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Edexcel AS Level Unit 2

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

  1. I can't believe what I'm reading. It's outrageous!
    Our grades (as far as I can tell; we don't have the breakdown, of course!) were a little on the stingy side. two As from good candidates but not the ones we'd have picked out and Bs and Cs from very able candidates. The difference for me is that I've never found Edexcel to be very reliable, and, as I've said before on here, we had some awful grades a couple of years ago and since then they've been very varied. SO although ours this year weren't perfect I think we felt like we'd escaped ok!
    The only thing I'm pleased about is that there is no longer an externally examined practical in Y13 which is a huge relief to me as I feel much more confident about predicting grades. Although Unit 6 is hard and I know our students struggle with it I feel more confident that it's harder to mess up the grading of a written exam.
     
  2. I'm confused and discouraged about the practical marking for both GCSE and AS - I've never ever appealed a grade before but think I will have to this year. The levels this year seemed to bear no resemblance to those last year. Grim.
     
  3. We're yet another centre who are entirely shocked by our AS Unit 2 results. My class of 10 students gained 2 A grades, 4 D grades, 2 E grades and 2 U grades. Our deputy head (who was present at the exam) has been an A level Drama examiner for many years (although not this year) and he and I agree that these marks are ludicrous. The 2 A grades I agree with, but there is no way that these students are 3 grades above everyone else. One of the girls who was marked at a U, I would have given at least a B. Surely for a candidate to not even get a grade she would have to do something catastrophic?
    My candidates are distraught and I'm entirely confused - I just can't see rhyme or reason in this marking, and neither can an experienced examiner or a professional director, both of whom were in the exam itself. Even looking again at the mark scheme I can't see where they could've fallen down so dismally - I have candidates this year far more talented than some of the previous year's cohort but gaining 2 grades lower. This is going to affect their university applications and certainly in the case of my students has already affected their confidence in themselves.
    Now we're all in the situation where we have to counsel these students that Edexcel's lack of forethought and unfairness have affected. We intend to appeal, but the 'help'line at Edexcel inform me that it is around £35 per student to appeal. So we're set to pay around £250 in a vain attempt to gain justice for our students.
    I think Edexcel are set to make a lot of money on appeals this year
     
  4. That's awful. I can't imagine what a U grade student looks like. I had a girl who was pretty damn bad and I think she was a D/E grade.
    Like I say, I've never felt very confident with Edexcel's marks but it seems like it's considerably worse this year.
    You're right, with all of us applying for the breakdown of Unit 2 marks and so many appeals Edexcel will be raking it in!
     
  5. Thank god its not just us. I was fairly upset with our unit 2 AS marks one student who we had predicted would be a B and should have been recieved a D. I have always flown the flag for Edexcel but i am starting to doubt!!! It is annoying that we now have to pay to find out where they (edexcel)went wrong!!
     
  6. The comments on the examiner sheets they send back to centres for Unit 2 (if you pay for it) are very brief and give almost no indication of how a student could get a better grade next time. So, C grade comments all read as 'voice was good, movement was good' etc!! Very unhelpful indeed. Anyone heard anything back from appeals etc? It would seem from this thread that we really need to argue our case here re the utter inconsistency between old/new syllabus. Not fair on the students.
     
  7. Haven't heard anything yet . Could you tell from the sheet if there was a section in which your student did particularly well or poorly? I'm wondering if ours did better in the plays or monologues and if they lost marks on the written bit - a couple did find squeezing their ideas into 500 words hard... It would be useful if they would comment on the choice of pieces, etc...I checked my school email (why do I do that?) and notice I have THREE emails from Edexcel offering courses. I guess the idea is to confound us with their marking and then entice us to pay for more courses.
     
  8. The sheets give a mark out of 40 for mon/duologues and a mark out of 40 for the group practical. Each lot of 40 is broken down into 4 lots of 10. For our lot, they all just seemed to get 5/6 out of 10 for every aspect of performance (eg, voice, movement, communication etc) which equated to 'good' on the mark scheme. This is basically a C/D grade and the comments were all really positive. Last year these students would have got A/B. As for the written section A concept, very little differentiation in the marking between good and bad - one boy who rocked his up in half and hour and it was pretty bad got 4/10, a girl who had studied the play in tremendous depth and wrote a really sophisticated concept got 6/10. Not impressed at all. So difficult to contact Edexcel as well.
     
