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Edexcel GCSE drama results: a world of make-believe

Discussion in 'Drama and performing arts' started by sackbarrow, Aug 25, 2011.

  1. I mean I'm picky. As I say; I make comments such as "downward inflection in voice" or "lacks fluidity in movement; particularly in scene X".
    We've not been instructed to say anything to be honest. At the standardisation meeting, I was surprised to see that I was, at times, a little generous in my marking (we practiced by watching some examples on video and marked them before being told the marks awarded).
    As I've said before, the marks that I initially gave may NOT be the marks that appear as the final mark as the work is re-marked before final marks are issued.
    I mark what I see but I don't think I'm over generous - in that sense fair.
    And, I HAVE seen lots of brilliant stuff......as I am sure I will again next year.
    None of that probably makes sense but I know what I mean, in my head anyway!!!
     
  2. Colleagues
    I have evidence of 18 schools that appear to have been mis-marked. If we could compile a list of the Heads of Drama and schools on here I'm quite willing to get my Head to contact Edexcel. Over 30 schools were in the same boat because of poor marking at AQA. A list was compiled and a Head contacted them. They are now looking in to the marking and grades may be improved.
    We may find that if enough of us complain together we may get a re-think from the Board.
     
  3. My big bugbear, and what I'd like to see changed at GCSE and A level, is the vagueness of the wording. I think I've said it on here before but the same criteria replicated but the word adequate replaced by good replaced by excellent etc. To me it's far too open to interpretation.


    Someone else on here (forgive me but I can't remember who) compared it to the English criteria, which gives specific technical things to look for at each level. This is what we need. Another similar example is the grading of lessons at school. (I hope I'm not opening another can of worms!!) We now have a grid which has the four grades down the side and specific criteria in each one with definite things to look for. It's really made the process so much easier and far less subjective.


    We either say 'you can't do that with drama as it's not possible to pin it down', in which case we admit it's subjective and we need more than one marker (in the case of practical exams) or we say 'it's not subjective and we only need one marker' in which case we need criteria that aren't so open to interpretation.


    This would make the marking of all the coursework easier, and it's to no-ones advantage (exam board, teachers, pupils) for there to be confusion here. If so many people have been scaled this year then clearly there is huge confusion over the standard or the work that's expected. I must admit the course I went on was very vague and the answer to many of the questions was 'we won't know until after the first cohort has gone through'.


    It would also improve the preparation for practical exams as I never really know what to expect from year to year and am finding this increasingly stressful.


    Just occasionally wish I taught a subject like maths where 2 + 2 always makes 4.
     
  4. This is a good example of what I'm talking about. These are all your interpretation of the bands - so you have an idea in your head of where 'downward inflection' would be. I don't know whether this is what you've been told specifically on your examiner training or whether it's something you've gleaned along the way. So why not put 'a tendency towards repetitive inflection' in the wording of the adequate band? And then be specific about how that would be improved to be good 'inflection is varied and appropriate to the meaning and blah blah blah' and then excellent and finally in outstanding. And rather than 'good use of movement', 'movement is fluid and whatever blah blah blah...' Probably these are things we'd pick up on as teachers but we may still debate a bit where we'd band them. So being absolutely clear would make it so much easier and far less open for debate.
     
  5. Not forgetting the subtle hints and implications that centres are supposed to act upon.
     
  6. We were marked down as well for unit two. Apparently my record of work did not provide the students with "adequate opportunity to meet the requirements of the specification" this was a bit of a surprise as the county drama advisor had written it with me! (He has also written a textbook for the course)
     
  7. Oh, and I forgot my favourite piece of criticism, apparently it was difficult to make out the identified students on the DVD as they were all wearing school uniform! Now who could have seen that one coming at the planning stages? Surely no schools actually require their students to wear a uniform?
     
  8. I do appreciate that but as I said, I am pretty sure that a large proportion of the schools do have strict uniform policies, and as I made the students identify themselves within the actual workshop to the camera I did do my best to make identification as easy as possible within the school rules. Perhaps I should provide a selection of hats this year?
     
