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GCSE results

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by curlyk, Aug 18, 2014.

  1. AQA Spanish writing marks for us were much lower than expected and we have writing examiners and native speakers in the department. Cant get over the discrepencies. We will have remarks of course but that wont bring back the A level candidates who have now signed for something else.
  2. divine_dodo

    divine_dodo New commenter

    Salsera, we are WJEC and have had exactly the same thing happen with us. Some of our top set got D's in their writing and 4 of our bottom set got A*'s! We spend hours moderating our marks, only for everything to be turned on it's head! Also, do you by any chance have a breakdown of raw mark to UMS for WJEC. I find myself in the rather sad position of being acting Head of Department as my boss died suddenly of a heart attack a couple of weeks ago. As 2nd in department I was in charge of KS3 so this KS4 results analysis is all new to me. Thanks :)
  3. polkadots29

    polkadots29 New commenter

    This was my first group ever, I got them as an NQT. I was very pleased that my speaking marks were upheld (Edexcel German) but am disappointed overall. I will be asking for a couple of writing remarks- one B which I'm sure was on par with other A* standard writing, and a couple of Ds which should have been Cs at least.

    Did anyone else who did Edexcel German think the listening marks were low overall or was that just me being rubbish?!
  4. salsera

    salsera New commenter

    Divine_dodo - you can get the RAW>UMS marks and boundaries on the WJEC secure site - you will also get the UMS mark and raw mark for each paper too - it's a bit complicated to view and will take time but it's all there.

    You need to get a log in from your exams officer -hopefully you will have support considering the circumstances
  5. MrsAThomas

    MrsAThomas New commenter

    We do WJEC too. Had really hoped that, after a few years of doing this style exam - since 2010 - we had got the hang of what the examiners wanted. I can honestly say I felt more on top of my game with this year's cohort. I had students who were at least as good as I've had before and I gave plenty of extra support at lunchtime and after school where it was needed. We've had a big focus on personalising feedback and enabling students to understand and take control of their own learning and I felt that this year it had really paid off. Then came the results. The grade boundaries have been raised for speaking and the written marks were lower than my estimates - sometimes as much as 4 or 5 raw marks lower. But I know because of moderation and the fact that we keep samples of work from previous years for comparison that my marks were accurate. Like others, I can only conclude that the boards are trying to keep the proportion of high grades down. Do they not realise that they are killing the subject?
  6. salsera

    salsera New commenter

    Thanks for that post. Just confirms my feelings. I felt I knew it too, inside out and upside down. I have been totally thrown. Yesterday was horrible and I felt very low questioning my abilities as an experienced teacher and HoD. In fact, it knocked me so much I parked up and just sat in my car and sobbed. The profession is becoming tougher and tougher. I gave my all to the students and it just wasn't good enough. They trusted me to support them, I was the one in tbe know advising how to get the marks if they included this sort of structure that type of word ..... only to find not! I look like one of those teachers who talks the talk and walks the walk but when it comes to delivering the results I obviously can't. That's not me though; I am conscientious and take pride in what I do and I care.
  7. dwn


    Re: WJEC Spanish - what is going on with the listening? We had students getting As and Bs in the other 3 skills and sinking to Ds or even Us on listening. This is despite listening being a big area of focus throughout the two years. Nearly every student's overall grade was affected by this and confidence undermined to the point where potential A level students, previously full of enthusiasm for the language, are now not so sure. This is killing languages. Who is going to listen? New set of results, same old fight!
  8. kate2521

    kate2521 New commenter

    I'm away so can't check the breakdown of marks but am very disappointed with both my French and Spanish results, to put it mildly. Most are at least a grade below what I know they should have been awarded. We do AQA. Last year and the year before they were higher than I was expecting, with C grade pupils being given a B for writing so I feel like giving up! I will be expected to account for these grades and am devastated for the pupils who worked so hard. Like others on here, I told them they were likely to get certain grades if they included certain phrases and told them what we'd given them for their orals. I estimated their written CA grade based on my knowledge and experience over the past twenty years and now look incompetent, yet again. I did say I couldn't guarantee the examiners would agree with me but I shouldn't be 2 grades out after doing it for so long and knowing my pupils so well. The hours I spent after school and at lunchtime seem to have been wasted. I saw the boundaries and the French Listening and Reading seem ridiculously high. Will be asking for remarks, I imagine, when I check the CA marks.
  9. ml01omm

    ml01omm New commenter

    This is my 1st year of this - but I am baffled by WJEC's writing marks. The strongest candidate in my class got an F in his writing . He had 2 pieces submitted of 250 words, good mix of tenses (minus accents on his past participles but ok), good covergae and expansion of points, use of opinions blah blah etc. Moderated by us to be a low C, strong D.