  9. Dramaquuenone I can only agree with what you are saying. This matches our reflections so far. We applied for 20/75 of our candidates scripts to be returned under ATS and the candidates whose marks I was most concerned about have fallen in that 5/6 category (in fact if you get 4 5’s – good – you end up with a D!!!)
    I also found our examiner was marking students against her own interpretation of the roles/characters rather than the interpretation the student had discussed in their written concept. For example; “…use of an R.P. accent demonstrates lack of consistency in character” – even though the candidate had explained the choices they had made in terms of accent in their own interpretation!
    Another issue – which is a major concern and to which I am seeking immediate feedback if possible – as I said, we applied for 20/75 of our scripts back under ATS. The first few came, and we had the two examiner’s comment sheets and the student’s written work (concept) copied and attached. The next day the bulk were returned … no written concept attached … I have now spoken to four different people at Edexcel who tell me the written concepts should not have been returned in the first place (just the examiner’s comment sheets) and they would not be sending any more out !!!!!!! I know I should have kept a copy … but I know now for next year (unless the call of WJEC gets stronger!)
    I am so so angry with this – if I apply for an ATS for Unit 6, then I get the student’s exam back and can look through and advise the student whether to apply for a remark or not. Suddenly now I am being told I can not see the student’s work !
    Dramaqueenone – have you been sent the concepts back?
    I am quietly getting crosser and crosser with this – Edexcel seem to think they have us – the paying customers – over a barrel. They seem to treat us with contempt – it is near on impossible to contact them or speak to the person you need to … we PAY for this service!
    What can we all do? I don’t want us all to let off too much steam on here, and then come 15th September when the final date for remarks has passed – to all go and get stuck into our hectic schedules and teaching work loads. Is there anything we can do?? Yes, I find it so supportive to have this voice and hear these replies, you remember you are not on your own – but drama is about more than words, it is about the primacy of action … so … any suggestions?
    Let us do something together rather than keep fighting this on our own.

     
  10. I got the written concepts back with the scripts but no annotation on them. Yes, I know what you are saying, I am SO angry, has literally spoilt last 2 weeks of my holiday.
    My school will be sending of a detailed letter to the chief examiner of Drama/Theatre Studies tomorrow re this issue alongside request for remarks but I don't know that this will do anything.
    It would appear that this really is an issue that has affected so many of us and that a group effort will be more beneficial - any ideas??
     
  11. We returned to school today to have our examiner's comments for unit 2 waiting for us - with the written concepts attached.
    It will be difficult to argue with any of her comments as they are perfectly reasonable, that is except for the word 'good' lumped at the beggining of each sentence where, in our opinion, at least some should have been considered excellent or outstanding.
    We are still determined to go ahead with a re-mark and then, failing this, our pupils will resit the unit. This is obviously at a huge expense to the school but we are lucky enough to have a head teacher who supports the department and our students on this issue.
    As for us all standing up to Edexcel on this one... well we have decided to vote with our feet and have already made contact with WJEC. We can't risk this happening again next year.

     
  12. thingwall

    thingwall New commenter

    It now looks like outstanding and excellent are A and B grades but instead of 80 and 70% more like 98 and 96%. Grade inflation indeed.
     
  13. I feel like a pit-bull who has their jaw locked onto this and can't now let go ... sorry.
    I have just spoken to someone in 'exam management' at edx and have been told that "written performance concepts" were sent back to some centres through ATS 'BY MISTAKE!!' but only the first batch - the rest did not have the WPC attached - and they wont have them!
    So ... is that fair?
    Some of my ATS 6DR02 have the WPC attached so I can have a proper overview as to whether they should pursue a remark or not ... others have not ... and because this year I or the students did not keep a copy (okay I've learnt) we can not have the full picture.
    Some other centres have had the WPC sent back!! (I would be interested to see how many have and how many have not!!)
    So ... I cried "discrimination against my centre and my students" today ... and "they will get back to me!!!!!
     
