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French GCSE results AQA Summer 2011

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by cassiopee, Aug 26, 2011.

  1. My sentiments exactly. If you compare the three 'sessions' I wish I had entered my French students for L&R in January!
     
  2. We entered almost 300 students for GCSEs in four languages this year (AQA). Both as a Faculty and subject teams we worked increadibly hard using sample materials, attending training and regularly moderating so that we could achieve the best results for our students! However I am really surprised and shocked by some of the results achieved by the students. German especially has been hit hard we fewer A/A*s and more Ds! The German team is very experienced and conscientious. It makes you wonder how such talented teachers can appear to get it 'so wrong'. As HOF I have considered changing boards but after reading the other exam related threads it would appear that would not help either. It is frustrating as a teacher and faculty leader to spend your working life fighting endless battles with parents, pupils, SLT and exam boards. I will be requesting re-marks as well as complaining to the board. I suggest that we all do the same. Also can I recommend reading the Examiner's reports on the AQA website. the tone of the German report is interesting. A comment on the TPF regarding conjugated verbs read students must 'obliterate the offending items'! Even if the teacher/ student had crossed out the conjugated verb it could still be read! If an ' offending item' was then used in the written or spoken work that whole clause was ignored! The best students also demonstrated the use of: the conditional, imperfect, pluperfect and imperfect subjunctive, passive voice....the list goes on. I then read the grade descriptions on page 64 of the Specification. Are we assessing at GCSE or AS level??? Unless the exam boards treat Languages fairly we will always be facing an uphill struggle. In a climate where results and residuals matter we need to be treated fairly, professional and with respect!
     
  3. As the cohort shrinks the harder it becomes to get a top grade (or even a half decent one)
    Do MFL teachers ever get positive residuals? If so, how?
     
  4. I can only echo what everyone else has said. My speaking marks were all marked down for being too short, despite the fact I had already factored this in to my marks. So all my A* students (including my native speaker) got A for their speaking and everyone else was a grade down on where I thought they should be.
    The writing was a shock. My higher students wrote loads (500 words at least) in excellent French with virtually no mistakes and there wasn't one A* among the lot of them. How can this be the case? My native speaker got a B which I find incredible. In Spanish it was even worse. We had two native speakers, one of whom got a D for his speaking and the other a U. They got A* on everything else.
    I am seriously thinking of changing board. Let's kill MFL off altogether, shall we????
     
  5. We are in the North East. Our French speaking sample was marked down in every case by between 2 and 4 marks. The whole cohort was then marked down by the same amount. It seems that a computer may have been used to apply the lower marks to those students whose work was not sampled: ie if a sampled student lost 2 marks, then all students with the same mark lost 2.
    Of more concern was the Spanish writing. Feedback has always told me that I mark writing accurately (and our speaking marks were accepted this year). I and my colleague 'marked' the written assignments to allow us to compare our estimates with AQA's marking and we moderated very carefully. In every case we had got the mark wrong! We had given between 1 and 8 marks too many and between 1 and EIGHTEEN marks too few!!! I could understand if we were too generous or too harsh but a range of +18 to -8???? Now totally confused.
     
  6. normabatman

    normabatman New commenter

    At my school we found most of the middle band students got the grades we predicted, but very few of my very able students got an A*. None of our speaking marks were changed, and although I would like to flatter myself that our marking is spot on, I somehow doubt this. It makes me wonder if they were moderated at all! The writing marks were rather different to what we had expected and quite a lot of students had very different marks. I had hoped the new specification would make languages appear more approachable, but with very few A*s awarded it will continue to be difficult to recruit candidates for AS and A2.
     
  7. I echo the concerns expressed. In both French and Spanish AQA GCSE we had exactly the same low percentage of students gain grade A*-C for the controlled writing. It was a significantly lower figure than the one we had established from doing our own marking. Many students really struggle to write creatively and accurately with extended sentences using different tenses from memory (as hard as we try to prepare them), yet it seems they have to do this at least to get even a C. I think the number of words may be a factor also - many of our students struggle to write 250-300 words, which could immediately limit them to D or less. It seems the exam boards seem to have lost sight of what many GCSE students are actually capable of achieving in a foreign language. I'll be looking at alternative boards for my Year 10 groups this year.
    On a slighly different theme, I thought the A2 AQA Spanish orals were harshly marked (compared to the French ones). I conducted both exams and was surprised to see the difference. The seems to be an elemnt of luck as to who the examiner is!
    CS
     
  8. I worked in a school in Merseyside last year and although my students did end up getting their overall predicted grades, I was v surprised when I looked at the breakdown of their marks. One student who barely said anything of merit got a D for her speaking (I had predicted her an E/F) and another student who I had given a D got a G for her speaking. I still don't feel at all confident with marking the CA and I'm not entirely sure after reading other comments that AQA feel confident with what they're doing! Teachers are being made to feel more and more accountable for students' results and AQA aren't making it any easier for teachers to feel secure with the grades that they are predicting.
     
  9. We've had exactly the same problem with the writing component in AQA GCSE French - very severe marking. We seem to be down in the Content section. AQA are obsessed with the kids addressing the title so if you have the word "Account" in the title it has to be an account". We've had the same problem with the AS essay. Spanish seems to be much more laid back. Our speaking marks weren't changed.
    Comforting to hear others with same problem.
    Don't think we're going to ask for remarks, but maybe if lots of us complain they might get the message!
     
