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controlled flipping assessment

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

  1. mkm

    mkm New commenter

    Finally, finally, finally, this administrative nightmare that is the Controlled Assessment marks and predicted grades has been completed. Maybe I'll get some sleep and stress-free moments now -until the sample is requested that is. Are we really facing a future of this every year? Madness.
  2. Agreed.. Took me and the exam officer 5 hours. There really is nothing about controlled assessment that I like. Much more difficult to administer, a massive increase in workload dealing with kids that are either absent or late arrivals; doesn't allow for the development kids make over the course of two years; and for the first time ever we have experienced plagiarism by kids who have memorised chunks off the web. We never had cheating in coursework, but the insecurity of having one go at it has produced exactly the opposite of what was intended. AQA is there any chance (seems unlikely) you might pay attention to some of these issues?
  3. There are undoubtedly lots of issues in schools surrounding the organisation and administration of controlled assessment; as we spend a lot of our day talking to teachers we do understand. That said, I've not come across the issue you identify with plagiarism before. In most cases teachers say that for all its faults, controlled assessments has at least reduced the opportunity for plagiarism in their schools (when compared to coursework). Could you clarify what you mean by it 'doesn't allow for the development kids make over the course of the two years'. Is that because they do their controlled assessments early on in the course?
    I'd love to say that as well as paying attention we could actually change things for you; however, our hands are tied by what Ofqual require, and currently, that is 60% controlled assessment in English (so for us, 40% written and 20% speaking and listening). The rules around how controlled assessment is conducted are also imposed on us by Ofqual. The iGCSEs (our AQA Certificates) have much more flexibility, and we hope that once they become accepted by the DfE as part of the performance measures more teachers might consider them as an alternative.
  4. What I mean about the lack of development is that we used to redraft the coursework in January of Year 11 and year on year the kids would recognise what they needed to do to improve because their analysis and language skills had improved over time. The only way we can do this now is through the use of different questions which is much more time consuming.
    I understand the restrictions that AQA are under with regard to controlled assessment. The moment the igcse is approved I will move to it as I think it is a far better option. I was shocked when I discovered the plagiarism as we had never had it before under the old system, although I know others had. It was only a few students but it stood out for me as this was exactly what C.A. was designed to combat and we had explained this to the kids. Needless to say, the students involved had to submit a different response. However given that we have your ear can you please explain the rationale for the 2hour 15 minute Unit 1 exam? Is it not possible to do what WJEC have done and split the reading and writing element into two separate papers?
  5. GloriaSunshine

    GloriaSunshine New commenter

    What's wrong with 2h15m? That's what we're giving our y10s for their end of year exam. We do the same for the mock in y11 land though some complain, it doesn't cause a problem. The Edexcel Cert (IGCSE counts on league tables and EBacc ) and has no CAs. Bye bye AQA!
  6. Thanks for that explanation siolae. I understand what you mean now. I know from talking to teachers that a number of schools have radically altered how they approach the tasks since the spec began for the reasons you describe. They have revised long term plans so they are now either saving their controlled assessments until year 11 as far as possible, rather than doing them in year 10 (or 9), or they are giving students opportunities to do different tasks in year 11. I'm sure these are things you have considered.
    With regards to the 2 hour 15 exam, it was originally 2 hours but when it was piloted it was evident that students needed more time, given the length of the reading texts. We have considered splitting it, but the Chief Examiner is keen to keep the link between reading and writing as the source texts can act as stimuli for the writing questions. I think even if we did split it we might very well have to have the two papers in the same session as we are constrained by the common exam timetable which is agreed by JCQ. I believe that even though WJEC have two papers, they are actually timetabled on the same morning and so are taken contiguously.
    I'm going to send you a PM so that you have my aqa email in case you need it.
  7. manc

    manc New commenter

    Not only are they taken contigously, but they come one after another as well.
  8. manc

    manc New commenter

    'Contiguously' even.
  9. I suppose reflecting on all the contributions made here, as well as the experience of administrating and submitting the CA marks, my abiding view is that it just doesn't feel right as a way to manage our GCSE assessment. I think a fundamental problem is that the stakes are just too high - filling in the mark sheets, I felt really aware that so much was riding on it - obviously we are happy to take on the responsibility of helping the students to do as well as they can, but it also feels like the reputation of myself, my colleagues and the school as a whole is at stake. This is a problem because it creates all sorts of strange and unhealthy pressures, I think, making teachers simultaneously anxious about if CA marks are going in too high, or too low!

    I suppose my basic point is that, if we are going to put so much emphasis on these marks, created by league tables etc, then at least assess the work externally so that a level-playing field might be achieved, and schools can concentrate on becoming experts in promoting learning, rather than working as exam markers.

