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BTEC Music FAO Florian Gassman

Discussion in 'Music' started by JennyMus, Feb 24, 2012.

  1. They can't, but this will be a problem for the centre when it comes to the EV annual visit. If work has been inaccurately assessed the course will be blocked until the problem is rectified. They will then trawl through a much bigger sample to check for any other errors and will task the centre with a list of things that need to be put in place until they will release the course (e.g. in that instance a suitable IV).
  2. While I recognise what you are saying I think you should be aware that the BTEC is basically for Popular Musicians. While my students have interest and enthusiasm for their classical studies (not all but any that don't will either feign it to avoid my wrath or will be force fed Sonata Form for their tea), they don't want to go to Oxbridge. The real target for them are places such as ICMP, Leeds College of Music and institutions such as BIMM. The courses offered at Oxbridge do not appeal to them in the slightest and they wouldn't do their music skills justice.
  3. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    Good idea.
    But in a one-person department (of which there are many in music, and the number is rising) belcanto says "You don't need to know a subject to IV" and seems rather proud of the fact that she has been the IV for Health and Social Care despite knowing "nothing about the subject".
    You say "You have to take an online test specific to the subject area to be able to do this". belcanto says she knows nothing about the subject she IV'd. How did she pass her test?
    I agree. That devalues BTec to a piece of paper that is verified by xxx College, not one awarded by a national exam board. We used to have certificates like that at primary school, awarded for playing the first five notes of G major on the descant recorder. Great for eight year olds, but not for a national exam.
    I can't understand the role of her IV if the person concerned knows nothing about music. I am totally incredulous that someone who knows nothing about music is verifying whether transposition exercises or harmony exercises have been properly assessed.
    Equally, it is daft to "block a course" simply because the teacher has got the standards wrong, and the IV does not have the subject knowledge to realise this.
    There needs to be proper training of all concerned in the assessment process, both in music and in assessment.
    Thanks for taking the time to respond, Jenny, but the more I learn about BTec, the more concerned I become. I guess it's all done on the cheap, now that Pearsons have to make a profit on it? I remember that the Business and Technical Council were very keen to sell it on, because of the money it was losing. Just as the University of London was keen to pull out of A-level examining because of the losses. Hence Edexcel was born!
  4. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    With respect, it is up to Edexcel to sell the qualification under a title that reflects its content. If it is basically for popular musicians - and that seems to me to be a good area to service - then it should be called a BTec in Popular music.
    I'm not so much thinking of Oxbridge, as they make it clear that BTec Music is not suitable for undergraduate applicants in music. I'm thinking more about the traditional music courses offered by many of the redbrick and plate glass universities who feel pressured into offering wider access, but that then find students arriving who have musical skills that are ill-matched to the course they are about to take. I do know that this is causing considerable problems, because these students need intensive remedial work - and often drop out because they are ill-suited to the course. In the days when every applicant was auditioned, tested and interviewed, this could have been sorted before offering a place, but now this is not possible in most departments, it is becoming a real problem.
    Thanks again for taking the trouble to explain BTec to me and others who have never taught it.
  5. I didn't find your thread offensive and I have participated in several discussions regarding the validity of Btec music. What I did think was strange was the fact that the original request for help was side-stepped!
  6. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    I don't think it was. The OP received several specific offers of help from people in her own locality (the west country).
    If you mean that I didn't offer help, then I agree. I have never taught BTec Music and would certainly not presume to offer help to anyone. My only expertise has been in A level (as a teacher and examiner), ABRSM (as an examiner) and GCSE (as a teacher).
    I do think that people like me deserve to know more about BTec if it is to be regarded as a qualification that equates to the public exams in the subject, and am grateful to Jenny for taking the time to explain more about it.
  7. I'm afraid belcanto is wrong.

    To an extent I could IV for any subject. but I couldn't complete all of it Part of the IV'ing process is about ensuring that the assignment brief given targets the assessment criteria clearly and is stated to the student. It is also about ensuring detail such as the correct course title, unit no etc are listed on the brief and the feedback sheets. That part, yes, anyone that knows BTEC could do. The bit they can't do is the crucial checking of the work and the grades given so without any specialist knowledge the IV is pretty useless and quite simply, shouldn't be in that role.

    Part of the process of the EXTERNAL verifier is to check that the systems in place are satisfactory. In the case of belcanto this may be where their centre runs into problems, I hope it doesn't for their sake but for BTEC quality reasons I hope it does. I don't mean that in an unpleasant way at all I hope you understand.

    Part of the issue of the one man department has arisen in schools where this is more commonly a problem. (Most colleges are likely to have a team of specialists along with a HoD). I am not entirely sure how they get round all of this, as I have said, I am of the impression that the EV process at schools is much less rigorous than the process I would get (my EV picks apart every sample given to them). I think BTEC would do a lot for the reputation of their qualification in schools if they directly addressed this issue. I would suggest that samples are sent at the beginning of a course to a central BTEC representative, a specialist in the subject who basically acts as IV for a region. That of course would be costly so i'm sure won't happen.
  8. The IV test they must be talking about is the one I mentioned where Edexcel are trying to pass the EV job back to centres. There is no test for me to take to IV the work of my department but there is if I want to be LEAD IV - basically the replacement of an EV. I hope that makes sense. If I took the test (OSCA - there is another thread about it) and failed then I would still go through the annual EV visit. Though i've never taken it I have to say it seems that many have tried and failed. An utter BTEC god at my college (other subject specialism for which they are an EV) took the music test and failed miserably.

    There may be some other testing available to schools but not to my knowledge.
  9. Neither can I. They would basically just be checking headings are correct and wording from the specification (grading criteria) has been correctly listed on the assignment briefs. The admin office could do that bit!

