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GCSE English Language results

Discussion in 'English' started by hardbastard, Aug 22, 2012.

  1. anteater:"Next year we're all going to be wondering whether to gamble and put borderline students in for the H tier, as they seem to have targetted the F tier as a way of keeping Cs down. Another dilemma."
    Any pupil we entered with a mix of tiers got a C, that inludes those who got a C in Higher and D in foundation. However, few pupils entered for both foundation tiers got a C. Our problem is that as a non-selective school we have a number of pupils who would find the Higher tier paper very difficult - yet it seems that although they can access the foundation tier they will find it next to impossible to get a C due to the boundary setting at foundation tier. Plus, the way in which CA seems to be being graded makes it an uphill struggle to the C grade. A huge problem.
     
  2. This whole January comparison seems a complete red herring to me. The reason we suffered so badly at my school is that the raw mark boundary for Edexcel S&L unit (worth 40% of final grade) moved from 60 to 64. I cannot see how this can be justified. Changing an exam pass mark in response to an 'easier' paper is perhaps justifiable, but how can this be applied to a controlled assessment unit where the kids have done notionally the same tasks as previous years or January entry? Absolute nonsense!

    I know it's dangerous to try and second guess exam boards when awarding marks for controlled assessments but the mark schemes from Edexcel were so wooly, with just subtle differences in wording between the different bands, that we had to go on gut feeling of the kid's grade and try and score accordingly. Changing the grade boundary like they have just feels like a massive stitch up.

    The marking in the exams already seems to have been severely tightened up, perhaps justifiably, to make the new syllabuses more rigorous but the whole process of withholding, then changing, grade boundaries for controlled assessment units has just caused confusion, stress and ultimately some disastrous results for some of our kids. The whole thing leaves an incredibly bad taste in the mouth when I have tried so hard to stay true to my professional ethics and do right by the kids this year!
     
  3. Fully agree with you. OCR did the same. Cannot understand how speaking and listening boundaries can be changed.
     
  4. ferrisbueller

    ferrisbueller New commenter


    I'm a Science teacher and been following this whole debacle. I feel English teacher's have been stitched up good and proper! I know from working hard with my classes, providing extra support lunchtimes and after school, that there is very little else I could do for my students. I'm sure this is the case for many of you as English teachers. Now, OFQUAL turn around and say they made a mistake, yet all they can suggest is a November resit !!!!
    As a teacher at the chalkface I know what this will mean - yet more 'extras', after school, lunch time sessions with students to redo CA's and revision forwritten exams.
    So, not only do you get to be examined by the SLT, checked up on by parents but now you will have to provide yet more 'intervention' to ensure students pass the exam, not to mention further pressure to ensure the new Yr 11 are nowhere near the C/D borderline.
    Completely bonkers !!

     
  5. sunflower48

    sunflower48 New commenter

    Thanks Candy'sdog, I really appreciate your reply and it confirmed really what I thought as well. Lots of things to put in place for the Y10 who have just sat their first exams and going into year 11.
     
  6. The boards lumped Spoken Language CA with speaking and listening, which enabled them to "muck about" with the mark. We had to send cwk to 4 different moderators: literature, S & L, spoken lang and reading/writing CA!
    Issue is, if the January exam cohort was too small a sample to get a fair idea of what students were achieving, what are they going to do to guarantee that this doesn't happen again with the students who are now forced to retake in November?!? Does this also mean that exam boards will put on a retake exam in November (as per Ofqual report) and another one in January (the "usual" re-sit time now)? Nightmare!
    Also agree with the poster who said about the mark schemes being unclear with very little distinction at times between the grades - and we're not supposed to know the grades anyway are we - as we now award "bands" - another way they can confuse hardworking English teachers?!?
     
  7. smartcas

    smartcas New commenter

    It is a shame we weren't all told about the fact that Band 4 is now a C grade descriptor. Very stressful year and then rubbish results is a disappointment for teachers but for students this could have a major impact on their whole future. I feel the system has let us both down and feel very disillusioned. Ofqual response is a real cop-out!
     