    I'd feel better about it if it wasn't English, with the inevitable subjectivity of the marking, and if it was possible to get real consistency in the implementation of the CAs. It's clear that with formal, externally marked exams, fair uniformity can be pretty much achieved - the variables can be controlled so that the conditions of assessment in every school can be pretty much the same. The sheer number of variables mean that this can never ever be achieved through CA. I can see that the exam boards are trying to provide clear guidance, but what are we expected to do with advice such as:
    "Can CA sessions have starters and plenaries?
    No - there can be no teacher intervention once a CA session has started."

    Here's an attempt at clarity, at providing the uniformity of conditions needed for fairness. But hang on - in the real world, was does this mean? How do we decide when a CA session starts? Does this mean we can't speak to them before the lesson? In the dining hall? At then end of whatever lesson they happen to have before English? In the corridor?

    Although I can see the thinking behind CAs, it does not work in practice, and it's too important for students, teachers, schools, communities to tolerate this sort of looseness. In my view, the system is flawed, and it's also insidious and corrosive to morale to ask English departments to summatively mark 60% of the GCSE. Although I understand that the demand for CAs was not initiated by the boards themselves, I would also suggest that this way of doing things may have increased profits considerably - is this the case? Are we entitled to know?
  10. Has anyone had a sample requested yet?
    We're a school of 150 pupils, and we've had to send forward 10 controlled assesments, along with two pupils' work who achieved 80/80 and 40/40, so 12 overall.
    I hope the marking was okay..!
  11. gruoch

    gruoch Established commenter

    Not yet. If no regquest by Thursday, we have to ring AQA.
  12. We are with WJEC and we had to submit our CA marks in March. We had to send 40 CAs to our moderator as a sample. No response yet so I am hoping (praying, begging, touching a lot of wood) that our marking was OK! But it will be a long wait til August to find out!
  13. Mrs Goatstrangler

    Mrs Goatstrangler New commenter

    I wonder if any of the exam boards have spared a thought for teachers (like me) who are only paid for the lessons they teach, nothing whatsoever for meetings, duties, prep, marking, etc. (And that payment per lesson has only been increased once in the last 12 years - by £1 per lesson.)

    I spend hours and hours of my own time marking CAs and then doing all the thudding paperwork while the exam board pockets the exam fees. Ridiculously unfair. And if it is Ofqual calling the shots, why don't the exam boards point out the unfairness of getting the teachers to do a shedload of their GCSE assessment? Because it funning well suits the exam boards, that's why. They get the money, we do most of the work. Cheers! Edexcel Cert, here I come; stuff off AQA.
  14. sleepyhead

    sleepyhead New commenter

    Ours came in today. I think the biggest surprise was that it's different students, for the most part, for Lit and Lang.
  15. sunflower48

    sunflower48 New commenter

    We are with WJEC, all CA marks had to go on WJEC website and almost instantly were sent back to us on-line which students work they wanted for moderation. All of these had to be at the moderator by 30th March. We have had to have all marks for speaking and listening on by 5th May and a sample which we sent to another moderator by same date. All done and dusted now. We even got our CA sample back last week. Never known it to be so quick for sample folders to be returned! Very pleased with the process of putting things on-line with WJEC and no waiting to see who they want as it comes straight back to you. It seems very long winded with AQA that you are all sat waiting. We also had to split some Language and Literature samples as well.
    Do you think that the examining bodies will ask for an evaluation from teachers as to how they think this syllabus has gone, not only teaching and marking but also the logistics of doing the CA, administration etc? Or is that too obvious a thing to do!!!!
  16. chriszwinter1

    chriszwinter1 New commenter

    Very well put, but I'd go even further. They get the money, we do most of the work, we get the criticism, we're accused of making mistakes, cheating and ignoring the rules, and it's our fault if the kids don't get the target grade. We should insist on a situation in which
    • teachers teach
    • students study and
    • examiners examine
    with no overlap.
  17. Mrs Goatstrangler

    Mrs Goatstrangler New commenter

    Amen to that, Siegen81to82 - absolutely spot on!

    Any exam board flunkeys out there taking note?
  18. cherryaimless

    cherryaimless New commenter

    Loving these euphemisms!
  19. darcie32

    darcie32 New commenter

    Hi there everyone.....Just wondering if anyone does English/ English Lit with OCR? When do they send for samples?
  20. red_hot_chili_frog

    red_hot_chili_frog New commenter

    We do English and English Lit with OCR-marks and forecast grades sent yesterday, so now the anxious wait. We only had our current Year 11s on OCR, Year 10s are on AQA and 1 group's CAs were sent for early entry- for their sample, they have requested 15 folders out of a group of 23 (!)and have given a 4 day turn around...if OCR ask for similar, this is going to be grim!

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