  14. I have been teaching Drama for 16 years and this is insane. Unit 2 AS level were not judged against the assessment criteria. My school has lodged complaints about lack of fairness ect. I think that we have power if collectively we form a consortium of discontent. Any takers?
     
  15. I also feel that the Unit 2 marking was utterly ridiculous we always get 100% As and Bs at A level and our Year 13s did that and they all got full marks in their practical, whereas our Year 12s have little to celebrate. The centre is excellent and this years results look like something has gone wrong. I am really upset about this drop and I think some kind of mass rebellion of drama teachers is absolutely necessary. we need to stand up to edexcel and stop their money grabbing incompetance as it only affects the kids.....
    I am going to seriously consider moving but I am sick of new syllabi having had so many changes recently not sure I want to do it all again. Especially as I will probably not be allowed out to be trained on anything else because of rarely cover it is so hopeless.
    Something has to happen before next year...any ideas how we can make edexcel see sense?


     
  16. I have been amazed and to some extent comforted by all the entries regarding the Edexcel AS Drama and Theatre Studies I have read on this forum. I too have had some dreadful Unit 2 marks that seem to bare no realtion to what was actually done by my students. My marks are not just low they are ridiculous with no recongnition of what I would regard as true talent. Are they suggesting that we do not know what we are doing?
    I totally agree with you about Edexcel taking financial responsibility for remarking the Unit 2. I have 27 students and the cost of getting them all remarked, which I feel is necessary, is prohibitive. There is something slightly obscene about the fact that we are having to pay for what is ostensibly their error or lack of judgement.
    We are all experienced and dedicated teachers who are passionate about our subject and hoping that we can engender that same on going passion in our students. How is this supposed to happen when we are so penalised by these examiners. Students are devastated and do not understand how all that hard work has given them nothing. I am not suggesting that they give out marks for the sake of it, but I do not understand by what criteria they are judging my students to be so talentless!
    Also why are they not prepared to give us the breakdown of the marks. There are three sections to Unit 2 and we have not idea how the marks are distributed. How on earth are we suposed to improve on the performacne of the up and coming year 12 if we do not have this information?
    Having been with Edexcel for GCSE and A level for 10 years now I am seriously considering moving to AQA. I just want to find an examining board that has some respect for all the hard work and long hours that we put into developing creativity in our students.
    At the moment though I feel like throwing in the towel completely. Edexcel have systematically driven all the joy and personal creativity out of me. I will be facing those disappointed students and trying to explain to them what happened, not the examiner, not Edexcel. They will be looking to me as someone they trusted and wanting answers. What do I tell them?
    Thanks for this forum. It is good to share
    M.W.
     
  17. Very much with you here. So how do we form this 'consortium of discontent'. Whatever we do needs to be done quite quickly, I assume. We can all send off individual letters of complaint/appeal as we are doing but unless we collectively make a big deal of this they are unlikely to go back on themselves, I would think.
     
  18. I have no idea how we can unite in order to change this for next year's kids
    perhaps an online petition?
    Obviously I would like us all to meet outside edexcels offices with placards and megaphones in order to demonstrate loudly (and peacefully) although posting dog poo to them is very tempting
    any other ideas?
     
  19. I am up for some joint action; I feel completely powerless when dealing with Edexcel, who make it clear that my dozen-odd candidates and I are well beneath their contempt.
    Can I ask those of you who've had unit 2 breakdowns back - did you all apply before the Aug 28th deadline? Because I missed it (we weren't back at school and I had no idea the deadline would be within 7 days of results) Edexcel have told me I can't apply for the original copies until 20th Sept. So they've got me over a barrel because I have 2 candidates who were both very close to a B overall and are thinking about re-marks. I said wait to decide till until we see the breakdown, but now I can't get the breakdown until after the re-mark deadline. Totally frustrating and unneccesary.
     
  20. and again the ones to suffer are the kids
    why does edexcel continually put them at the bottom of their priorities
    I am finding this whole thing upsetting, these poor kids!
     

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