1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Controlled Assessment bending the rules?

Discussion in 'English' started by SouthBeachGirl, Jan 17, 2012.

  1. I have only been teaching for four years but have become very concerned over the way we are carrying out our controlled assessment practise. We have always completed these assessments under strict conditions - timed and in silence etc. Now however SMT are in a panic about results. All year 11 are constantly in study sessions to get other subjects up so English has really suffered. We have year 11 students with missing and/or incomplete controlled assessments. We have been asked to rework controlled assessments, mark them and give them back for improvement. In some cases we are virtually writing them for the students. This to me is no different to coursework and raises the issue of why coursework was replaced. I know that we cannot be the only centre doing this but how do you feel about this?
    In some ways I would rather let a lazy child fail - as would have happenend when I was at school.
    We are already in notice to improve and if this was discovered I feel that all of the dept will be in trouble even though we are following instructions.

  2. sleepyhead

    sleepyhead New commenter

    I would refuse.
    I have refused.
    I have told HoD in front of HT that I will shop the school to the board if anyone cheats. I would do this.
    BUT I've been teaching longer and have very strong relationships with both people AND I think it's only a matter of time before the same order comes down the line.

  3. tollolo

    tollolo New commenter

    What principled teachers. Yes, I agree that one of the main reason that children perform worse on a single draft controlled assessment is laziness. In fact, they should perform even better than they did when legacy coursework 'allowed' multiple drafts, because that kind of writing isn't as useful as exam writing.

    Fortunately, only a minority of schools tamper with Controlled Assessment. And the chances of those schools being in direct competition to you are infinitesimal: the consequences of dropping below them in the league tables wouldn't bother a principled teacher. They achieve their results because they motivate their kids with their superb teaching skills and absolute dedication to the job. Why aren't the HoDs and HTs simply motivating their staff to teach their kids better?

    I fully hope that you shop your schools into the board for such heinous behaviour: they aren't putting their kids first. However, you might be in a school where poor results could equal trouble. If so, after your HoDs lose/quit their jobs, perhaps you want to become HoDs yourselves? That way you can stamp your principled attitude on the rest of your department and SMT, and still maintain improving results through continued great teaching.

    Have you booked the hall yet for the controlled assessment? Do they all have individual plans? No kids are absent on the day? And you're willing to stay back after school for to teach and supervise all the kids who need to redo/complete CA? I salute you.

    Hang on, did you give formative feedback for a kid on how specifically to improve their essay for a 'title that is a little bit different but allows them to rewrite it the same?' Fail!
  4. tollolo

    tollolo New commenter

    Hang on. My HoD has just informed me that I am allowed to take over the administration of controlled assessment for the rest of this term. I shall grab this beast by the horns and report back my findings. I already have AQA on quick dial. I couldn't get through this morning, but I shall speak to them by the end of the day.
  5. sleepyhead

    sleepyhead New commenter

    No - because the rules don't require that.
    Yes, they do. Some are good, some are not. But I have not commented on them and they have been locked away as per the rules.
    Loads are.
    No. But then our combined refusal to do this means that we have in school catch up sessions to deal with this, supervised by invigilators.
    We're running intensive sessions for students who missed teaching for CAs after school, staffed on a carousel, so we're all doing something but none of the staff is doing more than their fair share.
    Maybe that makes me a heinous teacher. It almost certainly means that my students have done less well in CA than they would have in coursework, but then my classes only ever did one draft anyway.
    My school's been in SM and come out the other side, and we know only too well what poor results mean, but I will not cheat.

  6. tollolo

    tollolo New commenter

    Well, excellent news today. My HoD has allowed me to take over the administration of the CA. Here is my report so far of the after school meeting:

    In line with Sleepyhead's advice, I have informed the staff that they are not required to spend time after school to catch up on controlled assessment. The minimum requirement for this is at least one hour per week per staff member for most of the year. One bright spark suggested asked me what work they should drop to offer this extra hour each week.

    Don't worry, I didn't cave in. I suggested that they shouldn't watch EastEnders, or even should do some shopping online to claw back that hour.

    Some staff ask when formative marking should be done. "Not on Controlled Assessment!" I told them. What do they think the day to day marking is for? Speaking of which , I insisted that all staff must now mark every book formatively each week. Of course this could be about twelve and a half hours or so of marking if they're considering and writing an appropriate formative paragraph.

