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AQA A-level French essays

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by westnab, Aug 18, 2011.

  1. westnab

    westnab New commenter

    I was very upset at the scores for our small cohorts in both the AS and A2. Students have done many sample essays and I believed were doing well. All marks for content are well below what I had expected, and therefore all other sections for essays were down. Normally I would say, well I obviously did a bad job and have been preparing them wrong, but...
    Our German cohort, who were also taught by me scored well above what I had predicted and were far worse linguists than the French cohort, which included a native speaker and an extremely talented linguist, who I felt was oxbridge quality. Her essay only gained 12/25 for content and cost her the A* overall.
    Was anybody else shocked by AQA French essay marks or was it just me? Given the German scores, we will be asking for remarks and scripts back I believe, but I was just curious.
  2. i had the exact same opinion about french AND german. Content marks way, way lower than i expected.
  3. daisytoo

    daisytoo New commenter

    Same here. In AS French all students most students not even in double figures for content (out of 20). Definitely going to go for a remark.
  4. Essays have definitely pulled our marks down. I am particularlycross as there were red herrings in some titles intended to spark discussion according to the examiners report but they have been penalised for concentrating too much on one specific one. How does this compare with a sitter like Why do young people smoke? What can we do about it? I would say that the A2 /AS essays have been marked down in French/Spanish and in AS German but A2 German essays have been marked more leniently so better marks for the candidates than they got in AS and than better pupils in the other languages which begs the question of consistency across languages and levels /discrepancy between examiners etc etc.
    How many A* are there in MFL? There are quite a few in certain (soft) subjects at our school.......
  5. Well I am glad it is not just me.
    Whilst The overall results were okay, the essay scores at both AS and A2 were really low because of the content marks and meant that students only just scraped into their grades rather than getting them comfortably.
    I was particularly concerned about the AS ones as these were especially low and a potential Oxbridge student who has scored 32+ on every essay she has done only got 10/20 for content and then only 20 overall. I have been teaching long enough ( 31 years) to know that my marking is ok so I think we will probably have these re-marked.
    A year or two ago it was the speaking test that caused havoc to grades and when I had these remarked 2 students went up by 2 grades. It really means that I take nothing at face value anymore and I really think that the people in charge at exam boards really should be more accountable when serious errors are made.#
    Sorry for ranting.
  6. steveglover

    steveglover New commenter

    My colleague Nathalie and I have built an extremely comprehensive sequence of essay writing into the new A*ttitudes course which covers all the boards particularly AQA,WJEC and edexcel. We look at building up vocabulary/phrases under different topic headings (listothèque), the developing of a straightforward sentence in all kinds of directions, reasoning phrases, a sophisticated planning tool showing an essay title developed in two different opposing ways and lastly 3 sample essays all covering the same title in different ways with taskmagic exercices for further practice. We have had considerable success with our students using this model and you are welcome to try the full unit on Voyages, Vacances, Tourisme on www.alevelfrench.com (just email for a login) There are twelve topics and the essay writing part has been getting a very good reception.
    We particularly wanted to address the content issue and to give the same amount of practice with the same level of detail for each of the twelve topics. As a teacher of A Level going back to the two year A level I always thought that most students were only starting to write half decent essays after Christmas in year 13. Writing succinct short 200 ish word essays after 2 terms is pretty difficult as Nathalie and I found out writing about 50 sample ones!
  7. I have looked at the results analysis for paper 3 (A2) and the essay marks are ridiculously low; they simply do not compare to the German (worrying as 3 students who are dual linguists will have applied exactly the same skills and I know that they felt as prepared for the essay in both languages). A student who was predicted an A* in French scored 21/25 for German content and 7/25 for French content, meaning they just achieved an A overall; another scored 9/25 for French and 22/25 for German (was predicted an A* and missed it by 3 UMS) and a third student scored 11/25 for French and 19/25 for German. Many students have now missed grades by 2or 3 marks.
    I'm very confused and annoyed; I have not seen the essays but we did lots of practice and I used the sample essays on the website to help prepare students.

  8. Our German essays at A2 were marked much more leniently than the French or Spanish meaning that average candidates were getting better marks than really good ones.I think that the marking is so subjective that it just depends on who marks your essays on the day!! But it would seem that essay marking has been the area people are most disgruntled about this year

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