  10. I have been teaching for 15 years and been a head of dept for 7. I have been at my current school for just one year and these results are my first for that school. I was absolutely shocked. I have never received such low results. We teach AQA French, German, Spanish and Italian. All languages except the Italian received really low marks for the writing. The speaking was moderated down in both French and German - the French by 7 marks per pupil! Like another post said, I too had a pupil (my best linguist) achieving A*, A and A* in the first three units and then, wait for it, an F in the writing! It's utter nonsense and I'm furious! If the marks come back unchanged I won't be letting the issue go. It's clearly not right.
     
  11. I should add that i've just rang AQA and asked how I go about complaining. The email address is: mfl@aqa.org.uk and the email needs to be addressed to the senior subject managers for whichever MFL you are concerned with. I am writing my email now.
     
  12. kate2521

    kate2521 New commenter

    We too, as a department, are appalled by the MFL results in Spanish and French this year. We also have found that AQA have lowered our marks on the French writing component from our teacher estimate for many pupils and by 12 points for a few of our candidates. We have experience of marking coursework for the past 10 to 15 years and have never had any changes made to our marks in the past. We are also concerned about the speaking component because this has been marked down in Spanish by an average of 5 points. Our results are not as we expected. We also have candidates that have achieved grade B in the writing, but then D in the Foundation Reading and Listening papers and feel that the boundary for the C grade in the Foundation papers was too high. 1/14 candidates only achieving a grade C in the Foundation Reading and 11/31 a grade C in the Listening. Also the boundaries for the speaking and writing component have changed since last year and no notice was given by AQA about this. Pupils now need to achieve higher scores to achieve certain grades, for example they now need 50 marks for a grade A on the speaking whereas last year it was 48 and in the writing this year for an A, pupils need 52, whereas last year, they needed 48. We are going to make a formal complaint to AQA and appeal. The more schools who do this the better.
     
  13. kate2521

    kate2521 New commenter

    I'd like to add that I don't understand how we're supposed to mark the orals ourselves without referring to the raw marks to UMS conversion table. This has never changed in the 15 years I've been teaching as the oral is the same every year. How can they justify changing it from 2010 to 2011 to make it harder to get certain grades? I thought my Speaking entries had all been marked down as they were all 2-3 UMS points lower than mine but the difference in the boundaries accounts for this. They've done the same thing in the Writing. I'm sure there are lots of schools in the same position who haven't seen this thread so maybe we all need to contact our MFL advisors to get as many people to take a stand as possible.
     
  14. emefelle

    emefelle New commenter

    I too have an issue with the change in grade boundaries. Although AQA upheld our speaking marks, those who we thought were going into the final exams with a C in their speaking were downgraded to a D just because of the grade boundary change. The same happened higher up, There is also quite a discrepancy between the grade boundaries for the different languages!
    I am also concerned about the writing marks. One of our lower ability pupils ended up with an A - maybe I shouldn't complain, except a far more able pupil whose written work was of a far higher standard got a B!
    And (yes the rant continues!!) several of our pupils unexpectedly failed the listening! The whole marking system seems crazy this year and has definitely affected our marks across all 3 languages. I am not a happy HoD!!

     
  15. Sorry to sound a bit brainless, but these results have stumped me. I have looked at the breakdown in component marks for my French group. Looking at the 3 marks given for each assessed piece. However, even giving my Maths, the numbers do not add up to the marks given for the writing paper. I have tried to understand the reasons for marks not being the same but really does not add up.
    My OH, as a statistician, also queries the way our results were made up.
    If someone can explain it in a nutshell I really would be very grateful
     
  16. snap. Most of our candidates were 1 mark lower than predicted...CA seems to have been a problem on the breakdown. 4 A candidates received a D. Seems like AQA are not doing languages any favours in a lot of cases. We'll soon have no-one opting for the subject if they don't feel they can make the same progress as in other subjects.
     
  17. Plus the enhanced analysis on the AQA site just doesn't match what we have on our paper hard copy.
     
  18. That is my point exactly!! One candidate on my 'official' paper copy has 21/60 for writing but when I look at enhanced results and add together the 6 component marks they get to 34!! How does that work?
     
  19. I've been teaching for 28 years, been an AQA examiner (French) for GCSE Writing/Coursework and Speaking both for over 15 years and this time I got my worst value added ever from a hard working and bright class - I got much better grades in my first GCSE class 24 years ago. Something stinks.
     
  20. kate2521

    kate2521 New commenter

    We all need to ask them to reinstate the 2010 boundaries for the Speaking and Writing as that is what we were working from. They also need to look again at the Foundation Reading and Listening as large numbers of pupils seem to have suddenly done very badly on what has always been the easy part of the exam. It sounds like they need to remark pretty much everyone's Writing papers too or redo their maths. If AQA won't do this, we can appeal to Ofqual and/or the JCQ. We HAVE to make a huge fuss over this publicly and not just complain on this forum.This is the same board that had to apologise in June over the Maths papers.
     

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