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Controlled assessment (AQA) - the hottest topic!!

Discussion in 'Design and technology' started by Dandolf, May 10, 2010.

  1. Looking at what is needed for Investigating the Design Context (Analysing the design context, Research and Design criteria) for only 8 marks seems to be an awful lot of work. Any advice?
  2. re

    re New commenter

    I look at it in terms of time. The controlled assessment task is supposed to take 45 hours and be worth 90 marks, therefore 8 marks = four hours' work. Get them to pick ONE context and analyse it, then plan their research including existing products, and use the research to inform a spec ification.n Key word -'use'. Forget surveys.
  3. Does the 45 hours include both practical and folder work? It's not a lot when boys stand around waiting for help when you are attending to someone else.
  4. re

    re New commenter

    You would do well to read the controlled assessment booklet published by AQA, in which you are NOT ALLOWED to give specific, detailed advice, so candidates should not be hanging around waiting for you to micro-manage their work. It is a similr situation with other boards. The work is aupposed to be that of the candidates -that includes the brainwork as well.
  5. dttrainee

    dttrainee New commenter

    Yes, this one seems to have been a bone of contention.

    My understanding is that you shouldn't give the advice to one student that you wouldn't feasibly give to all students if they needed it.

    ie, for graphics we are doing board games - making a "Scene It" board game adapted to the theme chosen like Star Wars, Football, a TV show etc.

    Having done a lot of Photoshop and drawing work in year 10 - with specific advice and guidance given during these projects I might point out - my intention is to do a tutorial of how to draw an image, scan and fill it. How to add effects. How to draw basic geometric shapes in Photoshop etc and then let them get on with making their board cover designs, relevant to their theme. In this scenario, if a student asks for help to come up with a design, the answer will be no - as the design should be in front of them already. They will need to work independently to make their own work and will not be given specific advice about my opinions on what they could do with the design. Should the student find this too challenging, they can print and collage and add to hand drawings to make their board.

    I will be making a basic bi-fold board and a standard rectangular box with all of the students and allowing them to make adaptations to these as they see fit in terms of cut-out windows or shape alterations. Any student that wants to design their own shaped box can do so but must do it from their own steam!

    I am aware this may limit them in the creativity element but my argument to AQA would be that it still allows flexibility and imagination in terms of additional items that could be added to the game, how the graphics are laid out etc...etc..
  6. How is this meant to be policed? It's fine in principal for the exam board to say no specific advice given but how many teachers will adhere to this when at the end of the day that teacher will be judged on their group's performance? I know for a fact that if a pupil has built an electronic circuit and it is not working I will certainly aid them in finding what the fault is. It's like the 45 hours time limit, how many will stick to that and how many teachers stick to the current time limits imposed by exam boards? I would suggest not many in both cases. From what we have read of the AQA spec and controlled assessment guidance we are not intending to change from what we are already doing.
  7. It should all be done on professional judgement, so you are expected to stick to it best you can,
    They are not saying don't help students, it is more of coach them to their own conclusions, which I know is hard when you have a class full all shouting miss/sir, its alot quicker just to give them the answer or tell them what to do etc.
    Like Helen said, you can do lessons inbetween coursework - show all pupils a certain part, but then they are expected to do the actual piece for the coursework independently.
  8. Talking of controlled assessment I am a teacher of textiles and wondered how people were starting to plan for it. Any resources? Or anyone know where I can access controlled assessment resources for AQA i.e. proformas I wouold be grateful of any help.
  9. It sounds like more and more pupils will be making similar projects with a few variations to them. Has a feeling of "dumbing down" to it if you ask me. I would love to see what AQA suggest for an A*, A, B and a C folder and project. Will these resources be available, or are they going to fob us off with the same resoucres of the old specification?
  10. re

    re New commenter

    Actually, I think that this is an opportunity for us to return the projects (and the responsibility for doing thema0 to the pupils, whose work they should be.

    IMHO we have been guilty of micro-managing coursework to a shocking degree in the past to the point at which far too much of the work is done by the teacher. Unfortunately, in the relentless quest for ever-improving results teachers will feel obliged to give more and more 'help' and thus achieve high grades, whilst those who take notice of the guidance from AQA and play by the rules will fall behind.
  11. Forgetting exam grades for a minute (I know its hard)!..... It is surely important for students to engage in and do their own work, or the whole point of D and T can be lost and made meaningless. The fun of designing & making and the satisfaction gained from working creatively or to solve problems is part of their journey. If teachers "play safe" and "give more and more help" then those challenges and opportunities are ultimately taken away at the same time as the responsibility.
    I believe the exam boards are expecting a drop in results due to the controlled assessments so maybe teachers who continue to "over feed" their students at this time are missing a great opportunity to stand back and say... Its up to you...get on with it!

