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AS speaking - remarking?

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by lucyrose50, Mar 13, 2012.

  1. lucyrose50

    lucyrose50 Occasional commenter

    I'm incredibly disillusioned with the marks for our AS speaking exams in January - we just had 2 Y13s resitting it (our Y12s will do theirs in summer) and the marks they got are just baffling.
    One of them was AMAZING, she answered every question I threw at her (including ones that were clearly in response to something she'd just said) with loads of opinions, extra details etc and had a fantastic accent and range of vocab/structures - it was without a doubt the best AS speaking I've done, and I've had candidates get A grades before. She got a middle B.
    The other candidate is much lower ability - she made quite a lot of grammatical errors, had reasonable pronunciation but still a very English accent, and her answers & the structures she used were fairly basic. She got a high C.
    The difference between the standards of the two candidates was massive, yet the marks they got were not very far apart at all - going on previous experience, I'd have put the first one on an A and the second on a D. If the second one deserved a good C, I'd have thought you'd have to invent a new grade above an A* for the first candidate!
    I'm really upset for candidate 1, because she really deserved a better mark than this - she worked her socks off and genuinely did a brilliant job of her speaking, and she's hoping to do French at uni next year. She really wants to improve and resit it in summer, but I honestly don't know what to tell her that she needs to improve because as far as I'm concerned (and other teachers who've listened to her recording agree), she did all of the things that should have put her in the top mark bands. I'd like to get it remarked, but my HoD is scared there's a risk they could mark her down and thinks it's better to just resit it in summer. Has anyone had any experience of getting speaking exams remarked?
     
  2. lucyrose50

    lucyrose50 Occasional commenter

    I'm incredibly disillusioned with the marks for our AS speaking exams in January - we just had 2 Y13s resitting it (our Y12s will do theirs in summer) and the marks they got are just baffling.
    One of them was AMAZING, she answered every question I threw at her (including ones that were clearly in response to something she'd just said) with loads of opinions, extra details etc and had a fantastic accent and range of vocab/structures - it was without a doubt the best AS speaking I've done, and I've had candidates get A grades before. She got a middle B.
    The other candidate is much lower ability - she made quite a lot of grammatical errors, had reasonable pronunciation but still a very English accent, and her answers & the structures she used were fairly basic. She got a high C.
    The difference between the standards of the two candidates was massive, yet the marks they got were not very far apart at all - going on previous experience, I'd have put the first one on an A and the second on a D. If the second one deserved a good C, I'd have thought you'd have to invent a new grade above an A* for the first candidate!
    I'm really upset for candidate 1, because she really deserved a better mark than this - she worked her socks off and genuinely did a brilliant job of her speaking, and she's hoping to do French at uni next year. She really wants to improve and resit it in summer, but I honestly don't know what to tell her that she needs to improve because as far as I'm concerned (and other teachers who've listened to her recording agree), she did all of the things that should have put her in the top mark bands. I'd like to get it remarked, but my HoD is scared there's a risk they could mark her down and thinks it's better to just resit it in summer. Has anyone had any experience of getting speaking exams remarked?
     
  3. Yes, I had 2 AQA teacher-conducted AS French speaking tests remarked in September. Both went from a C to an A. In both cases they were clear A grade candidates who had been able to cope with all questions with great ideas, a high degree of fluency and excellent structures and I believe that this was, bizarrely, the reason that they were undermarked in the first place. The feedback form we received from AQA gave a clue to this - the examiner wrote that the teacher-examiner "allowed candidates to deliver rehearsed answers and set their own linguistic agenda". Simply not true, just victims of being a bit too good to be true!
    Now, we might have been ready to simply accept that feedback, but the same teacher-examiner had conducted the test in German too for one of the two candidates mentioned above and she had gone about it in exactly the same way. For German the feedback said that she was "a very competent teacher-examiner who had allowed all candiates to achieve their best". The same candidate achieved an A in German.
    It is definitely worth looking at the feedback form on the conduct of the test which AQA should have sent you by now to see if anything obvious went wrong. I would say it is worth the risk of a remark if you expected more and are confident that the test was conducted properly.
     
