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controlled flipping assessment

Discussion in 'English' started by mrharris34, Mar 15, 2012.

  1. Anyone else feeling strongly negative about controlled assessment at the moment? As a HOD, it really does seem like a total nightmare to me, for these reasons:
    the amount of time our teachers are spending sitting and invigilating CAs in English is ridiculous and represents terrible value for money
    The fact that we can’t mark drafts makes it much harder to complete effective formative assessment and give proper feedback which actually helps kids to learn and improve
    The rules are so woolly that everyone is in a state of paranoia about what is and isn’t acceptable, particularly when considering what might be going on in ‘other schools’
    It’s so hard for our kids with more unstable home lives, eg those with erratic attendance or those coming in to school after the start of the course – really feeling the loss of the Oral Response element
    It’s made teacher workload much greater as an extra 20% of the assessment of written responses is now with us when previously it was with external markers (at no reduction of cost in terms of exam entries)
    I’m sure I’ll feel better about it when the coursework forms have all gone off, but will still be nervous about moderation and grade boundaries etc – feel it’s unfair to have intense pressure on English results on one hand, and a wooly, unreliable, loose assessment system. This is particularly chronic when the people under pressure are the same people who have to then administer and invigilate the exam – a recipe for stress, teaching to the test etc etc
    Frustrating. But nearly over for one year, and I do recognise that sorting out the old coursework was not exactly a barrel of laughs either.

     
  2. chriszwinter1

    chriszwinter1 New commenter

  3. millicent_bystander

    millicent_bystander New commenter

    Yes.
    We've had so many issues over what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. Have tried to play things by the letter of the spec and then are told that things still aren't right. No-one seems to be able to agree on what constitutes what mark and the board haven't helped the situation by being, as you so rightly say, woolly over everything.
    Another issue is the changing of assessment titles each year, I know some teachers were guilty of regurgitating the same old stuff year after year, but at least there was the facility to develop a scheme of work and lesson resources, now they have to change.
    Initially I thought they were great, but now I'm not of the same opinion. But anyway, Gove will make everything linear soon so there won't be any controlled assessments or coursework! [​IMG]
     
  4. englishtt06

    englishtt06 Occasional commenter

    I understand what you are saying but, personally, I like controlled assessment. At the beginning of Y10 it was a nightmare and marks were low, but as time has gone on and pupils have got the message of getting only one strike at it, they are starting to produce work that matches their target grade and taking it seriously. I have a C/D borderline Y11 and a weak Set 2 in Y10 but both groups are now fine with it. I find the marking a lot easier - it was the drafts that soaked up all the marking time under the old coursework. Now the marking is super-quick. I mark as I go in the prep for the controlled assessments, then pupils know they are responsible for making sure they are covering everything they need to - and it works, they now do! I have one criticism of controlled assessments - I have found that my Y11s are now suffering because they have done well in exams but their CA marks are dragging them down as they weren't that bothered in Y10; the old weighting with coursework was better in this respect for these types of kids (C/D borderline). It is a strange thing when Y10 is worth more than Y11 - maybe something we need to look at as a dept. but then only for next year before we go back to terminal assessment!

    Something I didn't do at first but now insist on is that in the CA time period pupils do two drafts. I follow the rules and this is without any intervention or feedback from me, but the 2nd drafts are much better. Even this week on a resit CA, two students said they were glad they redrafted because they missed some bits out first time and wanted to put more in - plus they were more attentive to technical accuracy. These were D and E grade students!

    I also like the level playing field of CAs - if other schools cheat then they are doing themselves, and ultimately, the kids a disservice.

    There are some issues with absence and we raised this with AQA: subject-matter like Spoken Language and Shakespeare/ELH just can't be covered quickly after school! Tasks/focii need to be addressed in this regard. And whilst I'm talking about tasks, I believe the WJEC board have a two-year cycle for their task banks - I wish AQA did. They may say it is just a bit of tweaking but I have found myself doing hell of a lot of tweaking! But that's fine, being English teachers we have loads of time on our hands, don't we AQA?
     
