They're not marked that much more generously, Melissa. We purposefully avoided the open interaction in Spanish (it was done in French and will be done in Spanish for our current Year 11s shortly) - but our presentations and picture-based tasks were marked harshly. I think that because there are a set range of questions on the different topics, (although I assure you that students weren't asked identical questions, but how else are you going to develop a conversation about a student's last summer holiday without obvious enough questions? I tell them to expect the types of questions that a friend of their parents might ask them in polite conversation but solely on one topic.) We had higher students answering such questions as "si pudieras ir a cualquier sitio en el mundo, adonde irias? with carefully considered responses using subjunctive - perhaps even "si tuvieras un millon de euros, adonde te gustaria ir?" - okay, so they weren't totally off the wall unexpected questions (as we had gone through the types of questions that would allow them to use their tenses) - but if a student has prepared for these types of questions and recognises the tenses and know how to reply, what else are they supposed to do to highlight their Spanish? These students got Bs. That's appalling. They could have sat the AS speaking exams and spoken in detail about the topic of Lifestyle, Health and Fitness but they weren't awarded what they deserved after a lot of work. My students did not learn their responses off by heart (some tried to learn a run-in reply but this sounded stilted - others did a far more natural reply and were, to my mind, WELL within the 27+ bracket. Where do we go from here?