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Edexcel AS Level Unit 2

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

  1. My AS results were really bad this year, and I have felt powerless and frustrated by Edexcel's approach to marking this exam and so I was delighted to see the article in the TES and that this forum has prompted such an outcry. I was feeling that I was alone in trying to take on the "faceless" system of the exam board, so far two remarks have come back unchanged - you have to think they haven't even watched the DVD and I'm still waiting for an entire re-moderation to be carried out.
    I know that girls at my school are high academic achievers as well as being talented and that they perform above the national average, 11 years of A level teaching has given me the experience to recognise this. Moderators have always, until now, supported my marking and left it unchanged and Examiners given consistently 100% for their performances.
    This year though, my Unit 1 grades were reduced across all 9 candidates by the moderator as much as 32%. So my group of students who between them have 4 distinctions at LAMDA silver medals, 2 of whom are performing with NYT this summer, 1 who has an agent and works professionally, 3 who are straight As in all subjects but Drama at AS, my A* GCSE candidates got just 3 Bs and 5 Cs and a D because of the moderator's severity and an Examiner's harsh marking of Unit 2.
    I feel utterly bewildered and think this is terribly unfair, as there are now concerns over C grades affecting Oxbridge entrance and so on. It has made me lose a couple of my A2 candidates as well which is a real pity as they have lost confidence. I'm sure you can appreciate that in my school that the B/C grades do not reflect the talents of some of my girls who I know from experience are exceptional candidates and indeed are on our G&T register for Drama.
    Thank you to all the Drama teachers who are getting together to stand up to Edexcel, they cannot get away with this.
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  2. The fight still goes on it seems - page 8 of the Observer today discuss how the private schools are banding together about seeming grade defaltion, and quotes drama as a prime example.
    If nothing else happens I hope it leads those at the top of Edx drama to stop and think, to realise the reprecussions of their actions and to know that they will be challenged from time to time - which is nothing but a good thing.
  3. That's good. It seems like Edex are being hit hard this year. I'm on a course this week, I'm almost nervous!
    I didn't get the tes, is the article online anywhere?
  4. resources4drama

    resources4drama New commenter

  5. <h1>This is an extract from a letter I sent to Edexcel.....I have spent quite a long time analysing our marks and grades this year. I have attached a copy for you just so that you can put my comments into perspective. The highlighted students have performed below prediction.While we were certainly not expecting them all to get As and predominantly they are ranked where we would put them - there is a huge difference between achieving a D grade and a B grade in performance work.Putting subjectivity aside - what I still feel hasn't been done effectively is the adjustment of the raw mark grade boundaries so that you can still get a mid-high A - not 'just scrape' an A for excellent practical work. Apart from one candidate - all our A students achieved the maximum of 32/40 which at 80% is a very low/just an A.Given that the AS year is predominantly practical/coursework and there is no A* at AS - candidates should be able to build up a strong UMS profile to take into the A2 year so that differentiation can occur (as in previous years) with the rigorous written paper - now Unit 4 and worth 60%. It is not possible to assume that a high Unit 1 mark will help them either as there is still the A* (9-10) mark band and a high raw mark boundary of 82% just to scrape an A.This is not just about all of my students getting As - this is about being able to reward the students for their work and skills appropriately and knowing that at the end of the AS year the students are being fairy marked and that the boundaries and grades are justified. At the moment, I cannot see how the students are going to get close to As and A* next year without strong UMS at AS. These seem unattainable at the moment and given my years of experience, this cohort are as strong as any other we have had through, yet many of them are scraping an A grade. <font face="Arial" size="2">I pointed out to an Assistant Principal Examiner earlier in the year that, according to the specification, just to scrape an A in Unit 2, a candidate would need to get 8s in every criteria. I can see that Edexcel did adjust the raw mark slightly so that 74% was an A - but then they upped the Unit 1 grade boundary to 82% for an A. So, the A becomes just as tough to achieve and the A* an impossibility.</font>I just don't see the rationale for being SO tough at AS level. A 10 should be an A* - but 8s and 9s should be achievable by the strongest candidates so that they can get mid As.It now just puts so much pressure on Units 1 and 3 now for the candidates to all get As and A* marks in their coursework if we want to even get them close to As overall....It will force teachers to be too generous with their Unit 1 and 3 marks and give their candidates more help than is allowed just to ensure that they have a chance of achieving a top grade. It goes against our professional judgement!I can appreciate that this was going to be a difficult year - and it has been in no uncertain terms, for teachers. This feeling has been shared by the colleagues in my department and all of those I spoke to as an examiner.It is difficult to continue with a specification that does not treat the candidates fairly and causes teachers such stress and anxiety at every step of the way.In our situation we have requested remarks for those students' marks that fell way below our predictions (in terms of grades achieved) but in the meantime my candidates and staff are feeling extremely deflated and defeated after an already difficult year. The candidates', and our own confidence as teachers, has been shattered once again.</h1>
  6. px5


