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Edexcel AS Level Unit 2

Discussion in 'Drama and performing arts' started by Andy68, Aug 21, 2009.

  1. I too am angry with the Unit 2 marks - some very ufair marking here if we compare to the legacy specification and the new one, and if we compare grades for Unit 5 - surely our practical work teaching could not have changed that much? Ofqual say that there must be a consistency of standards - but I do not see examples of this here.
    Our students received grades lower than we expected (also based on assumptions by a member of our team who is himself a Unit 2 examiner.)
    Edexcel MUST publish a break down of the Unit 2 marks (including a breakdown of the 500 words / section A performance) in order that teachers can LEARN AND IMPROVE this year.
    Edexcel MUST provide immediate training (very near the start of the new term) for Unit 2. I purchased the £150 guide, I went on the training - but no no avail - I feel my students have been unfairly treated by this new specification and I would be interested to hear from AQA teachers to see if their experiences have been the same.
    I am gutted for my students and now - at the department's expense, will have to request examiner's comments be sent back in order to try and understand the marking and then - at the department's expense, have to go down the remark route.
    No more smoke and mirrors Edexcel - no more taking our money, just give us the break downs of Unit 2 (I know this will be expensive for you, and time consuming, but maybe just do it for this year to save many students dropping the spec into A2 and to ensure you retain all the centres you have at present!
    Sorry for the rant!!
     
  2. Have just had a reply from Edexcel that maybe of help to people:
    "If you wish to receive a break down of your candidates performance you will need to request a Component Mark Sheet. This can be requested via Edexcel Online, and will arrive within 24 hours.

    If you do not have access to Edexcel Online, please speak to your Exams Office within your centre as they will be able to either set up an account for you, or request the document on your behalf.

    Kind Regards

    Edexcel Customer Services"
    Will try now and see what happens!
     
  3. This is very useful to know.

    It is always strange looking at an external marker's perspective, but having taught the old Edexcel specification for some time, I am not happy with the new AS Unit 2 at my new centre for the new specification - the marking seemed perhaps careless and very erratic indeed. The marks for Paper 2 were poorly ranked - it seemed able and focused students marked below students of clearly lower calibre.

    By contrast the marking and guidance I received from AQA on the outgoing specification which I had not taught before was excellent, clear and intelligent in rationale. Although I have always been cautious of their weightier exam components, looking at the Edexcel 60% A2 Paper 4, I wonder whether there is a great deal of difference if my students are going to be marked in a seemingly erratic way.

    Definitely time now to reconsider after this first year of trying the spec. I'm not feeling the human touch from Edexcel. I just want a well marked Drama qualification that reflects students abilities and is explicable. This really doesn't feel like it.
     
  4. Hi there,
    We are in exactly the same position here - so glad to have found this thread. Students in our centre have conistently been achievening excellent grades over the past 5 years with the old edexcel syllabus in the practical exams (mainly A/B grades) and this year ALL received C/D/E grades for the 6DRO2 practical. At first, I thought that this must be a clerical error but reading these posts and others, I am now doubting that. Having seen the performances, I and all of my collegues simply refuse to accept that the highest grade, awarded to a student who is currently working in the professional theatre over the summer should be a C!! Not one student out of the entire cohort came out of character or forgot lines etc and some performances were brilliant. What can they expect from a 5 minute duologue?! I too went on all of the courses etc - what a waste!
    Where exactly do we go from here? The videos of the practicals hardly do the students justice and the re-mark route appears to be a lengthy process. These students are applying to University over the coming months. My exams officer has contacted Edexcel and he seems to think it will take 10 days to receive any feedback, not the 24 hourse as stated in another post???
    As you said, there appears to be NO consistency between old/new syllabi or between examiners. The worst of it is that it seems to be impossible to speak to a subject specific advisor from Edexcel.
    Any ideas?? Help!!
    Thanks,
    Cheryl
     
  5. To be honest, this years were quite fair, though I did feel that one or two were harshly treated but only by a grade. This is in contrast to a couple of years ago when students, of the same ability as those now getting As and Bs, got Cs and Ds on Unit 2. I have found the marking of this unit, and Unit 5, inconsistent sinde I started teaching it 6 years ago. I can't see the consistency year on year and so when students want a prediction for that Unit I find it extremely difficult to answer. So I know how you're feeling, it's really horrible.

    I really want the breakdown though, and I don't feel we should have to request this, surely this should come anyway. I don't know whether the students whose marks were slightly low lost marks on their monos, the group or the written. Also, those who've done really well, I don't know where their marks were awarded. As we're teaching this again this year we could do with knowing for planning and our own assessments.
     
