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Edexcel unit 2 and 5 INSET - reflections of a teacher

Discussion in 'Music' started by performerscollective, Nov 16, 2011.

  1. Came out of the Edexcel INSET on AS and A level composition yesterday more confused than ever before. Course run by the chief examiner of composition who sets the briefs. He seemed to not have all of the answers and "passed the buck" when most of the room turned on him and told him that remarks and appeals are not effective.
    One or two observations. A student got nearly full marks for a piece that actually did not fulfil the specified brief - he suggests there is lots of room within a brief. May we ask then the point of even setting a brief?
    "positive marking" - marking is done by using the holistic mark (work from the bottom upwards) and then apply this to each criterion to create a "best fit option" - what's the point in having specific criterion if you mark this way?
    Students spend hours on their compositions, yet at AS level they can lose up to a 3rd of the total mark with the sleeve note (by the way, to get full marks on the 3rd question worth 12 marks you have to make 17 points with a minimum of 5 examples of inspirations from other works and give the bar numbers in your composition as references). Therefore you can write an A grade composition, but only get a D as a final unit mark if you do badly here. The sleeve note only exists as they had 20 marks left over in the 2008 reform of the specification where the students have to write about music so they had to put them somewhere so they've put it on the end of this - in my opinion it devalues the actual composition if the writing is worth so much.
    There is no difference in marking schemes between AS and A level. There are a seperate panel of AS and A level examiners. There is no way to tell between the differentiation required between the two levels - it is purely subjective and up to the examiner.
    Each examiner spends about 20mins per student marking their submission - I have no problem with this, I just think it's interesting to know.
    I am angry that we had to pay to go on this course where so much was revealed that we didnt know before. I am cross that the information is not available directly in teacher packs from Edexcel. I am angry that there seems to be so much uncertainty in the way something is marked (including from the examiner). I am frustrated that there were nearly 30 unhappy people in the room yesterday and we were told to write to the exam board.....hello brick wall.
    Right, time to look at another exam board. It is a shame. I think the edexcel specification is good, but the marking and total explicit subjectivity in marking this element totally ruins and undermines the hard work of students and teachers alike. This year the lives of many students have been ruined in terms of university choices and applications. Why? Because whichever way you look at this, there is uncertainty surrounding this element. Such a shame.
     
  2. Came out of the Edexcel INSET on AS and A level composition yesterday more confused than ever before. Course run by the chief examiner of composition who sets the briefs. He seemed to not have all of the answers and "passed the buck" when most of the room turned on him and told him that remarks and appeals are not effective.
    One or two observations. A student got nearly full marks for a piece that actually did not fulfil the specified brief - he suggests there is lots of room within a brief. May we ask then the point of even setting a brief?
    "positive marking" - marking is done by using the holistic mark (work from the bottom upwards) and then apply this to each criterion to create a "best fit option" - what's the point in having specific criterion if you mark this way?
    Students spend hours on their compositions, yet at AS level they can lose up to a 3rd of the total mark with the sleeve note (by the way, to get full marks on the 3rd question worth 12 marks you have to make 17 points with a minimum of 5 examples of inspirations from other works and give the bar numbers in your composition as references). Therefore you can write an A grade composition, but only get a D as a final unit mark if you do badly here. The sleeve note only exists as they had 20 marks left over in the 2008 reform of the specification where the students have to write about music so they had to put them somewhere so they've put it on the end of this - in my opinion it devalues the actual composition if the writing is worth so much.
    There is no difference in marking schemes between AS and A level. There are a seperate panel of AS and A level examiners. There is no way to tell between the differentiation required between the two levels - it is purely subjective and up to the examiner.
    Each examiner spends about 20mins per student marking their submission - I have no problem with this, I just think it's interesting to know.
    I am angry that we had to pay to go on this course where so much was revealed that we didnt know before. I am cross that the information is not available directly in teacher packs from Edexcel. I am angry that there seems to be so much uncertainty in the way something is marked (including from the examiner). I am frustrated that there were nearly 30 unhappy people in the room yesterday and we were told to write to the exam board.....hello brick wall.
    Right, time to look at another exam board. It is a shame. I think the edexcel specification is good, but the marking and total explicit subjectivity in marking this element totally ruins and undermines the hard work of students and teachers alike. This year the lives of many students have been ruined in terms of university choices and applications. Why? Because whichever way you look at this, there is uncertainty surrounding this element. Such a shame.
     
  3. It makes my blood boil when examiners seem to give away 'secret' information about the requirements to people at INSET when it should blinkin' well be in the guidence materials put out by the examining board.
    I really like the Edexcel spec' and I'm doing my best to make sure that my students do well but I do lose heart when I hear of so many variables being present [​IMG]
     
  4. jonowen

    jonowen Occasional commenter

    This sort of warms my heart knowing that my English colleagwees are as frustrated as me (and Scotland) over the composition element. It doesn't matter how conscientious I am in reading all the paper/email info coming into my dept., it still stands that I seem to learn more by omission as to
    where has it all gone wrong?
    [​IMG]
     
  5. saxo07

    saxo07 New commenter

    Yep he basicaly said it was done by consensus. He also didn't like the fact we criticised the brief of 'create a piece of music for the open credits of a programme about country houses' as he'd written that one himself.
    There was also a 'subject leader' in the room who he kept deferring to which was very strange. We got the impression we were fobbed off and basically told this is the way the exam board works. At lunchtime we all swapped horror stories of A/B candidates getting Ds and Us for Unit 2. Dreadful. The whole thing has made me very nervous for this year......
    If the chief examiner has no power/ won't listen to us then there is no hope....
     

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