For the second year in a row we have some very strange FREN1/SPAN1 essay question marks awarded. Weaker students have been given much higher marks than students who are very much better than them. The same has happened in Spanish. I have 2 very experienced teachers on the Spanish plus the French is taught by me and another very experienced teacher. We have all done the AQA INSET on the essay paper and we spent a lot of time preparing them for it this year because of the weird results last year. I've just been checking the enhanced results analysis and it is definitely the essay paper. As an example one of our better students scored 83% on the questions answered up to the essay (62/75) and then scored just 9/35 on the essay question (5/2/1/1). He has gained straight As in his other subjects and is now considering dropping French because of this result. Weaker students than him got more on the essay and the results for that question are really all over the show. In Spanish, a student who is the best in the group was given just 8/20 for content. We did lots of practice essays prior to the exam and they seemed to be hitting the necessary criteria. The other annoying thing with this question is that the language marks are capped by the content mark which instantly hits hard if the content mark is low. It seems to me that students are showing that they can perform well across the board in French/Spanish and are then having their results ruined by one question, which does not accurately reflect their ability in the language. I would be really grateful for any suggestions from schools who do perform well in this question as I cannot see what else we can do to ensure that the best candidates do not have their grade dragged down by the content mark in this question.