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CPAC Visit

Discussion in 'Science' started by mattcox800, May 10, 2016.

  1. mattcox800

    mattcox800 New commenter

    Just curious to know whether anyone else has had a CPAC visit. Having done the online training and read the handbook, I was surprised that the documentary requirements were so great. The minimum documentary requirements in the AQA handbook are not even close to what I was asked to produce and consequently we are facing another disruptive visit. At least I now know what evidence they require.
  2. Ssn77

    Ssn77 New commenter

    What did they expect you to produce?

    (and thanks for the warning)
  3. mattcox800

    mattcox800 New commenter

    A scheme of work that not only detailed when the assessed practical was to be done but which of the 5 CPACs (including subsections like 2a or 2b) would be assessed for each practical, the original sheets used by the teacher when making judgments on each student during the experiment, the assessment criteria that we should have written to reach the judgments for each of the assessed practicals, a record of the subsections of each CPAC that had been passed (i.e. their own spreadsheet is inadequate). I may be wrong but I don't think the handbook requires the above. I pointed this out to the senior person who was quality assuring the junior person who was assessing me and her response was that the guidance was written before she was in post. My question to other teachers is about how 'common' this approach is rather than the appropriateness of what was asked for.
  4. Ssn77

    Ssn77 New commenter

    Which subject and board was the assessment by? If it is AQA, I found their spreadsheets to be unusable. As soon as I tried to change any data (someone swapped classes), the spreadsheet didn't update properly, and showed a mixture of old and new data. I also want to see the whole year together, and the spreadsheet wouldn't let me add further students to a page.
  5. mattcox800

    mattcox800 New commenter

    AQA chemistry. I have found the spreadsheet usable so far but I was told it is not good enough.
  6. AQAScienceMatthew

    AQAScienceMatthew New commenter

    Dear Mattcox800,

    I'm sorry to hear that your visit wasn't as positive as you had hoped. I can't comment on individual cases, but the guidance in the Practical Handbook still stands. If you want further support or help, please can you contact the A-level Science team directly at alevelscience@aqa.org.uk or ring 01483 477 756 and they'll be able to assist you.

    Ssn77 - thanks for the feedback on the spreadsheet itself. We'll have a look and see if there's a way of improving it ready for next year.

    Best wishes,

  7. mattcox800

    mattcox800 New commenter

    Dear Matthew
    Following the visit I do now know what is expected. My point is that it is beyond what the guidance says is required and I think it's only fair that others are not placed in the position I have been. With respect, if the handbook still stands then it does not stand alone.
    Many thanks.
  8. The_Count

    The_Count New commenter

    Certainly what you are being asked for sounds like more than was needed during the pilot phase of the visits. It would be a great shame if the practical assessment becomes enmeshed in a tangle of paperwork, especially given that the vast majority of students should get the endorsement.
  9. Ssn77

    Ssn77 New commenter

    We were told that the new practical endorsement would not mean a mountain of paperwork for teachers, but that is what it seems to be.

    What does this mountain of paperwork prove? If I have an hour's lesson to run an A level chemistry practical for 16 students, my time is going to be spent making sure they understand what they are doing, and that they are doing it safely. That we have time to process any calculations at the end, and that the practical is tidied up in time for the next class. I can write a scheme of work for practicals and include the subsections being assessed in each practical, but I cannot run a practical in limited time and assess each student in a class for multiple skills whilst recording all of this. Inevitably, some of the paperwork will be completed after busy lessons, just to keep the exam boards happy.

    We keep lab books where students enter the date when they did a practical, record results, complete calculations, and draw graphs. Surely this should be the focus of any CPAC visit.
  10. mattcox800

    mattcox800 New commenter

    The focus is on the trail of evidence rather than your ability to assess them or their ability to to chemistry. We too had the above in the lab books but in the absence of my contemporaneous notes much of it was considered unverifiable and therefore there was a 'lack of evidence'. The students' lab books were examined in detail and were found to be mainly fine (with some minor but fair criticism) but then why wouldn't they be? Apart from needing to mark them with reference to each CPAC criteria being assessed we seemed to be doing the right thing.
    We were also told that our class of 19 was unworkable for a practical assessment. We were told to either reduce the number or to only assess half at a time. The half being assessed could wear a sash (Miss-world style, I kid you not) to enable them to be identified.
  11. The_Count

    The_Count New commenter

    As one of those involved in the consultation process and the trials I'm pretty disappointed that this is being pushed in the way that you are describing. The level of evidence was deliberately pegged to allow full classes to be assessed at once, even in relatively large class sizes.

    It seems to me that you have two people visiting you who have little idea about how the CPAC process was designed and the burden of paperwork that is actually required - I'd suggest appealing the decision as otherwise the CPAC will become unworkable for many schools. It was designed to be straightforward and it is if both inspectors and teachers use some common sense.

    The idea that lab books are unverifiable is just nonsense - the whole idea was that they should be the principle source of evidence and should be treated with great respect by students as a consequence.
  12. misspiggy82

    misspiggy82 New commenter

    We had a visit for OCR Physics. The Head of Physics had to show exactly where the skills were assessed and when they would be assessed. Her spreadsheet had to show all of the subsections of the PAG skills, and had to marry up with students written work. The assessor made it clear that just because we felt a practical assessed a specific skill or sub skill, we had to be able to show detailed evidence of it in individual students written work and couldn't just rely on a teacher judgement of their students ability, or what they had seen in a lesson. Our assessor went on and on about the amount of evidence necessary, and we only scraped through our assessment.
  13. drek

    drek Star commenter

    a hundred percent of the A level grade is to come from exams and the CPAC assessors are marching in demanding a trail of paperwork evidence for the practicals?
    . In the same year they've changed the examined elements and brought the exams in earlier?
    Assessors saying that they have been trained to monitor reams of paperwork? Different to the handbook guidance?
    The suggested exam board spreadsheets not suitable?
    Stress physics teachers so that even the reluctant few don't want to stay in teaching?
    Well done exam boards.
  14. geoff_17

    geoff_17 New commenter

    Has anyone who has received an inspection had multiple departments visited or is it only one of the three sciences? I know that the premise was that one subject would represent the whole of science but in very large centres I wonder if there has been any crossover?

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