    The weakest candidate in the class, for whom we submitted 2 pieces no longer then 50 words each, of absolute tosh, errors a plenty, etc, also got an F for writing?.

    Where is the logic??? Am I missing something here?
  10. salsera

    salsera New commenter

    Kare 2521 I could have written your post. That's exactly my point - e are made to look incompetent too, as though we don't know what we are doing and we have to justify all of this and it seems like sour grapes when it's not.

    As someone else said too, those students who wanted to do languages at A level are unsure, If they stay with us do they trust us as teachers and if they go elsewhere are they as good as the other students they will be with - their confidence is knocked and so is ours.

    I thought examiners/moderators were made up of practising or former teachers on the whole so surely they should be more in touch with reality than it seems they are with the way CAs have been marked.

    Every year we have this debacle and it is so wearing - we just want consistency no surprises - same old same old
  11. The only consistency in this thread and in so many similar threads over the years is the inconsistency of the marking - across languages, from year to year, across abilities, . We too having survived relatively unscathed for a few years have been thrown this year by Edexcel French writing this time. though the oral was accepted. Same old story A * A* A ....D B B B G A* A A U and so it goes on. One almost comes to expect this nowadays which is shocking itself but we must not forget that so many experienced teachers could not be wrong , that we do know what we are doing and we must fight our corner. Has anyone done writing remarks with Edxecel before? Is it a question of sending back a sample or do the whole lot have to be remarked straight away? If the former can we nominate the ones we want looked at?
  12. I feel the same as many people on this forum. Reading your comments has made me feel a lot better about my disappointing percentages with AQA German.
  13. MrsBM

    MrsBM New commenter

    I feel really sad that so many hardworking and talented teachers suffer so much anguish over the writing and speaking exams. One of the best things I did was to become an examiner purely to make sure that I and my team understood the various hoops that candidates must jump through. The reports issued by the principal examiners will indicate some of the causes for lost marks and you really need to dig down into what the marking scheme rewards or penalises. Even native speaker candidates can do badly if they don't know how to address the specific requirements of the mark scheme. I am often surprised at how little even very experienced teachers understand of the way the marking scheme works and who overestimate the quality of their candidates papers..

    Please don't be tempted into cheating. Get some good quality training appropriate for your exam board and make sure they explain to you exactly how the marking scheme is applied so that you can prepare your students effectively. There can always be some discrepancy between one person's marks and another's, but by understanding and applying the mark scheme consistently, the differences are reduced. Grade boundary changes are very difficult to cope with when you are trying to get borderline candidates over the line. If you ask for a remark (you can ask for a few or many as it is just down to what your school is prepared to pay), then it could be a good call to get another examiner to confirm or amend marks for those who have just missed out, or for those you feel have been unexpectedly downgraded.
  14. boatie

    boatie New commenter

    You can just ask for a re-mark of the candidates you want. Last year, we had 4 remarks done like this - purely speculatively as they were just below a C overall - and one boy was pulled up to a C.
  15. Our OCR CAs writing marks in German were odd again this year and we did worse than French and Spanish. We requested remarks for 4 students last year but the marks were not altered. So am reluctant to ask for any this year. So we are very disillusioned with the whole thing. We are changing exam board and exam !!!!
  16. I have found OCR to be a happy home for GCSE Spanish for the last five years. Our speaking marks have always been upheld, and with the odd few anomalies, I have have been happy with the writing marks for my candidates.

    It is, of course, interesting to note that the boundaries for for Speaking and Writing, but particularly speaking, have edged up at both A* and C level every single year. Indeed, students from my 2011 cohort whose raw scores gave them 120/120 UMS in Speaking would now find that their work is 'only' an A-grade. It should also be noted the pass rate has not really changed in this time.

    I find that a some staff in my department often give A* for a long, accurate piece of work with complex opinions. This is true to a degree, but personally, the main buzzword for A* is 'variety' or 'range' - students who register 120 UMS for Writing or Speaking need to write or 'speak' extended pieces, with a range of tenses (at least six), a range (at least ten) of subordinate clauses and structures (cuyo,donde, soler + infinitive, el cual, lo que, asi que, se puede, si pudiera, si tuviera, ni siquiera, dondequiera + subj, no solo...sino, adjectives in -isimo, tener que + infintive, hacer que + subj) and a range of complex opinions (Lo bueno, Lo malo and better still Lo sobresaliente..)

