Discussion in 'Drama and performing arts' started by Crowbob, Feb 9, 2012.

1. ### CrowbobSenior commenter

Two things:
Why are you adding together the individual RAW marks to calculate a grade? You should be using the UMS marks... Where are you getting that 118/200 = D?
Why are you only NOW looking at this? Which Grade Boundaries are you using AND does that set of boundaries match the series taken by the student?
It is not (to my knowledge) mathematically possible to score a C in each unit and then score a D overall. The overall mark is an aggregation of the conversion to UMS,,,

2. ### nwyllie

Ok
I would use the UMS marks but you please explain that to me because even that doesn't make sense. How on earth can you make something that is marked out of 60 suddenly be out of 90?
The boundaries and data I am using came from Edexcel themselves; it's their calculations from last year (the subject marks for each unit which are marked out of 60, 60 and 80) so they are the current boundaries.
Of course its the series taken by the students - GCSE Drama 2DR01; Unit1 = 5DR01, Unit 2 = 5DR02 and Unit 3 = 5DR03.
The boundaries for the SUBJECT MARKS out of 200 are 120 for a grade C and you are SO right; it cannot or shouldn't be possible for a student to score a C grade in each unit and come out with a D overall. I have mentioned this to my line manager who totally agrees with me and I have emailed Edexcel to explain these boundaries extremely clearly to me. My line manager seems to think that there has been a mistake made from their end but I want firm, proper reason.

3. ### nwyllie

Oh and why am I doing this now?
Because I have just completed a mock Unit 3 with them and am totalling the marks up so that they get a similar breakdown as to the breakdown they will receive on results day.
I'm not kicking off - honestly - I am confused and rather annoyed because I am getting NO response or no helpful response. I just want to try and understand this. I'm rubbish at maths and I've tried the x1.5 to get the UMS mark but even THAT doesn't work. I'm frustrated, annoyed and confused and need someone to explain why this is even a possiblity.

4. ### CrowbobSenior commenter

If you are not good at maths, calculating the UMS may be difficult.
The reason I asked is because the grade boundaries change every series. I wondered whether you were comparing an OLD boundary with a NEW subject scale.
Unless you (or Edexcel) have made some error, three 'C's cannot make a D...It just isn't possible...
The UMS system just wouldn't allow it to happen...

5. ### nwyllie

Thanks crowbob but I am the only Drama teacher so it's up to me to try and work this out. My line manager can''t make sense of it and my exams officer told me the x1.5 thing.
Let me ask you - please explain how to calculate UMS marks and if they are the most accurate why oh why are we given subject marks to work from too????
All this, as I've said, is based ont he 2011 grade boundaries that were released on results day. I am aware that they may change but its the only "accurate" information I've been given.
I have checked and double checked my maths (and my line manager has checked too!) and it's still the same - as she said to me; maybe it's an error from Edexcel............
I'm so confused!?!

6. ### CrowbobSenior commenter

Your exams officer needs to be shot. Seriously. Awful idea..
Because the UNIFORM boundary stays the same and the subject boundaries change.
On a quick calculation (using Edexcel 2011 boundaries) on a scrap of paper (and after a long day) I come with a UMS score of 202 for your student which is comfortably in the "C" range, close to the B range. So, three Cs make a C for me...
Take the raw mark. Minus the raw grade boundary below. Divide the result by the difference between the raw grade boundary below and above. Multiply the result by the difference between the UMS grade boundary below and above. Add the result to the UMS grade boundary below.
That is good for a rough working BUT if you want to calculate A*, full marks and people who get less than an E it is more complex....
So, your student UMS for Unit 1 would be : (((38-32)/6)*9)+54= 61.5
Unit 2: (((35-31)/6)*9)+54= 60
Unit 3: =(((46-42)/6)*12)+72= 80

I may be a little out, but the figures work for me. Your student is working to a C level (if the boundaries are similar next year.

7. ### rentonave

Nwyllie..if it makes u feel better I am a head of dept and feel bit overwhelmed by crowbob's figures..but will give it a go.