  4. spsmith45

    spsmith45 New commenter

    Sounds disappointing for your student and for you. Worth a re-mark.
     
  5. lucyrose50

    lucyrose50 Occasional commenter

    That's EXACTLY what we got as well! I had this once in the past as well - I had a Y12 candidate once who was more or less a native speaker, having lived in France for most of her teens, and she was given a C on the speaking exam because apparently it was too rehearsed. I was like "it's wasn't rehearsed, because she's FLUENT IN FRENCH!" We didn't get that remarked though, we just got her to do the exam in the summer and she got pretty much full marks on it, so it was fine. We could do the same with this year's student, but I'm just concerned that it'd be too much redoing her AS speaking as well as the A2 one.
     
  6. noemie

    noemie Occasional commenter

    These days I'm leaning towards the theory that the only way round this would be external examiners for everyone (much in the same way that having a written exam for everyone at GCSE would end the endemic cheating and twisted results). For that reason I'm looking into WJEC at A-level, as all their speaking exams are done by external examiners. The only worry is then are they any good and do they get the best out of the kids? It's a bit of a catch 22...
     
  7. In that case, I'd have it remarked. If the candidate is prepared to do the test again in the Summer anyway, you've not too much to lose other than the £44 pounds or sound demanded by AQA (you won;t pay if the grade changes). You have confidence in the candidate;s ablility so it sounds as if the mark is unlikely to change for the worse to below a C.
     
  8. BrightonEarly

    BrightonEarly Occasional commenter

    The examiners we've had from WJEC have really put the candidates at ease and I have been happy with the results - they have been in line with expected grades. By the way, the external examiner is only compulsory for A2, you can choose external or internal for AS.
     
  9. lucyrose50

    lucyrose50 Occasional commenter

    We considered getting an external examiner for A2, but our students are all adamant that they don't want to do the exam with a complete stranger. I have to say, I can see their point! We know our students and their ability, we know what they can do well and how to bring out the best in them, whereas an external examiner wouldn't. Less stressful for teachers though, I worry about speaking exams as much as the students do!
     
  10. spsmith45

    spsmith45 New commenter

    Our students are fine with external examiners. Who should be making this decision? You or the students? Just a thought!
     
  11. lucyrose50

    lucyrose50 Occasional commenter

    Us, based on what we feel is best for the students. Clearly if students are extremely uncomfortable doing a speaking exam with an external examiner and would therefore not do as well as if they did the exam with a familiar teacher, this is not best for them! Some students are fine with external examiners, we have used them at times in the past, but we don't feel it would be the best option with our current students.
     
  12. gsglover

    gsglover Occasional commenter

    Why would anyone request an external examiner unless it is in a subject where there is not enough expertise in the school?
     
  13. smoothnewt

    smoothnewt Lead commenter

    I concur with this. The candidates tend to benefit as all conversation is genuinely unrehearsed and their spontaneity is rewarded in the marking.
    We did have one rogue examiner one year, but wjec dealt with it swiftly and effectively: all the candidates went up by one, and sometimes two grades, in the re-mark.
     
  14. lucyrose50

    lucyrose50 Occasional commenter

    I think the main reason is so that the exam board know that the answers were not rehearsed. They don't seem to be able to tell the difference between a candidate who is very good and can answer spontaneous questions and a candidate who has learnt their answers off by heart, and good candidates suffer as a result of this.
     
  15. bristolmover

    bristolmover New commenter

    I used WJEC with external examiners before and the students (all 25 of them) said they were made to feel at ease.
    There is a theory that if you know the student you could put your opinion of their capability into the exam subconsciously, and students you assume are 'lower ability' may not be asked complex questions, therefore missing out on higher grade.
    I think there may be some truth in this and we were very happy with the results, which seemed a true reflection of the students' capabilities.
    It also takes pressure off teachers, no matter how competent they are, allowing them more time and energy to focus on other areas of benefit to their students.
     

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