    page 6 of todays Times has an article on "rigged grades".
    However it does not mention the inequality of marking between edxcel and aqa. Those who took the aqa exam have attained higher marks than their peers who took the edxcel exam. This disparity between the boards makes things even more inequitable for students who have through no fault of their own been penalised by the flawed edxcel exam.
  7. Edexcel course tomorrow in London....looking forward to the chat!
    I hope Edexcel will arrange for a feedback session in the near future about the AS last year. AQA certainly are having such feedback sessions.
  8. thingwall

    thingwall New commenter

    I wish I was going but feel they should be paying me rather than t'other way. Wonder how they'll respond to you. Their favourite tactics last year were at one meeting the 'please keep questions till the end when you'll look stupid asking it 'cos I've moved on and everyone's bored now' and at another 'I know it's awful but do it right next year please.'
  9. Hope your course was informative. I would really like to hear how it went. I've applied for the Achieving Success course in December at Reading. If anyone else attends an EdExcel course feedback would be very welcome here. And have you contacted Paul Caputa about the protest?
  10. Hi crunchynut, sorry for the delay...
    I usually try to manage Unit 1 resits as a kind of "top-up" - if a student resits a written exam they start from the knowledge they gained the first time so I think its's only fair to do the same with coursework. I do a few (very few!) after hours sessions: one to recap both texts, return essays and advise what needs to be improved / rewritten from the year before. I then try to set an practical assignment or two on each text i.e. a short scripted extract which is to be rehearsed and performed (students need to work on this in their own time) After it has been performed they can do a presentation to cover interpretation etc. I carry over their bext workshop marks from the year before. As I say, this obviously relates to the old spec - I'll probably need to manage things a little differently to comply with the new spec. Some students who really struggled with the work at the beginning of first year find it so straightforward a year on, and obviously all their knowledge and understanding has been developing for an extra 12 months...the grades tend to radically improve [​IMG]
  11. Heard back from Edexcel about our final re-mark pupil yesterday. They had previously miscalculated this girl's overall marks and as a result there has been a 3 week delay on hearing the final result of her unit 2 re-mark.
    The good news is she has been raised by 7 marks and she only needed 5 to achieve a B. That now means that 5 out of our 14 re-marks went up. We have also been sent the re-mark examiner's comments scribbled on top of the original examiners. He writes 'The (original)examiner's positive comments do not correlate with the low marks given'.
    We are pleased there has been some shift in our apalling AS grades but will still be spending a hefty chunk of next term re-sitting unit 2.
  12. I wonder if anyone else is in a similar position. I asked for 4 re-marks of GCSE paper 2 and 1 for AS. The GCSE were apparently done in 1 day and it took a few weeks for the AS- none were changed at all. (The AS only needed one more mark to go up to a B, yet it kept the identical mark.) However, Edexcel has been unable to send back to me the second examiners' sheets for any of the re-marks. They eventually sent me the first examiner sheets, but were unable to supply the second, though say they will do when they are available It seems fishy to me that the GCSE re-marks which apparently were done over a month ago still don't have a second examiner sheet available on them, the AS was completed about 2 weeks ago, so again, strange. The original marking, though there were some valid points, was odd - one boy who actually is half-American was only judged to have an 'appropriate' American accent!! I don't know what you'd have to do to have an excellent one. Another boy, who, if anything ,I would say was slightly ponderous was 'rushed' in his vocal delivery.
    We're not going to do any re-sits, but I feel very uncertain about how to guide this year's AS students.