  5. chriszwinter1

    chriszwinter1 New commenter

    I agree with you in principle, but then in some schools principles were abandoned in favour of exam results and league table positions years ago.
     
  6. anteater

    anteater New commenter

    You'd hope that, wouldn't you, given what has been said by him: but according to a member of SLT at our school, English is not going to be changed anytime soon. Please, please, let her be wrong...
    I keep asking if we can change to IGCSE, but SLT not keen on this, sadly.
     
  7. GloriaSunshine

    GloriaSunshine New commenter

    All the signs are that CAs will stay. The change will be that you must enter students for final exams and submit the CAs at the same time. Well, no change for us as we haven't done any early entries and still enter everything at the end of Y11.
     
  8. gruoch

    gruoch Occasional commenter

    I assume you don't teach a bottom set of demotivated boys with very poor literacy skills? Today we spent 2 hours looking at 13 lines from Richard III.
    I had one who could tell me what Richard was thinking, rather than saying (they absolutely understand that he is a liar and a hypocrite who wants to be king at any cost) but couldn't remember what he had said to write it down. And I mean immediately.


     
  9. anteater

    anteater New commenter

    And, although top sets can clearly cope better with them, they are still a pain! My Y10 have now done all the Language CAs (except one of the creative writing tasks). I've put their marks into a spreadsheet, using the Jan grade boundaries, and, assuming they get roughly the same mark for the second creative piece as the first, I now know pretty much what grade they can get for their CAs.
    It presents a dilemma, as there are several not "on target". Do I nab them now and make them stay after school to try different tasks, or wait until next year when the powers that be put pressure on the department to make sure everyone is on target. Either way, it's a lot of extra work.
    If we must have them, they should go back to being only worth 20% of the course as before, so less emphasis on them and mor eof a level playing field in the exam.
     
  10. gruoch

    gruoch Occasional commenter

    40% for AQA but 60% for WJEC - and the class mentioned above is doing WJEC. 2 are there because their behaviour is, err, challenging, rather than because they lack ability but one has just realised that CAs are real exams and need real work. [​IMG]
     
  11. englishtt06

    englishtt06 Occasional commenter

    Not this year I don't but I have had my fair share of them in the past (with severe behaviour issues and lots of EAL) where coursework was a struggle, exams were a struggle, in fact, everything was a struggle. Yes, I could intervene more but how much of their work was me and how much was theirs? I had a very low ability bottom set in Y9 last year and I was asking the teacher how they are getting on with CAs this year (they are doing the single English award) and he was saying they are struggling which I can well imagine; one of the students had a target all last year of writing up to two paragraphs with correct punctuation, spelling, capital letters and he didn't achieve it (and he had one-to-one support from a TA) . Imagine trying to get him to write about Romeo and Juliet (as he is doing at the moment). However, he still achieved a grade in the CA which does reflect his true ability. MY C/D borderline set in Y11 have a lot of issues (lots of exclusions, absence etc.) but they finally got into the CAs. I never thought they would. Even very low ability understand how exams work so a CA is just an extension of this. Asking students to frame a written response to a literary text, then to make sure they have covered things like language, varying interpretations, dramatic possibilities etc. is a skill that is quite difficult and not everyone can do this. CAs just reflect this. Don't get me wrong, I think they should study lit but we should stop expecting all students to jump through AO hoops about a text, or value what they can contribute.
     
