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GCSE English Language controlled assessment marking

Discussion in 'English' started by millicent_bystander, Feb 9, 2012.

  1. millicent_bystander

    millicent_bystander New commenter

    Would really appreciate some advice/thoughts from everyone.
    Had done some sample moderation of controlled assessment folders before Christmas, some slight issues with marking, but within a couple of marks either way. This process was done with an experienced exam marker. My folders were checked, only a small sample, but some marking was deemed too harsh and advised to add some marks on the Of Mice and Men prose piece. Another folder generated the comment 'I really don't know what else you'd expect this student to do'. Therefore I deemd my marking to be more or less on track.
    We've had an adviser in who has identified that my marking (and that of others) is at least one band too generous, in some cases two bands. I'm puzzled as to how there can be so much discrepancy between judgements - I've now had all of my folders down marked and am questioning my own judgement, which is really disconcerting.
    Has anyone else had judgements queried and finding that the opinions on what each band means are differing wildly?
     
  2. millicent_bystander

    millicent_bystander New commenter

    Would really appreciate some advice/thoughts from everyone.
    Had done some sample moderation of controlled assessment folders before Christmas, some slight issues with marking, but within a couple of marks either way. This process was done with an experienced exam marker. My folders were checked, only a small sample, but some marking was deemed too harsh and advised to add some marks on the Of Mice and Men prose piece. Another folder generated the comment 'I really don't know what else you'd expect this student to do'. Therefore I deemd my marking to be more or less on track.
    We've had an adviser in who has identified that my marking (and that of others) is at least one band too generous, in some cases two bands. I'm puzzled as to how there can be so much discrepancy between judgements - I've now had all of my folders down marked and am questioning my own judgement, which is really disconcerting.
    Has anyone else had judgements queried and finding that the opinions on what each band means are differing wildly?
     
  3. Honeydew

    Honeydew New commenter

    Which exam board are you with?
     
  4. millicent_bystander

    millicent_bystander New commenter

  5. Honeydew

    Honeydew New commenter

    I sympathise with you. I find it difficult to apply some of the mark schemes for some units because they are so vague. English marking is so subjective. I don't think you should doubt yourself at all because applying the mark scheme has changed over the years. My colleague is an experienced marker and he tells me that over the years exam boards have sometimes been lenient and at other times they have been harsh (they often react to the media speculation and pressure from government). Just make sure you're clear how the advisor is using the mark scheme and adjust your marking - just see it as the board 'changing' the application of the m/s. It's not you [​IMG]
    All the best
     
  6. Spassky

    Spassky New commenter

    I'm an exam marker too and in exams we award a bullet point on the mark scheme when the skill has been demonstrated <u>once</u>. However, in coursework it is supposed to be 'best fit', so a piece might be solid band 3, but demonstrate a band 4 skill once and be awarded band 3. In the exam, it would get band 4. Could this account for (at least some of) the discrepancy between the examiner's approach and the coursework moderator's?

    That said, these tales of savage reductions of marks are worrying...
     
  7. millicent_bystander

    millicent_bystander New commenter

    Spassky this may account for it, but that doesn't account for marks being moved down so 'savagely' as you so rightly put it. There has been no real consultation about how the adviser has adjusted and advised other staff to adjust, but going through the adjustments it makes the pieces of work parallel to year 10 work which is getting the same band - I know they're different specs, but the 'clear and consisten' and 'some evidence' descriptors are the same - but the work is vastly different.
    I wasn't happy with the groups marks anyway and have organised to re-do the assessments, which is factored into planning, but it means they have even further to travel if they are to reach their targets.
    A conundrum!
     
  8. millicent_bystander

    millicent_bystander New commenter

    Thanks honeydew - it is just so frustrating, but as already said in response to Spassky, I've factored in time to re-do the assessments as I wasn't happy with the previous marks so they will get what they deserve in the end, just a bit more uphill than I was hoping for!
     
  9. sleepyhead

    sleepyhead New commenter

    This bothers me greatly. I have tried to be as accurate as possible, with students coming out with not on target grades - HoD has determined that I am too harsh (he's not an examiner, never has been, never been to moderation meetings...) and has said that he's going to move all my marks up by some number of his own divising - without reading any of the work!
    I am convinced that this will put us well out of tolerance and that the whole cohort will be marked down - but there's nothing I can do. It's a scary time :-(
     
  10. anteater

    anteater New commenter

    Surely he can't seriously consider this good practice? We moderate as a whole department, and the HOD's opinion carries no more weight than anyone else's.
     
  11. millicent_bystander

    millicent_bystander New commenter

    It is indeed a scary time and no-one really seems to know what is what. Even when you go to meetings with exam boards, they seem to contradict themselves from previous meetings.
    This situation seems worse than mine in some ways because your HoD seems more interested in meeting targets than accuracy.
    It seems it's not just me becoming quite disillusioned with the whole system.
     
  12. sleepyhead

    sleepyhead New commenter

    He believes me to be mean and himself to be generously accurate, whatever that means.
    We don't do that either. When I was HoD elsewhere, we looked at all folders and made adjustments to any or all on a case by case basis. Here, two people rahndomly select folder and look at those, then decide what the teacher adjustment should be. When the sample is called, we annotate to agree the marks we submitted.
    I HATE it. I annotate the CAs as I mark them so my annotations reflect the marks I give. Other people just bung a number on the end and then we have to fit the comments to them. We've got away with it for years (I think because the moderator is always impressed by the fact that each folder has 3 sets of annotations on) but I don't agree with it, and I don't think it works. This year, more than ever, I am afraid.

     
  13. leadlearner

    leadlearner New commenter

    I understand how you are feeling - there also seems some debate as to what band / mark is actually a grade C (notional of course) or other grades . Or is it just us who are in the dark here on the band boundaries? While I know they can move it does seem unclear to me as to which band relates to which grade.[​IMG]
     
  14. millicent_bystander

    millicent_bystander New commenter

    This seems a ridiculous situation to be in sleepyhead, how can adjustments be made based on random selection?
    I'm not surprised you are afraid, I am too, but none of us should be feeling this way, if feels as though the exam boards are also moving the goalposts and the standardisation materials we had before are not necessarily deemed accurate this year.
    Very frustrating!
     
  15. millicent_bystander

    millicent_bystander New commenter

    AQA keep saying we need to be thinking in terms of bands not grades, but that's merely because they can't make up their minds yet. Although they say 'clear and consisten' is a C, it seems unlikely that the whole is a C, which makes it even more confusing.
    The bands don't equate to grades and there's too much ambiguity over descriptions such as 'sophisticated' which is open to so much subjectivity in my opinion.
    I just don't understand how one person can say one thing, which seemed accurate, and then someone else comes along and says the opposite - I've got work from my year 10 class which has been agreed at a 7, which we've equated to a D in our department (English), and then someone in year 11 who's had their work marked down from a 19 to a 13 (English Language) which puts that in the same grade region, but there is no comparison between the two essays and despite the essays being in English and English Language - there should be some common features!
    I feel like I'm in the Twilight Zone!
     

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