  13. If centres have design candidates (for unit two) I suggest they monitor any remark closely. EDEXCEL have been breach of their own I.C.E. rules by marking these candidates without looking at their portfolios (which account for a significant part of their marks).
    Also I suggest you all ask for the "moderators notes". The gap between the comments and the grades given are huge (and I doubt will get much better next year). We had one student described as "the best portayal of this role I have ever seen". Unfortuantely all the following comments for that candidate (there are seven uses of the word excellent) only work out as a low B.
  14. I've spen weeks thinking that I was one of just a 'few centre's' who were affected by lower results, I've just been reading through the forum and although it is good to know that I am not alone, I really want to make my voice heard. Can you tell me where the petition is so that I can put my name on it or any other avenues that I can get involved with to make a stand about Edexcel's poor judgement.

  15. Sooooo frustrated! My poor HOD as spent most of the day on the phone arguing with edexcel. Despite having the moderator's comments come back stating that one of our pupils has been raised by 6 marks, which would take her up to a B, Edexcel have not acknowledged this re-mark and has sent us her result as a C yet again. When told about the sheets we've recieved from the moderator the woman on the phone said 'Well we don't know anything about this 6 marks. Where are you getting this information from? According to us she hasnt moved at all'.
    This is infuriating when we have the comments and the new marks from the moderator for unit 2 right in front of us! This pupil needed 5 marks to go up to a B and the moderator rasied her unit 2 by 7 marks.
    We have now faxed this information to them but can't believe the lack of communication between departments at Edexcel. It makes me wonder how many other candidates this has happened to.
  16. We too have design candidates ... on the night of the exam the examiner took their portfolios away with them .... they were then sent back to me.
    I applied for remarks (still having the portfolios on my desk) and they didn't go up!!!!
    I asked about this through Ask The Expert and was told that ... the portfolios would have been shown 'on the dvd recording of the presentation and that the examiner shouldn't have taken these away with her.
    As far as I can see the portfolio and the concept make up 50% of the marks .. how can they remark without this information??????
  17. We had our remarks finally back today and guess what - no change.
    Edexcel have put themselves in a terrible situation now because any major change on their part would be an admittion of guilt and they are simply not going to do that. Why should they, then they will make hundreds of thousands of pounds from centres wanting remarks and selling their stupid handbooks and past exam papers.
    No, Edexcel are not worth even a waste of breath in my opinion.
    There are two of us who teach drama in my centre and between us we have 70 years worth of experience teaching drama and not once in either of our careers have we came across such a situation like this and a response from the exam board that is so arrogant in its denial of a problem.
    We will be writing a letter of complaint, which will be unfortunately will only satisfy our frustration and anger because for Edexcel it will be water off a ducks back for them. What do they care? They seemed to have turned from what was once a caring and helpful exam board into a corporate money making business.
    What will make more effect than anything else is changing boards and I urge everyone to do that. Voting with your feet to another board will hit Edexcel in the place where they seem to care most - their bank balance.
  18. RE: AS Unit 2 Section A
    I would also like to know how small centres feel about having to do monologues and duologues on the same night/day. I feel it is unfair that some students in other centres have weeks inbetween the two units yet mine had a matter of minutes to prepare themsleves for a 50 group piece of a totally different play. A skill that even a professional actor would find challening.
  19. resources4drama

    resources4drama New commenter

    Are you saying that no-one at all turned up or that someone else did it in his stead?
  20. OK....which exam board shall we all use starting in September 2010....because edexcel have had it with me. Pro's and cons of AQA and WJEC?

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