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anyone else defecting to WJEC from edexcel following gcse results?!

Discussion in 'Drama and performing arts' started by shinyshapter, Oct 19, 2011.

  1. shinyshapter

    shinyshapter New commenter

    Hi, am a newbie poster but have been reading the forums with interest and was relieved that I was not alone in my dismay at the results for edexcel GCSE last year. After serious thought and evaluation with my line manager, we have opted for changing to the WJEC syllabus. Has anyone else done the same or is maybe considering it? Would be interested to hear from those who are already teaching this syllabus, any advice welcome :)
  2. Yes I have, with immediate effect this year. Have already been impressed that the instant I emailed them for help I received personal, detailed answers and support material. I had been looking at it before with a view to changing, and after the service from Edexcel last year and the results this summer, I decided to give it a try.
  3. ukpaul

    ukpaul Occasional commenter

    Not from Edexcel but from AQA, I'm quite sure that I'm going to switch now, maybe for this year's year 10, and have booked a place on their inset in November. There is such a lack of trust in AQA GCSE marking now that many will probably change to another course I would imagine, I've also been concerned at the way the AQA course is now a useless lead in to the AQA A level, the WJEC actually looks like a much better intro. I don't know what's gone on at AQA in the past few years but the way that the A level and GCSE have diverged looks like either very poorly planning or a symptom of a philosophical schism somewhere along the way.
  4. interestingly I have defected from Edecxel to AQA. Controlled conditions and huge differences in standards of marking in examiners are my reasons. Not to mention the vague criteria and ridiculous amounts of forms required.

    I am getting familiarized more with the specification and I do see a lot of weaknesses. I have a lot of questions about it and so far calling AQA has been very pleasant. I couldn't believe there was a direct line to the subject team, at Edexcel you have to do battle with that call centre and no one ever gets back to you. The email was marginally better but sometimes you just need to talk to someone.

    The AQA examination issues have worried me and I hope that is not repeated next year, but I will say it is significantly fairer than the controlled conditions.

    Would be wonderful to be allowed to form the perfect Drama specification, and I think I know what it would look like!
  5. DaisysLot

    DaisysLot Senior commenter

    I made the change a few years back now. Similar to what others have said, I think the WJEC offer the very best in support and advice promptly to centres, and has a syllabus that is balanced.

    If it helps, on the resources section of this website I have uploaded by GCSE Drama student handbook that breaks down the WJEC syllabus in student speak of what they are expected to do unit by unit. Do go download it.
  6. shinyshapter

    shinyshapter New commenter

    Thanks for feedback - I hopefully will be at the Nov meeting too. Having had a good look at the syllabus it seems a great preparation for A level too.

  7. shinyshapter

    shinyshapter New commenter

    Thanks for the feedback, i hope to be at the Nov meeting too.
  8. I would love to. I know that Media and English have moved at our school and have been really impressed by WJEC as a whole. Just don't really think the spec would suit my students and worry a bit about the set texts. If they were able to make the set texts less prescriptive I'd be there!
  9. Feeling relieved that we weren't the only centre whose marks were adjusted this year. Will pass this knowledge onto our SMT who grilled our department and blamed us for the lowered marks. Feeling infuriated with Edexcel and even attended a course last week that left me even more fuming as I reckon we were badly done by.
    Will look at WJEC too - not feeling very confident with Peason/Edexcel at the moment!

  10. kmbk, what was it on your course that left you so cross? Would be really interested to hear about it as they were all booked up when I tried to book mine.
  11. Well, we were led to believe last year on the new specification course that basically our unit 2 text schemes would transfer over pretty well - just a few adaptations. This was further backed up by the exemplar samples. Our marks were all marked down for this paper this year with no real feedback from the moderator except for that they couldn't see all the sample candidates on the video evidence at all times which was apparently frustrating for them. However, on this year's course, they said that unit 2 was looking for something completely different and that any off-text exploration work as already discussed in other posts would mean that marks would be adjusted negatively as this was not what they were looking for. This, I suppose is fair enough but it would have been helpful to have had samples that demonstrated this last year. They did apologise for perhaps misleading us or not being very clear last year....
    Then, the samples of 'outstanding' work (top 5% of students around the world) that they showed us on the video and in the exploration notes simply did not show outstanding students! Even the moderator comments that accompanied these students work stated that the work was 'excellent' and 'good', not, in their own words, 'outstanding'. We all at the course expressed our concern and were told that perhaps they weren't excellent examples of 'outstanding'.....that perhaps the video was not the best example, but that the student who was awarded marks in the outstanding band had to be taken as a whole, not just from the one video - however, we were then told that to be an outstanding student, they are expected to be outstanding all the time - they are not allowed an 'off day' during the examination so we were left feeling very confused and infuriated. This didn't give us much confidence in Edexcel.
    I have to say in the 15 years of teaching Edexcel, this was the first year my marks have been adjusted so heavily and having taught in private grammar schools for the most part, the grades have usually been excellent/outstanding. We got our first D in eight years and kids that, compared to students in the previous year who got A's, who we believe were similar or better, were marked harshly.
    I can understand that standards are getting higher, but I also believe the standards of the students is also increasing.
    We were told that whenever there is a new specification, unfortunately the candidates are so called 'guinea-pigs' for that year and things do get smoothed out for the second year.
    Anyway. Onwards and upwards. It's too late to change boards for this year's Year 11, but we are seriously considering changing boards for our Year 10's. I have always loved Edexcel for the practical/explorative/creative and open course they have offered, but I do lack confidence in them as even they seem to be unsure what it is they are looking for...

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