  9. This year in drama teaching, a year like no other...

    My results having averaged 80% with Edexcel drama for over a decade, were 5% this year. I made a few mistakes with the paper work, and I sent the wrong video, but for this to result in my cohort achieving 2 to 3 grades lower than predicted is terrible for the students and for me.

    Patronizing responses from Edexcel at the remark and subsequent appeal. I think unless you are a private school with cash to spend on court fees, they do not take you seriously at the remark stage. There priority is to prop up their moderating system and not undermine that.

    Extraordinary to think that I was a moderator for unit 1 last year, doing 17 schools. My marks this year were 'extremely generous' compared to the national average. Been accepted as a moderator again this year.

    Perhaps I got complacent, but the outcome was amazing (running out of superlatives here!). Our unit 3 was marked in a very haphazard way as well with a scripted group all getting As, but all the rest, doing devised, not getting higher than a D.

    I think we should all do a mass walk out on Edexcel. There are alot of well paid people who have not stepped inside a school for a quarter of a century at Edexcel, who are very comfortable in there jobs (this does sound appealing at present I have to say!).

    I have heard Ginny Spooner a decade ago saying in an INSET that Edexcel 'trusts you hard working teachers'. At the time I thought 'do not trust us as we will do anything to get the best results'. Now I think she has very much come round to that way of thinking, or has been forced to by OFQUAL, as she only trusts the moderators who have had to travel to some God awful place in the Midlands for one day, and are then perfect experts in the art of drama marking. Not that it is subjective or anything.

    I was only going to write a paragraph and I am still going. Thanks if you are still with me and sharing my pain.

    To finish, moderators/examiners need to know what grade that their mark is going to give, so that they know what pain they are going to instill by constantly feeling that they need to mark down, even though we learnt to mark down last year. The grade boundaries did a huge leap last year, and I leapt with them. Still get marked down by 2 grades. The box that we used to have to say what moderation/standardising we had done within the department, needs to be put back on, and moderators need to read this before trashing our marks.

    Serious repercussions at my school because of this. If I am out of a job this year, I might apply to Edexcel for a permanent job!
     
  10. Brilliant post,Joe. A stream of supressed anger and frustration. I too have an interest in to just how many centres have real issues of mis -marking by Edexcel. Could they be collated or could we ask under the Freedom of Information act? I wonder!! For the first time I had my Unit 1/2 marks scaled by about one grade. I have gone through EAR3 for Unit 2 as we can't afford both. I had some feeble feedback (150words)-virtually the same as the original moderator. This cost us £235.
    I have appealed and written how angry we were at the brief feedback and the lack of any answers to our fair questions.
    Have insisted that they look at the top 2 candidates written work and confirm that the scaled mark is a true and accurate mark for the two pieces. Unless I get some very persuasive answers -I wiill continue to the Chief Examiner for some clarity.

    I am beginning to agree with centres who feel outside agencies have influenced the marking this year,(not just drama).Our school SLT all feel that is the case. I have marked modestly for years-why have they suddenly picked on centres like ours. Was it our turn?? Sorry -that was cynical!!
    If someone is interested in compiling a list of unhappy centres I will submit our school name with details.
     
  11. Sorry too busy laughing at mrgorak's 'HAT' comment! How much fun would that be.
    I am also worried that a moderator for 17 centres has his own work scaled down - how mad is that! Just how consistant is the moderating process? Why are we never allowed to award high marks? (well that is how it seems!)
    I have a bright and capable new Yr 10 group who are gutted and confused by my comments about getting an A* in Drama (ie - don't expect one) Several have had full marks or 99 % on an English speaking and listening task... so why not in Drama they ask??I would never dream of giving full marks anymore. I agree it should be rare and for outstanding students but it seems that is discouraged by Edexcel. Examiners and moderators are discouraged - teachers are discouraged in case we get scaled down - pupils who want to do well are disheartened.
    I got 2 A*'s in 2011 - bar that I have not had an A* since they were introduced! Yet I have had A's at A2 every year- this year they all got A or a B grade! Something, somewhere is wrong.
    Mr joe mcwilliams - I feel your pain!
     

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