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Comparative performance in MFL

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by madameh, Sep 17, 2016.

  1. madameh

    madameh New commenter

    I have been searching in vain to find comparative national performance data between French, Spanish and German at GCSE, based on levels of progress and prior performance rather than A*-C. I want to know whether the line being taken by my SLs that Spanish performs better than French and German is based on actual data. Our jobs depend on this as our Fr/ Ger courses are potentially going to be phased out. Thank you!
  2. backwardfinesse

    backwardfinesse New commenter

    A myth/nonsense in my view... Ah but you wanted data, not my view: Sorry!

    Comparative data difficult for us to get at, as it seems to me that the only worthwhile comparison depends on comparing (presumably GCSE) grades of dual linguists; whilst full national cohort %ages are published by the boards, you can't get at individual candidate grades to do this with a nice big sample.

    Best you can hope for then is to do side-by-side grade comparison of any dual linguists you have; we have had a history of passionate Spanish teachers (all native Spaniards) claiming better results, and even managing to convince SLT of this; and almost every dual thinks they are better at Sp than at Fr or German. Then the results come out, and it's not true... But by then, they've already opted for Sp A Level, and its too late...

    With shrinking numbers of dual linguists, it is difficult to get enough data, but over the last three years, I have analysed approx. 50 duals across any combination of two of the three languages, and almost everyone gets the same grade in both; but French (here) has had the edge over Spanish, and this gap has increased since all duals are now taught in small groups, whereas two years ago many duals were doing French in a class of 27 and Spanish in a class of 10. (German data is very thin as small numbers, with high proportion of candidates with German parents!)

    Tell SLT that you have data from other school(s) that confirms that "Spanish = easy grades" is a myth; and that any apparent difference in favour of Spanish will disappear if Spanish starts to get relatively larger cohorts. (Plus do your own dual linguist analysis if you have any...)

    And above all, make sure we are fighting for the survival/thriving of the teaching of all languages, not fighting against each other for the crumbs... Good luck!
  3. veverett

    veverett Occasional commenter

  4. backwardfinesse

    backwardfinesse New commenter

    This is great data, @veverett, but I don't think it is sound for what @madameh wants, ie convincing the Mgmt, or countering the myth (if it is so) that a given pupil will get a higher grade in Spanish than in French. Thousands and %ages can't prove or disprove this on their own can they? EG say all the top set Mathematicians do Spanish and all the bottom set do French (or vice versa), 30 A*s and 30 U's don't mean anything; so it seems to me that madameh needs evidence from eg Dual linguists, who get (say) A in Spanish and B in French (or vice versa)... Unless I have misread your data sheets.

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