    I must also thank you for informing me that your school/you didn't redraft any legacy coursework. When one of our unprincipled teachers tried to bleat about this benefited the kids when it was allowed, I able to bat away their points by insisting it wasn't necessary in the first place. Certainly, my kids crack out A* essays first time round, as do I.

    I must say that I was told the students with reading ages of 8 produced some cracking independent Shakespeare plans. Needless to say, they weren't disaffected when they were told they weren't allowed any other notes or help. One teacher suggested that this might make "realise their inadequacy." Not as much as when they realise there aren't any jobs these days! I replied. How we laughed. But really, I insisted that the least able shouldn't be given undue help if that might help a certain few actually write something.

    When all but one of the teachers left, one of the old guard stayed behind. With a click of his heels, he told me, "Tollololo, if you don't have principles, you don't have anything."
  7. tollolo

    tollolo New commenter

    I intend to stand up tomorrow in briefing and tell the rest of the staff that I would rather that the children fail than let a lazy kid pass an exam. In fact, it's time we all stood up for this. In fact, I'm going onto the Mumsnet Forum this very evening to see what they make of that.
  8. sleepyhead

    sleepyhead New commenter

    It wasn't advice. I was telling you what I did, and what my department does.
    Sounds about right - but we are working on finding ways to make that manageable, which seem to be working. I won't bother you with what they are since you seem only to be interested in criticising me/my dept.
    I don't think I said that this was unprincipled in the legacy spec - I didn't do it because it wasn't really that helpful to most students.
    I teach a fair number of those myself, thank you. CA is a horrible experience whether you have reading age of 18 or below 7, as many of our students do. The fact remains that the requirements of the spec are the same for all of them. I don't want any student to fail, but there are ways of getting them to have a go and produce something decent for them without cheating.
    You can mock me all you like, but it won't change the fact that I won't cheat and I will report my school if they do. I don't expect my students to cheat, and neither will I.
    I don't have a huge amount of faith in the system, but the ABs know that the standard of CA will be lower than of legacy coursework. That is, after all, why CA was brought in. They can't be seen to fail, so we have to have some faith that the UMS scores/grades will reflect that in the end - but if people insist on cheating, then those schools and students who did it right will be the ones that suffer.

  9. tollolo

    tollolo New commenter

    I have prepared the report that I'm presenting to the head here: http://bit.ly/7JJSz8

    I imagine that you have some sort of formal responsibility, as you have a clear idea of how you want things to be run. But if you think that marking for twelve and a half hours a weekend "sounds about right", then you're a better tollololo than I could ever hope to be.

    Kudos for staying in the profession after SM, btw.
  10. This thread highlights the fact that controlled assessments are turd.
    Cant wait for them to come up with something else; I cant imagine they will let this current mess last much longer.
  11. sleepyhead

    sleepyhead New commenter

    What I perhaps didn't express clearly enough was that that's about how long it takes to do the marking out SLT expect us to do. That's why we've had to come up with ways of managing that so we don't all keel over, but don't incur their wrath on a weekly basis.
    It was a vile experience. We got through it... well, most of us did. After that, somehow nothing seems that bad any more.

  12. tollolo

    tollolo New commenter

    You shouldn't have to mark for 12 and 1/2 hours every weekend. That's actually silly. Surely 14 hours with KS4 essays is closer to the correct amount? Never gonna...
  13. sleepyhead

    sleepyhead New commenter

    3 1/2 hours to do a set of year 10 or 11 books, so 7 hours for theirs (this is without the strategies we have come up with, which probably cuts it down to 21/2 hours each)
    2 1/2 to do a set of year 9
    2 or 3 hours for lower KS3
    4 A level classes on top
    12 and a half hours a week is probably about what we need to do to avoid the SLT bollockings - those 3 50 minute periods of PPA don't go far! I certainly don't do it all at the weekend though.
  14. pomunder

    pomunder New commenter

    In my bit of Australia, all coursework is done by CA. The board gets round the, ahem, different standards set by schools, by the exam moderating the coursework marks. It works very well. Oh, and students need a doctor's a note if they're away for a CA in order to be allowed to sit it later.
  15. thequillguy

    thequillguy New commenter

    Exam moderating coursework marks sounds a reasonable way around it.
  16. anteater

    anteater New commenter

    What does that mean, exactly? That if someone's CA mark is better than their exam mark, they are given the exam grade? Sounds like a good way to stop schools cheating; but, on the other hand, why then actually bother with the CAs at all if you're going to end up with what you got in the exam anyway?

Share This Page