  12. lizgaskell

    lizgaskell Occasional commenter

    Hey all

    CAs are pretty dreadful in terms of organising those that are absent. I have bottom set year 10 and a third of them have attendance of less than 60%. If they miss a lesson it is bad enough, but more often they miss three of four and they are impossible to get in after school.
    Having said that, the other 2 thirds do ok. They have the date of the CA in their planners from the beining of the topic and as I refer to it constantly as 'exam' when it comes to it they will sit in silence and exam conditions and they take it very seriously. Marking is quite frankly a doddle compared to those drafts, but how on earth do I get those 8 or ten kids that got a U or just don't come in? As you say on her, this time next year SLT are going to be taking them out of PE and things to do it and I will have other classess covered ...
    Grrrh- oh and apparantly OFSTED atre on the way :(
    (no glasses on so sorry if this is a mess!)
    Liz
     
  13. mkm

    mkm New commenter

    Agree with everyone on the marking drafts aspect - this is better. But apart from this can't think of a good word to say about CA's - they are totally unmanageable for all the reasons given by others on this thread...
     
  14. cherryaimless

    cherryaimless New commenter

    Hate 'em. And in order to get it all out of my system, I'm going to comment on every thread about Controlled Assessment this afternoon if I see one!

    Mind you, I hate all the AQA English courses. Too unwieldy now. Too many bits and bobs. I, too, wish I could swap to iGCSE.


    I think...
     
  15. Hate them too! As a department, we seem to spend countless hours at lunchtime/after school catching up with controlled assessments with pupils who have been absent or are entitled to extra time. Plenty of other departments seem to be in a similar position, but there is no co-ordination of "mop-up time" by SMT!
    On the point of re-drafting under the old coursework system, we played by the rules and only gave general feedback and quickly realised that, on the whole, redrafting was often just rewriting and rarely attracted extra marks. Our solution? We insisted upon the work that was submitted was final- the pupils could draft and peer assess, but when it was submitted, that was that. We found that the pupils were far more focused as a result and we had far less marking of poor quality work..... Those were the days....
    Now? Back to the drawing board....As for teaching Foundation Lit with the (WJEC) CA linking a Shakespeare play with poetry (still don't know why) and the requirement to compare 2 unseen poems on the exam paper- I think Foundation Lit will become a thing of the past....[​IMG]
     
  16. gruoch

    gruoch Occasional commenter

    Cos Shakespeare's poetry, innit?
     
  17. Oh yeah. Just don't treat the poetry as poetry- remember we are meant to draw thematic links...[​IMG] What is this obsession with comparisons, links, the way a text "illumintes" another text? Sheenagh Pugh herself is still non the wiser as to why the WJEC wants our AS pupils to link her with Carol Ann Duffy....
     
  18. Like everyone else, I loathe controlled assessments. As my school is going Academy in Sept, I'm lobbying to change to iGCSE.
    However, the real problem is that no matter what syllabus we teach, we will still be expected to get students up to grades that are unrealistic and we will still be expected to 'teach to the test' to get them through. The pressure on teachers to get results is preventing us from doing any real teaching. Anyone up for starting a grass roots rebellion? Not sure what form it would take but I can't help feeling that teachers need to do something to put genuine education back into schools and get rid of stupid government ministers (you all know who I mean) who haven't got a @&*^%%$ clue and who keep changing the goal posts.
    Grrrr, hisss, growl
     
  19. GloriaSunshine

    GloriaSunshine New commenter

    I could cope with CAs but only if there was just one that we could do in y11. As it is, we spend most of y10 doing them. I wouldn't want to go back to coursework because every school I have worked in went for redrafting. We used to spend a month after Christmas in y11 getting redrafts done and it did work because motivated students often did much better just because they were a year older and had done a year more of GCSE than when they did their first one.

    I agree with the poster who is fed up with the obsession with connections and comparisons. There's just so much of it and the links are often contrived and taught just for the sake of covering that objective, not because they are worthy of discussion.

    I'd also like to see the spoken language unit go. If we have to have it, I'd rather have an exam question using an extract of dialogue from a set text so that there is some point to teaching it and it links with other parts of the spec. I fear though, that we will continue with more of the same because the people designing specs don't have to teach them.
     
  20. gruoch

    gruoch Occasional commenter

    NO!!! That's cheating, didn't you know?
     

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