  12. Does anyone know what you are supposed to do when students are absent? They can't catch up at home and the lessons have moved on. What are we supposed to do with these. One exam board meeting I went to suggested "dinner time" catch up lessons. My union wasn't very impressed with that. [​IMG]
  13. Unfortunately, education is in a bit of a mess these days. Our pupils have spent years being spoon fed, had 101 helpsheets and every template given to them under the sun that the independent and autonamous learners that we want are a rare breed.
    There is scope in the range of projects provided by AQA (in graphics) to let your A* pupils shine and your C grade and below pupils have a project that won't overwhelm them.
    A fair approach is to tell the pupils what is expected of them but not have a physical hand in helping research, design, make or evaluate. Clearly breaking down and sharing the assessment criteria for each section with the pupils means you can leave it in their capable hands to guide the quality / content of their work based on this information. Discussing with each pupil which project is right for them is also useful, picking one project for the whole class doesn't always work. As with anything in life, we work better when we're interested in what we're doing. Have exemplar assessment templates I use with KS3 that may help you plan for KS4, they currently respond really well to it.

    Kind regards :)
  14. Several points which might be worth considering:
    We are all professionals and know the difference between effective teaching/support and cheating. We should not need policing! If what you do would not stand up to the rigours of an OFSTED inspection it is probably wrong. Use questioning rather than giving answers. Provide alternatives for all of the class to investigate and choose from.
    Controlled assessment is a school issue not a DT one. We should all be following the same rules and they are almost identical to the current ones published by the Joint Council for Qualifications for coursework. The Controlled bit is quite important here, it is part of an exam.
    If we cannot get this right what is the alternative? A timed exam like Art & Design?
    A malpractice investigation could mean that a centre is banned from an awarding body. How embarassing would that be, especially if the investigation started in another subject? There are some big issues to resolve in some schools.
    AQA's criteria allows for concurrent designing. There is no requirement to undertake the investigation at the start of the project and to allocate fixed time to that is madness (yes, Lonsdale have got it badly wrong in their controlled assessment guide). Like the best practices, investigations, testing and evaluation should be taking place throughout the development. It is not a linear activity and AQA now have a much better "best fit" system of assessment which means that linear hoop-jumping should hopefully fade away over the next few years.
    45 hours is realistic but we cannot continue doing the same rubbish we do at the moment - lean and mean! Students will require some teaching! Separate that from CATs time and make sure that they are prepared and planned to work independently and efficiently during the 45 hour sessions. The rules are clear about what help you can give and how any additional assistance must be declared. You will be signing a form to say that you have followed the rules (a bit different to the previous declaration - have you noticed the new forms this year?) Collaboration is allowed and there are many activities which will move students on quickly if handled in groups. The KS3 startegy has some great ideas!
    There have been some considerable changes to the National Curriculum over the past two years and this should mean that students might be better prepared for GCSE's. If you have not started making these changes the students are likely to continue to work as they have been in the past (does every project need a printed borderd booklet? Are there opportunities to present their work in different ways, such as electronically?)
    Our PGCE students have undertaken genuine 20 hour projects aimed at AQA's short course which uses the same criteria as the full course. Some have them fulfill all of the criteria and we would not expect a great deal more done in 45 hours, especially with regard to the "designing activities" (currently often misunderstood as filling A3 sheets with padding). It is about quality rather than quantity. Whilst accepting that this is not the work of 16 year olds they were all working outside of their textiles specialism and we do believe that it reflects the type of work a good Y9 student would produce, and certainly what all 16 year olds are capable of. They were all presented in electronic format using PowerPoint and are very concise.
    If you would find it useful to view these projects and make up your own mind send a stamped addressed envelope and a blank CD to Brian Russell, Dixons City Academy, Ripley Street, Bradford BD5 7RR.
  15. Im very interested in your projects - what is the subject area (RMT, Graphic Products, electronic products)?
    also - what sized envelope and how much postage ....?
    After so many years of contrived student folders...I love the new spec ...no time for waffle .... no chance to forget your homework...and all very creative .......Yipee[​IMG]
    (I teach one related theory lesson then students have one controlled assessment task lesson per week for Y10 as a practice, then in Y11 I will have one theory lesson and 2 controlled assessment lessons - until we reach 45 hours - then we will revise! - yipee its sooooo easy)
    My HOD made a great assessment sheet for us, which I have adapted for my Graphic Products Controlled assessment to spell out the pages I expect the students to produce - I can email it to any one who would like it [​IMG]

  16. finamar

    finamar New commenter

    Caroline, I would love a copy of your assessment!
    Do you know that you could put it onto the resources section of this site for all to see?
  17. Caroline,
    I would love a copy too please :)
    Many thanks

  18. Thank you Brian for sharing this- my team will find it useful and I will be sending you a blank CD. Kind regards.
  19. Brian has made some excellent points.
    I am concerned that a lot of teachers have yet to understand the difference between coursework - which gave teachers absolute freedom, within some limits granted and CA. The new Controlled Assessment tasks, which have levels of presciption built in are only meant for assessment. I read with horror that people are using them as practice exercises. Why???
    Lets use the time outside of CAT time to teach, and let the students learn by doing exciting and interesting things. Then interpret the CAT to allow the students to demonstrate what they have learnt with an interesting context.

    If we get this wrong the next step will be for QCDA and Ofqual to demand timed examination conditions, believe me we don't want that.

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