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AQA GCSE results

Discussion in 'Drama and performing arts' started by Lyns, Aug 23, 2012.

  1. Actually what I should have said is only 11% of students nationally achieved an A-A* in unit 1 (the written exam) and only 49% achieved A*-C again in the written exam only. You are correct that when written and practical is combined, then 27.9% achieved A-A*. My point is simply this is one hell of a written exam to achieve highly in and most of my most able, and very diligent students, don't. Is this fair I wonder?
     
  2. Tee hee ...

    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..
     
  3. Crowbob

    Crowbob Senior commenter

    With an overall 79% A*-C score for Drama, I am not sure the system (as a whole) can be claimed to be unfair. It is higher, quite significantly in some cases, than most other optional subjects. It is also higher than EdExcel and the A*/A is significantly higher than EdExcel. Is this fair? If the exam were to be marked more leniently, the impact on the A*-C would lead to people calling drama an "easy subject". The other option, in order to prevent grade inflation, would be to be much harsher in the pracitcal marking.
     
  4. According to ERA on AQA, the national statistic this summer is 72% A*-C...?
     
  5. Crowbob

    Crowbob Senior commenter

    I got my figure from the Statistics section on AQA public website.
     
  6. ukpaul

    ukpaul New commenter

    Overall the grade percentages look fine but there is a lot of devil in the detail. The way that raw grades have changed so much in the last five years or so, for example, shows that AQA have lost control over the marking of the practical paper. In response they have made the A* for the practical easier (a mistake), whilst toughening up lower grades and tried to manipulate the figures to reach that 79.3% by having examiners attempt to be harsher in marking the written paper whilst also changing the boundaries to be progressively higher, including making the written A* all but impossible (again a mistake).
    By making the practical paper so tight in grades in comparison to before they are magnifying any differences in marking totally out of proportion. As such, if one student gets a relatively small number of marks fewer because of a difference in markers' approaches then it is blown up to be a bigger difference in UMS. The subjective marking has always been a problem but, before, the wider raw mark boundaries hid that fact to a certain degree. All it means is that teachers are pushing their practical marks higher and higher in a race to the top with those who aren't being left behind.
    The solution is to toughen the marking of the practical paper and ensure that it is properly standardised but AQA just aren't able to control that. They need to do so, however, if they are going to have the subject retain any credibility.
     
  7. Well, it's not what's on their ERA for Drama GCSE for this series. Interestingly, their statistic for my own centre's Drama GCSE A*-C percentage pass rate in the ERA 'Grades Overview' area doesn't tally with their statistic for my centre's pass rate in the 'Results' area. There's a 2% difference.
     
  8. Crowbob

    Crowbob Senior commenter

    And what do you think the response would be on here if that happened?
     
  9. Yes. Centres are simply going to jack up their practical marks as high as possible to compensate for the probability of low marks on the written paper, as the way the AQA syllabus works makes this possible. We all know that this happens even now (which infuriates me, as it makes my centre's marks in this area look bad by comparison), but it's going to happen even more from now on, and you're right: as the syllabus works at the moment, AQA can't control that.
     
  10. ukpaul

    ukpaul New commenter

    To get back credibility will cost them; unless they compel centres to submit the moderated assessment marks and to have all students seen by a moderator for that then it's too open to manipulation. The ones who are suffering are those who perform excellently and write pretty well, the very small percentage at the top of the practical and writing will still get the A*, those who do poorly will still do poorly but those who are finding themselves joined by weaker performers at the top levels in terms of practical marks and, at the same time, finding their written grade boundaries going higher and higher are stuffed.


     
  11. WJEC are excellent! Have just had my first results through having jumped ship from AQA after almost 20 years!! Finally I can say that my students have got the grades that they deserved and that I am happy with the marking of all elements of this specification.

    The last 2 years of AQA results in particular were absolutely dreadful (I was part of the huge complaint to AQA last summer on the new spec but also had a set of ridiculous and unexplainable results on the legacy written paper in 2010). I was completely fed up with the shocking standard of marking, with the woolly and confusing questions, and with clever students being marked down for anything that didn't quite fit the rigid mark scheme. I was also very unhappy with what that was doing for our AS take-up when bright students just couldn't be sure that they were going to get the grade they deserved at GCSE and therefore took AS subjects where they felt more certain of the outcome.

    The people at WJEC are excellent- Elaine in the subject office is so helpful and the external examiner we had this year was professional, knowledgeable and fair - spotting the excellent performers, and those that were not so excellent were marked fairly!

    The written exam is worth 20% instead of 40% so doesn't have quite such a devastating effect if they have a bad day. It is based on a set text but asks students to have an understanding of all aspects of production (costume, set & lighting, acting) which is good intro for AQA AS Theatre Studies! My only quibble is with the choice of set texts which I think is a little limiting, but there should be something to suit most ability students. The mark scheme is straightforward and the questions are graduated so there is a basic entry level question but then leads up to questions where really bright and knowledgeable pupils can shine.

