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Course to replace OCR Nationals

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by Vimes, Feb 23, 2012.

  1. Courses must include exams to be counted in the league tables from 2014 (although for the 2014 tables only current year 9s registered this year on BTECs and Nationals will have their grades included).
  2. Thanks for your response.
    So ultimately I'm not going to find the kind of course we're after?
  3. Nope. They're going to have to be educated.
  4. JaquesJaquesLiverot

    JaquesJaquesLiverot Established commenter

    This does seem to be the elephant in the room. Isn't the problem with the current exam system that we all want "lower ability" students to demonstrate that they're as able as more able students?
    I'm not saying that "lower ability" students need to leave school with nothing, but there does seem to be this assumption that GCSE-equivalent exams are something that everyone should pass. What's the point of examining students if they all come out with "equivalent" qualifications?
    The problem with "vocational" qualifications, which may be right for "lower ability" students, is that they're not really vocational - they're just trying to be GCSEs with no exam. Perversely, the government seems to want to get rid of actual vocational courses and keep things like the Nationals and BTEC Science.
  5. JaquesJaquesLiverot

    JaquesJaquesLiverot Established commenter

    I'm not sure what the qualifications are really supposed to show. Do you think that producing coursework means that the student actually the skill that they're supposed to have demonstrated?
    It'd be interesting to take students who've passed their OCR Nationals and see how many would pass Functional Skills (a practical exam). If they didn't all pass, what would that tell us? Or what about if we did it the other way round?
  6. JM6699

    JM6699 New commenter

    Often because the "production" of coursework involves endless teacher "feedback" which does (and sometimes doesn't) stop short of telling certain students exactly what to write.
    I've always been a supporter of the Nationals, but agreed something had to change. If taught properly, there was lots of room for creative teaching and student engagement, but centres that saw it as a vehicle to "get lower ability students through 4 GCSEs" damaged it and ultimately made it a laughing stock.
  7. tonyuk

    tonyuk Occasional commenter

    We do and they do not all get functional but thats because its only an exam with no course work at all - not all students have an aptitude for exams (including the higher ability kids as they get nervous etc.). A combination of course work and examinations works for me as it tests both elemets and the removal of multiple GCSE courses is a long overdue move!
  8. BarryRiley

    BarryRiley New commenter

    Aside from the very few high ability who simply cannot do exams though, are they not generally quite a good measure of a student's ability, and therefore able to accurately reflect what qualifications are supposed to reflect?

    It may sound harsh, but if a student is of a low ability, then this should be reflected by a low grade in an exam. Who is it helping to stick them on a GCSE equivalent course where they can come out with 4 passes? The focus doesn't seem to be on enabling these kids to achieve an education in a way more suited to their learning requirements, but rather skew their actual ability so that it looks more impressive on paper.

    I'm all for differentiating learning and assessment to allow pupils to achieve something in line with their ability but this doesn't seem to be the focus.
  9. tjra

    tjra Occasional commenter

    ...because answering questions about the advantages and disadvantages of 3 input devices and 3 output devices is an accurate and balanced indication of a student's ability in ICT??

    You may still believe that exams are a great way of assessing the ability of someone but for a practical subject like ICT that simply isn't true.
  10. tonyuk

    tonyuk Occasional commenter

    I would argue that the down fall is in the 4 GSCE - why does any pupil need 4 GSCE's in any subject this devalues it. I woul drather have a rigorous single GCSE that relies on both exam and course work thus we get the best of both worlds. Once these kids get a job they are more likely to be asked by their boss to write a report in their day to day work rather than take an exam!
  11. The current GCSE-style exams are not good for that, but the new BTEC online test and the CNAT written paper are the sort of exam that I would want students to do - it assesses their understanding of the course without being ridiculously rooted in traditional IT.

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