  6. The new mark scheme ( 'Outstanding' = A, 'Excellent' = B, 'Good' = C etc) is ridiculous; so subjective and dependant upon which examiner each centre has.
     
  7. I totally agree. I think that's always been the same though. I think the problem has always been consistency and that the mark scheme is so, so subjective. I was working with a professional actor who came in to give the kids a workshop. She's highly trained and specialises in devised theatre and I showed her the mark scheme and she was stunned!

    It is too hard to appeal (there was a massive thread on this a couple of years ago and I contributed to an article for Teaching Drama about it) and, like you say, the video evidence is useless. There's no option to re-sit, which leaves us in a very different position to other subjects that have that option for at least the exam unit.

    Don't know what to say apart from that. I've been lucky this year and the discrepancies were relatively minor and overall grades were fair so I'll probably let it go. I know that next year might be a different story though. I don't know if other exams boards are different but I've spent a lot of time researching them and, despite my worries about this, I still feel that the highly practical and non-prescriptive nature of Edexcel means it gives our kids the best chance of a decent grade. I don't know what can be done though...
     
  8. Huge sympathy with many of the posters here. I've come to the conclusion that this course is simply too inconsistently assessed for me to continue teaching it. The mark schemes are extremely open to interpretation and the rankings and spread of grades awarded are frequently bizarre. I include the written element in this assessment of the Edexcel course. I've experienced able but not outstanding groups all being awarded full marks for Unit 5 (despite a number being nowhere near deserving of this), to groups of talented girls (this year) being lumped together and awarded low E grades (despite gaining B grades in Unit 2 and in written components). The students often cannot understand the limited and vague nature of the mark scheme and, frankly, neither can I. Predictions are hugely difficult to make and not providing a breakdown for Unit 2 AS this year is an absolute disgrace. The excessivley onerous administration of these practical exams seems only to create a paper trail to enable Edexcel to hide behind an inadequate and excessively subjective assessment process.
    Any insights from AQA centres are welcome as I am seeking to change as soon as possible.
     
  9. Hi
    If it's any consolation to anyone, my students have also been marked particularly low. I have just asked for a re-mark for one of them and for the mark sheets to see if it'll help. I think the examiners have been rather harsh on the students and a lot of mine have lost confidence in their abilities as a result.
    It's not fair on the students!
     
  10. Ditto for Unit 2 (and a few candidates for unit 5, with the same examiner). We fully expected our students to get a grade higher than has been awarded. One student was marked D and we really feel that he should have been a B, or at least a high C. Surely, to get a D the candidate would have had to have done something wrong, but my colleage and I (nearly 30 years' experience between us) feel that he gave an 'excellent' performance - we knew it wasn't outstanding, but he engaged the audience all the time and certainly never came out of character. I wonder if the naturalistic play wasn't to Edexcel's liking, and if they wanted something more stylised? I've given up trying to guess/work out what they want. It's impossible to know what's going on; we all look at the examplar material for coursework, and go to the meetings and look at the levels for the practical exams, but there seems to be little correllation between what we're told to do/anticipate, and what actually happens in the marking. This year's AS, I think, has been marked particularly harshly. I now have students who are lacking confidence in themselves and in their teachers! I now have a lot of work to do to convince these students not to drop Drama, because this would put A2 in jeopardy for the centre. I agree that the mark scheme is inadequate (I raised this issue at a meeting and was simply told it was too late to make any changes now) and I agree that we should automatically get a breakdown of how the marks have been awarded - how else can we addres the issue and change mono/duo/play choices to try and do better next time?
    I wonder how everyone's Unit 1 went? The mark scheme here is also far from perfect, and we've certainly been marked a lot lower than the examplar material suggests. Overall, a really disappointing set of results for the new spec.
     
  11. I've been on the Ken Taylor/ Yahoo Drama-uk site talking about this (as Bryfledra). I'm absolutely furious with my AS unit 2 marks - basically 3 grades below what I expected. I've just done a comparasion with last years Unit 2 (Yes not the same but...) and the weakest candidates then were getting 30-40 more out of 120 than this year's best candidates.
    I've a student, currently in the NYT, who got 45/120 for the Unit 2 - a complete joke. I expected 110+ depending on what they thought of the written bit.
    We'll appeal, but it's got to be the end for me and Edxcel at A Level, and I'm wondering what surprises they've got for the new GCSE!
     
  12. I too was very disappointed with my marks for unit 2. I have never appealed/ had anything re-marked before so could someone tell me how to go about this. Is it just a case of letting my exams officer know?
     
