexcel decree this. They do want to hear a student's spontaneous response to an unexpected question, but it could fall anywhere and there is no need to 3."
    According to the email from Edexcel today,there should be at least two unexpected questions to the"unpredicted element"
    I got that in writing so that is what the students will do.
  9. henriette

    henriette New commenter

    This is new, then, and contradictory to all teh training they gave before the new spec was introduced!
    Can you point me in the right direction as I shall have to pass this on to my Dept.?
    Thanks a zillion.
  10. I am a Spanish specialist. I contacted Judith O'Hare at Edxecel who advised me on posing more than one unpredicted question in order to demonstrate their ability to speak with a degree of spontaniety.
  11. The problem is that every time we deal with Edexcel we get a different answer. Like the word count on the writing assessments. In direct training, German was told 180 words was sufficient for a C, we were told in Spanish that it had to be c.220 words!
    Trust is not something I'd associate with Edexcel...

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