    I feel the same but the point in the case of the OP of the other thread is that they aren't verifying. This is a foolish decision on the part of the school.
    I don't agree, it is down to the centre to ensure the systems Edexcel insist on are in place. Unfortunately it may be the OP and the students involved that suffer the consequences of this.
    There is a multitude of training available, this varies from subject specific delivery to assessment procedures. You can have visits from Edexcel music specialists as well who can come to your centre and assist with everything from planning to assignment writing. I have experienced all of these things, as have all of my team.
  10. Apologies, maybe offensive was the wrong word to use, I don't know what would be more appropriate but as you can see we've moved over here to solve the problem.

    Myself and Florian are not usually thread hijackers, I very much enjoy discussion with him, we simply got side tracked.
    I myself did actually offer to unofficially internally verify work for the OP of the other thread if they sent me samples.
  11. Although I can understand why that might be I think you should have more faith in the teaching profession florian. Although I am aware of some bad practice and I personally am concerned about delivery in schools (as are many in FE something which the Wolf report also concurred with) in general all of the centres I have seen are delivering good and solid courses.

    The issue I have with school BTEC delivery is not the teaching of course but the IV/EV process we are talking about. It is particularly annoying that Edexcel seem to have different rules for schools. The sample I have to produce for my EV is huge, it takes me an enormous amount of time to prepare it (I have a very large music department), going through everything with a fine tooth comb. He will then sit there and scrutinise everything over the course of 3 days. Any slight problem could get my course blocked. I have faith in my teams and my own ability and BTEC veterans but it doesn't mean it isn't nerve racking. That a school teacher puts their work in with sports, art, science etc and is subject to a non specialist roughly checking everything as their equivalent visit to me is crazy.
  12. I think there is any assumption that your centre is partly responsible for this, I know I learnt more when I first started teaching it many moons ago from my colleagues (who were music BTEC specialists) than I did from the exam board.. There is training available in all specialist subjects from Edexcel though.

    I do of course take your point though, certainly in comparison to boards such as ABRSM.

    This does appear to be a flaw which is consistent across a lot of GCSE and A-Level exam boards though, rather than a particular issue with Edexcel for the BTEC qual.
    Yes I did - oops!
    No need to apologise, the imagery amused me :)
  13. It is also worth noting that there is some positive news with regard to assessment rigour over at Edexcel, a lot of which is a reaction to the Wolf Report i'm sure.

    There are 2 more significant changes. The first, implemented as of now is that any centre that is pulling in 30% of higher grades (I believe this to be distinction area) on any of the level 2 or 3 course will be subject to a spot inspection. This will consist of Edexcel arriving to request certain samples of work from student files, none of which will be confirmed in advance.

    The second is that Edexcel are re-designing the Level 2 qualifications, these will be ready for teaching in September 2012 (having just brought out the last 'new' set in Sept' 2010). I have been told that these new qualifications will require a 25% postal assessment by Edexcel and as the Level 2 is the qualification delivered y schools this will have a substantial impact on quality IMO. It will also mean situations that seem to arise fairly frequently on these boards (threads where the OP/their IV knows little about BTEC) will need to be addressed. The fact that this is currently being stated for Level 2 only suggests to me that schools, not FE are the target.

    How on earth they plan to implement the 25% postal marking I have no idea. The move to get the EV into the centre was to save money i'm sure, not BTEC are reverting back! I think it's a positive move and maybe that they are running a little scared after the Wolf Report and the impact this has had on them.
  14. YesMrBronson

    YesMrBronson New commenter

    Having skimmed over this thread (I'm off out) it seems that everyone has forgotton the SV system that Edexcel have on top of the assessor/IV/Lead IV system.
    SV stands for Standards Verifier. Briefly, your centre gets an email from an EXTERNAL SV requesting a list of your pupils and the grades they've been awarded (internally) for their work. This can't be fudged as you'll see.
    Once you've sent the list, the SV will randomly select a number of pupils (4-12 depending on the size of your class) and you will have to send the kids' work to the SV.
    The SV then checks that your grades are correct and that you're not giving little Timmy a distinction for a pass grade piece of work. For practical units this means sending video or audio evidence, not just your mark sheet.
    If the SV decides you're marking is out of tolerance (they use another phrase that I cannot remember right now) then your centre is immediately blocked and all your kids' work is inspected by an SV that visits your school.
  15. I have referred to this process, this is where i've discussed the EV - External Verifier. I take it you mean the NSS visit?
  16. We were originally discussing this on another BTEC thread but were in the way a bit so I started another. The SV discussion might be on there instead Mr. B.
  17. LennoxBerkeley

    LennoxBerkeley New commenter

    Shall I put the kettle on? Lennox.
  18. White, no sugar for me please Lennox. Some biscuits wouldn't go amiss either while you're at it.
  19. LennoxBerkeley

    LennoxBerkeley New commenter

    I'm not some bloody skivvy.Get your own biscuits missy. Honestly.
  20. Hi y'all, I am indeed wrong. Many apologies, it was on the old spec that I verified one module of health and social care work (I was told by an AHT to do it as there was no-one else). Don't know if that changed in the new spec but I haven't IV'd anything on the new spec for anyone other than my own dept. I recall there was an EV in and no questions were raised about the IV process then though... Since the new spec I managed to get myself an OSCA (i didn't blub in my acceptance speech;-). Other than my offer of IV'ing (in a subject I know a bit about) I have no idea what the OP should do other than contact edexcel for clarification as you don't want to do the wrong thing. Hope everyone accepts my apology for being wrong - I'm not rubbish really! Bel

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