    Another 20% is on a terminal, externally assessed performance from a script (groups of 2-5) which is very straightforward

    60% is then given over to a Devised Performance (40%) and Controlled Assessment written report (20%). This is fantastic preparation for AQA AS/A Level as they have to use their knowledge of a style or practitioner to influence their performance. There are some board set stimuli (picture/ piece of music/ phrase etc) that start them off and they also have to link to a piece of theatre they have seen.

    I have always hated the 60's inspired 'process drama' that Edexcel seem to love so dearly and so this devised piece is much more like the improvisation choice in the AQA spec and really suits our students. There are a few marks for interpretation of stimulus etc but mainly based on their actual performance on the day.We focus very much on the end performance itself and make it a big occasion for parents etc. This is internally marked, videoed and sent off for external moderation. However, unlike the crazy procedures of Edexcel the paperwork for this is manageable and sensible.

    I am SOOOOOO pleased that I made the move to WJEC and cannot recommend them highly enough.
     
  12. Having discarded WJEC as a possibility based on the set texts and the dominance of devised work over scripted work (my students always get better marks with scripted), I am now re-examining it having read your post above. It's attractive from the viewpoint of the written paper being 20% of the final grade only, whereas the written paper for AQA is now fiendishly difficult to get good marks on.
    Am I right in thinking that you don't HAVE to study a practitioner, and could study a genre instead for Unit 1 (devised)? Does the written report for Unit 1 have to be done under controlled conditions, or can they go home and type it up, for example? The external marking of the scripted option (Unit 2)...when does that happen - towards the end of the entire course, and does it still allow plenty of time for revision for the written exam? If I had a class of 30 - all working in groups of 2, 3 and 4 for Unit 2, that's quite a long performance period to do all in one go in front of the marker and invited audience...
     
  13. To answer your questions you could indeed do a genre for Unit 1 rather than a practitioner. Ideally, you'd teach a variety of genres and practitioners in year 10, so when it comes to completing the Unit 1 work your student can pick (perhaps with your gentle persuasion) what to use. (Of course, you could also get everyone in the class to do the same genre/practitioner).

    The written report does have to be done under controlled conditions. It is to be done over 4 - 5 hours although obviously not under one session. Theoretically you could get the students to write their Rationales early on in the process, and write the Development and Performance sections after they perform.

    Unit 2 usually occurs in April. I usually find I get a couple of weeks to revise for the written exam after this occurred. If you have a class of 30, I am not sure over what period of time the examination would take place. I've learnt the trick is not to have too pieces too long - the spec says 5 - 10 for a group of 2 and you are much better of having a strong six minute piece than something that drags on for too long unnecessarily.

    If there's anything else you'd like to know, please ask.
     
  14. That's useful. Thanks again. I'm still not sure about the Unit 2 performance... With a group of 30 working in pairs, or even threes, it's going to be a performance session of well in excess of 90 minutes, taking into account turnaround between groups. I can see the examiner and the students being OK with this, but I imagine it would be a long time for an audience to sit there, unless they dipped in and out between groups, I suppose. Do you usually have an audience in for your Unit 2 performances? And does the examiner give you any indication of practical marks at the time, or are you completely in the dark until results day?
     
  15. Oh, and which set text do you do? Which do you think is the easiest?
     
  16. You have no indication of the practical marks until results day which is a little nerve wrecking but as it is only 20% of the whole grade I don't get too worried

    For the exam I teach 'death of a salesman'. Whilst some of the others - sparkle shark and dr. Korzack's example - may be 'easier' to read, I find that DoaS gives the best possibilities for a mixed ability group. Personal preference really though. Lots of resources out there.
     
  17. Interesting. 'Death of a Salesman' is actually the one I know the best of the options, and I have the fab. Lee J Cobb recording of it. I suppose that since all the syllabus is broken down into a number of smaller units, a minor disaster with any one unit doesn't result in creating an overall disaster as none carries too many marks. Great. Thanks again. Everything you've told me just leads me to feel that this is the way to go for my centre. I appreciate your support.
     
  18. I changed from AQA to Edexcel 2 years ago, the first cohort getting their results this summer. I am very pleased to have changed. The assessment, in my opinion, is much more fair and the results came back as expected. For us, the course is a better preparation for the IB diploma for Theatre Arts too.
    I think that AQA are a strange board.
     
  19. A few of mystudents gained A's and Bs in the written exam. Admittedly, these were the higher ability students. However, despite some of them gaining almost full marks for practical, and an A in their written exam, they still did not get an A* overall as the grade boundaries went up again. I am not convinced that I taught the exam any differently to last year (when they all got terrible marks), but perhaps I did. I am more than happy to send any resources to anyone that wants them, as I have no changed to WJEC drama due to my mistrust in AQA-we do WJEC for English too.
    In other notes, did anyone get awful marks for Unit 2 Edexcel theatre studies? Some of my most talented students (I have never taught better) got Us in their practical exam!! How an earth do you get a U unless you literally say nothing or forget lines?!!!

     
  20. Hi,
    I have changed to WJEC and I am finding the transition from AQA to WJEC a bit confusing. Any resources that could be shared would be very much appreciated. I do have some that we used this year that I could share back.

     

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