  13. According to Edexcel, you must request the 'component mark sheet' which one assumes will detail the breakdown of mono and performance marks? only then can we ascertain the quality of eyesight and hearing of the examiner, which in our case, was decidedly ropey.
     
  14. I have set up a facebook group for drama teachers and all those interested in drama education, please join everyone, the more the merrier!
    Join Here
     
  15. Yes you need to see your exams officer but do it as soon as you get back. I wrote a supporting letter a couple of years ago with mine and I did it before we went back then a member of SLT also looked over it with me. It helped getting it all off my chest as well!!
    I must say, I've never had any luck with appeals with Edexcel but good luck! I know the feeling! :(
    I've applied today for the component breakdown for Unit 2 but I've been charged for it! Outrageous!
     
  16. It's appalling that we can't get the marks breakdown without paying for it. Our SLT say Ofsted always want to see that the kids know what grade they're on and what they need to do to move up; well, any Edexcel A2 students this year won't have a clue unless we pay out yet more money. I've written to Ask The Expert about this, and also to Edexcel's complaints department and have heard nothing back. Our unit 2 results were ok, some better than I expected which was a big relief because we've had some very random marking on the old unit 2 in the past. Even so, I am dying to sit down and work out which bits were weak and plan what I can do about it. It sort of shows how out-of-touch the board is with what's going on in teaching - they're all about secrecy and papertrails and selling you guides for hundreds of pounds, and not a hint of reflective practice.
     
  17. As an Edexcel Unit 2 examiner (and teacher of the spec) I am also appalled by the low grades my own students achieved this year. I know that we examiners were given much harsher criteria for marking the Unit 2 performances this year, and we told (reasonably enough) that this was to compensate for the lack of the old Unit 3 written exam, which generally would bring down the overall mark. Without it, and using the old marking crireria, grades would have unrealistically gone through the roof.
    However, we were told that, although marking would be harsher, grade boundaries would be more lenient, so that the overall grades achieved would be on a par with the old spec. To my mind, this has clearly not happened.
    I urge everyone to appeal against results - let Edexcel be swamped, so that questions are raised as to the way gradings have been applied this year.
     
  18. That's outrageous! They can't just be harsher on the practical because they've removed the written element. They're two comletely different skills! I'm so angry to hear that!
     
  19. That's exactly what I have heard from examiners. In fact one set of examiners was explicitly told that if they gave too many high band grades they would be removed from being an examiner!!
    EXPLICITLY TOLD THAT!!
    I understand that grades could not keep going up.
    I understand that for a new spec you need to set a base line from which you can go up year on year as teachers understand the marking criteria (IF THEY ARE ALOUD TO SEE THE BREAKDOWN OF MARKS !!!)
    What I don't understand is WHY STUDENTS HAVE BEEN PUNISHED THIS YEAR - it affects futures.
    I have argued all along that there is no 'equality of standards' so this should be an Ofqual matter.
    I agree we need to ALL COMPLAIN to Edexcel and the maybe look to making complaints to Ofqual.
    My SMT have sent a letter of complaint to the Chief Examiner, we have made an official complaint to Edexcel (no reply yet), we have got some papers back and will not ask for some remarks in the hope of sparking a whole centre remark.
    It is my understanding that if 8 remarked students go up then that will spark a whole centre remark but I am hoping to get some clarification of this from members of this forum.
    Edexcel have activley worked to use all 5 grade boundaries this year - and it seems that has been irrespective of the quality of work!
     
  20. We are another centre that are completely appalled by this year's marking of the unit 2 AS. Like other centres we have had students that we consider to be 'A' students given a 'D' for their performances.
    We were hopng for much better grades, especially as our visiting examiner was the same person we had last year and she was 'spot-on' with her marking as all pupils of all abilities achieved the grades they deserved. We strongly suspected on seeing our grades that she had been warned to 'clamp down' this year as these candidates are as stong if not stronger than the previous years.
    We have now already made moves to switch to WJEC as we feel that with the new specification the marking of the AS is so erratic and unfair that as a result the new A2 will undoubtedly become an uphill struggle from now on.
    We have requested the examiner's notes back and if not granted a re-mark we intend to re-sit the practical performances... if allowed.
    My question is... does anybody know if pupils are able to repeat the same pieces? as with a large class and the new A2 to crack on with as well as a school production it seems an almost impossible task to come up with ALL new monologues/dualogues as well as group pieces.Despite the low marks we were more than happy with both the pupils and their chosen plays (ranging from 'Othello' to 'Raspberry') and fully believe that the fault lies with Edexcel on this occasion.
    Like several other posters we feel that our pupils have suffered a complete injustice and demand that Edexcel answer for this.
     

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