  8. We were never told this. We were, however, told on at least 3 occasions to expect C to be at the top of band 3!
    If they ( whoever thay are) want to raise the bar ... fine - I can learn to live with that ( don't we always end up living with whatever changes are introduced! So C is no longer satisfactory but a notice to improve! ) - but not under these circumstances. Not with a cohort that has been guinea pigs for the introduction of a modular approach that has quite clearly created problems( that may or may not have been anticipated) and for which they are now paying!
    What needs addressing now - and categorically - is how many marks are needed to attain a C grade on the CA units. These need to be fixed so that we have a bench mark for predicting grades. We are responsible for 60% of the assessment - we HAVE to be confident that we can get that right! The exam is always a bit of a moveable feast and the students are on their own, it's down to them on the day ... but we spend 2 years constructing/embedding the remaining 60% ... and we don't know whether we are assessing/predicting accurately ...
    When did we stray into this alternative reality? Kafka? Dr Who? Heller?
    Time to return to 100% exams?
     
  9. fantastischfish

    fantastischfish Established commenter

    I have, for some time now, advocated a return to 100% exam. For several reasons:
    1) It will shut the ignorant general public up (you know, the ones who think they are experts of education just because they attended school themselves 30 years ago?). If we go back to exams, this is something the public can understand and is comparable to what they did.
    2) It removes at least 50% of my workload. Marking coursework drafts took up endless hours of my time; controlled assessment was slightly better, but still takes a long time to read it, decipher the descriptors, decide on a band, then a mark within the band, then attempt to guess which grade it is in order to report back to SLT....and then have to explain myself when I've been guesstimating a C all year for a student who ends up with a D.
    3) The responsibility to passed firmly back to the students. They get one chance and that's it.
    4) It's a level playing field for schools. With controlled assessment, some schools have been scrupulously fair and rule-abiding, others...have not. With exams, there's no question that it's all fair.
    5) It allows students to be taught novels and plays in their entirety instead of just a chapter or selection of scenes because we're too rushed trying to fit it all in.
    6) If I never have to fill in the controlled assessment marks on one of those massive, pages long, triplicated sheets again, I'll die a happy woman.
    7) Students will get the grades they deserve that will be atrue reflection of their ability on the day.
    So how many exams would there be and what would they cover? Should we return to basic grammar, spelling and punctuation type exam in order to set a baseline for literacy skills across the board? Then the non-fiction/writing skills exam, and the two Literature exams as they currently stand?
     
  10. I think that the literature exams are okay as they stand.. perhaps the mark scheme could be less specific so that the responses can be less formulaic and more original?

    In terms of language, I think there should be two exams: a creative writing exam OR a spoken language exam (at teacher's discretion) and a non fiction texts exam (with reading and writing). The non fiction texts exam should be a little more appropriate to real life, so instead of getting candidates to persuade their headteacher to build a swimming pool, the question should be more about, eg. writing to a hospital to complain about the long waiting times, or writing to the head of BA to advise them on how to improve their customer service. This is stuff everyone's going to do at some point in their lives - not everyone's going to be arguing what their view of a good role model is in a magazine!
     
  11. sleepyhead

    sleepyhead New commenter

    Not all of them did. AQA had the same moderator for all components (except EN2 which was done by visit) and Spoken Lang was part of reading and writing.
    I wondered that. Since most people sitting in November will be around the C/D mark, it's going to be even harder to discriminate between them. There's already a January option next year, and I wonder whether people are going to rush to get students into that rather than the summer, just in case.
     
  12. Examination [?g?zæm??ne???n]n
    Written exercises, oral questions, or practical tasks, set to test a candidate's knowledge and skill .....So I am led to believe, with certain people being required to undertake such at various stages throughout their life / career in order to ascertain their suitability for a position of employment or to undergo further training. In essence, a means of weeding out the less suitable / intelligent from the more so, It is a sad fact of life that some are more gifted, talented, clever than others and society needs to find out which category individuals fit into. It is generally accepted that over the years the attainment grades in these examinations have been increasing to the point where the percentage of students attaining a higher grade than before has beenincreasing year by year. That can indicate one of three things...the kids are getting brighter ...the standards required to attain such a higher grade have fallen....or examiners when confronted with a student who they are of the opinion should be given a D or less are confronted with an anticipated C and rather than go through the hassle of giving a D and the subsequent appeal process gives the anticipated C for a quiet life...........until now......... For far too long now the education system, like the Police and other emergency services have been far to concerned about massaging the figures and reaching their PI targets so that they appear to be doing well. How often have we read over the years of criticism of the Police and their apparent requirement to reach their quota of arrests and processes etc...not much difference with a school wanting to reach their required figures. One only has to see some of the comments on this thread and read how concerned people are about how these latest figures may reflect upon them. Trust me, I am not having a dig at the hard working teachers out there. I too work in the system and see at first hand how hard some teachers work but I do think the teaching profession needs to remember that there isn't a future Einstein in every child...and examinations should reflect this.
     