    A characteristic of not quite brilliant work is a highly accurate piece of work, that repeats the same structures. In all exams, you do not get extra credit for writing the same thing twice.

    This year I have also experimented with getting students to 'craft' their work in the given purpose - i.e when the task purpose was a blog, students laid out the work 'blog style' with pictures and added some 'comentarios' and 'smileys'. I've not really done this before, but it seems to have been well-received by the board.

    It is a shame that schools do not get a report on their writing efforts. It would be immensely helpful.

    I find that marking is more variable in the B-D range than the A*/A range.
  17. Totally agree with what you've written. Becoming an examiner really helped me to understand and to help my students understand the requirements of the specification. I would reccomend it to every teacher.
  18. curlyk

    curlyk New commenter

    This year my French results were really good, in fact,better than I expected ( from OCR) in my school .Thank God , as this was my last ever GCSE class !!!.Would have been so sad to finish my career of 35 years teaching MFL with some of the weird and wonderful results OCR have thrown me over the past two years. For example `A `grade students getting Cs in their writing, C graders getting better results in writing than `A`s, once an entire class given `C` for writing.!!! Yes ,I did the exam board`s course on marking writing and speaking, I have been an examiner in the past , I only have a small group of students, so all the time in the world to prepare and mark and moderate, but I was still not able to get it right every year. Experienced and newbie MFL teachers on this posting show how ridiculous the system has become . Inconsistency is definitely the name of the game when it comes to marking. Or some ploy to massage results to make the government be seen to be being tough on exams , maintaining the `gold` standard etc. Only problem is, it makes teachers look incompetent in the eyes of students and their parents if we are unable to predict grades accurately, gives our SMTs a stick with which to beat up language departments and puts off students pursuing language study. Oh, and exam boards make an awful lot of money out of re -marks !!

    The fact that language take up at A level is in serious decline ,University MFL departments are closing , any teacher over 55 is getting the xxxx out of schools and the recruitment of new teachers to replace them is poor, paints an appalling picture of the future of MFL teaching and learning in GB. I was sleepless the night before the results came out, not because I thought I had been incompetent in my teaching ,nor because I was afraid of my SMTs reaction, but because I wanted my students to get the grades they deserved to move on to their A level courses and I felt unable to rely on that fact if the inconsistent marking of their papers was as apparent this year as it had been in some previous years . My pension pot and pension comes in this September,still feel like I am on holiday, but I found this week really stressful.To be honest ,going on courses and becoming an examiner is not the answer, not all teachers want to, or can afford to, do that.

    Perhaps when CAs became a thing of the past, results will become easier to predict . Anyone got another answer ?Clearer marking criteria made available,? More detailed feedback to schools of any obvious failings in the moderation of their students work. Bring forward the date of sending in CAs, so these results can be fed back earlier in the term , so schools would be fore warned and could seek re marks ?

    Time for this issue to be sorted , methinks !! Good luck, one and all.Those of you who have been lucky this time should not rest on your laurels. It might be you next year !!
  19. warbyton

    warbyton New commenter

    Can I agree with both comments. 4th year of Controlled Assessments and, until this one, written estimates have been very close. This year their marks bear no resemblance to my estimates. Had previously marked coursework, marks generally spot on, to the extent that we were told not to submit marks for moderation because we were so spot on. How can I be up to 5 or 6 marks out on some students? Listening marks awful too! Something is badly wrong.
  20. I take solace in the fact that I am not the only one who feels disillusioned by the writing exams this year.

    For the first two years of this new specification my writing results were great and in many cases students were awarded higher than I had predicted, however for the past two years they have been diabolical.

    We do AQA and this year in Spanish out of 128 pieces of written work, only one was given full marks for content, whereas in previous years there were a good handful. My department has the same teachers teaching in the same style (so nothing has changed there) and we just do not understand what is happening. Last year, I had the whole year group re-marked and over 3/4 had their writing marks increased (not by much). I then spent the next few months corresponding with AQA to try and establish why the results for the writing were so out of kilter with our predictions and after several hours of phone calls and over 100 emails to a range of different departments, I am still in the dark.

    The most frustrating thing is that even if we were to have paid an extortionate amount of money to have someone from AQA come to the school to give us extra guidance, they were very clear that they would not under any circumstances discuss specific candidate's work. Therefore where we had predicted A* and they had graded pieces B, they wouldn't tell us why.

    Have lost all confidence in my own ability and the sorry excuse for an exam board.

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