8. ### nwyllie

I'm still confused.....humph!
Next question: why do Edexcel issue subject marks and subject boundary marks if they are wrong and don't equate to grades anyway? I don't understand why we have been given these if we can't use them effectively.
Crowbob - you are clearly a maths genius....can I just send you all my subject marks and ask you to transfer them into these strange UMS marks using the very complicated maths you have suggested?
r4d - I would like one of those - Dyscalculia is not helpful when trying to work out these marks.
Can I be typical of a child???? " I don't get it!"

9. ### CrowbobSenior commenter

They are not wrong (at least I have yet to see how they are wrong...). My workings show that the three Cs in subject marks on the June 2011 series = an overall C on the UMS mark range...
Hardly. In fact, my maths skills are rather poor. I think that any teacher (people with dyscalculia excepted) should be able to do these kind of things. I did it for myself during my own A levels (giving away my age).
Perhaps I should start selling myself as a consultant UMS expert
As I am not a teacher, I don't really have the inclination to do adhoc calculations for teachers. I just looked into UMS for a friend a while back and discovered that a sizeable number of teachers have no clue what it is or how it works. If, and it is a big IF, I get time I may make a "basic" spreadsheet for others to use. (I still feel a little bad for a rant at a drama teacher on here last year, about UMS calculations - it can be my penance).

10. ### resources4drama

Wouldn't any spreadsheet reflect the previous year's boundaries, and therefore be only indicative?
(BTW - previous comments about exams officers. They are admin staff. They know nothing about mark schemes or exam requirements; they do know how far desks have to be apart from each other in exams halls. Tread carefully).

11. ### CrowbobSenior commenter

Yes, of course. However, it would be MORE indicative than just scaling the marks (x1.5). When you have had a few series of exams, you can predict the shift in boundaries more accurately and do some standard deviation adjustments.
Then they shouldn't be giving advice to teachers on these issues.
I wonder who has the responsibility of knowing these FUNDAMENTAL things? A HoD here has said that they are feeling overwhelmed by the maths. As is the sole teacher of a subject.
If the exams office don't know, and the teachers don't know...

12. ### nwyllie

I am really sorry if I've upset anyone or made anyone angry about this but I am genuinely stuck. I can't possibly work out the confusing (((lots of numbers)))*another number etc type of maths that clearly needs to be calculated to simply tell a student what grade they got. Maybe my way (the subject marks) if they are coming out as lower than they should will be a positive thing as it will make the students work that little bit harder to enable them to get their specific grade.
As for the exam officer thing...r4d is right. It's not really their job to tell us this information - even the exam board keep it close to thier chests....and my exams officer is BRILLIANT by the way; so she made a mistake in telling me something that; whenever I have shown anyone with a slightly maths related brain (even a science teacher) they have looked at the 60 to 90 ratio and said; "multiply the mark out of 60 by 1.5 to get a mark out of 90" which actually makes sense to my non maths related brain....... I know its not right but its the only thing I actually understand with all these numbers.
Clearly subject marks are going to change but we expect that so we tell students that boundaries may change.....I've done it every year and every year there is one student who has missed the C grade by that one mark which has been shifted..... I'll tell them that they need to keep pushing to get the grade they want and that I have tried (and failed) to find the solution to this nonsensical mathematics problem..... Thanks everyone!

13. ### CrowbobSenior commenter

You haven't upset me, or made me angry.
I am genuinely shocked that pretty much no teacher I have met even understands the process of UMS (without even going on to the issue of calculation).
Every exam board that I have encountered has a document relating to UMS on their website.
Herein lies the issue. Misinformation is being circulated and compounded and re-distributed.
It annoys me that SLT arrange nonsense INSET days on drivel and yet do not, in my experience, give USEFUL advice and training (such as on calculating UMS marks).

14. ### resources4drama

Exactly my point, Crowbob.
As a non-teacher you may not understand that an Exams Officer is purely an administrative, usually part-time admin. post, quite often carried out by someone who has worked their way "up" from the school switchboard.
Exams officers used to be teachers, but they are no longer allowed to do it. (Strangely, our teacher exams officer had two extra free periods a week to administer exams. When he was forced to reliquish the role, two part time clerks were appointed in his place for approx. 35 hour week equivalent).
Never, ever, ask an exams officer for advice on anything except the date and time of your exam.
Then double check it.
(Yes, you can indeed detect the bitter whiff of experience).

15. ### CrowbobSenior commenter

Sorry, I thought you were telling me to watch my step in criticisng them.