  13. sleepyhead

    sleepyhead New commenter

    Simply not a credible argument. Examiners mark at question level and there are no grades attached to marks. We don't know what the target/predicted garde is. We mark what's there, and since we have no investment in the individual, there's no incentive to award a higher mark than it's worth.
     
  14. VeronicAmb

    VeronicAmb Occasional commenter

    I am just dreading going back and starting the AQA- since my department and I decided to switch from Edexcel to AQA.... hopefully I'm not making a big mistake!! I just feel sorry for the students who have to resit English! We've got year 12 resit English with a class of 27 students.... Now they have to do resit English alongside their A-levels! It's just atrocious now! More grief that's been put on our backs!
     
  15. VeronicAmb

    VeronicAmb Occasional commenter


    Referring back to your first post, you don't need to do anything. The school will take care of everything. And sorry to see that your son didn't get the grade he deserved. But remember this is to do with political outcomes and their overall ignorant goals, not us. So, yeah it maybe frustrating to you, but think about how we feel! Teaching the same students for two years or whatnot, giving our all and knowing that our C grade students work their socks off to get their C - only will end up getting a D!! It's just bs if I'm totally honest! As HOD of English, BELIEVE ME, I know how you are feeling!! But hopefully he'll get into college and not waste his year
     
  16. Excellent points...completely agree with you on all counts. This list should be sent to all Eng. Depts. In our experience there is actually a lot of marking because the pupils are producing lots of practice essays, or specifc sections of practice essays, on a very regular basis. They (understandably) expect them back prompltly. Granted the pieces are not the Leviathan pieces of CW/ CA that you're referring to. I have worked with 100 % written exams for Lang. and Lit. with two different boards for almost ten years. Have just done EDEXCEL IGCSE 100% Eng. Lang. and Lit. We got fantastic results with average pupils (feel almost guilty looking at colleagues' posts). We had 2 lang. exams and 2 Lit exams. No tiering....we're a non selective independent school. If we can do it all schools across the country can. The sooner all Eng. depts get rid of CA the better for our collective blood pressure. It allows you to teach very sharply focused exam skills.The quality of their writing, in my experience develops at a faster rate than when there is a big % of CA. I have encountered the scenario where some colleagues feel they are selling their pupils short if they don't do CA.It might require a bit of "selling" to colleagues and staff. The line I push is that they can (and did) get the top grades (and the best grades they're capable of) with far shorter/precise pieces of writing. Another influential factor is is that most other subjects at my school have CA and so, English Lang. and Lit would have been just another subject they had to churn out writing for under pressure. Good luck with your decision.
     
  17. OK. I am HOD in smallish independent school. We have same probs as everyone else. I have writtien to everyone, Gove, AQA, Ofqual, etc. Have detailed and outlined specific changes to the UMS marks, have quoted correspondence and phone calls where we were assured that this year's grades would have parity with last years. We are exemplary centre for CA and moderation. So how come all our predictions this year were wrong?. Tried phoning AQA cannot get through to anyone, lot of subject advisors seem to have left. Get stock answer on email, proforma letter which must be sent to all. This is so wrong. The question is what do we do now? What are other schools doing? Is there a united protest or action that departments schools are taking? I feel isolated and would like some advice
     
  18. gsglover

    gsglover Occasional commenter

    I teach in a fairly deprived inner city school where grammar schools abound so the ability profile of our students is low. However, we usually manage about 55% A*-C in Eng Lang, This year we managed only 48%. Our head has written to Gove(waste of his time, he justs wants us to fail and become an academy), Ofqual(waste of time as they are Gove's puppets) and his union(a good starting point). His union has urged all its memebers to writ to them so that they can lobby and also make alegal protest. THis is the only course of action available for those who are concerned. My concern is not with the percentages in my school or indeed any other, but with the students who were predicted a C and expected one, based on all known data. They worked for it but didn't get it. Nothing will change that so I have moved on.
     
  19. Still trying to recover from last week. Can anybody tell me which exam board upped the grade boundaries the most?
     

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