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Good marks for Unit 2 Practical but inconsistent

Discussion in 'Drama and performing arts' started by walshj77, Aug 18, 2011.

  1. Well done to all A-Level bods today.

    Again baffled by some of the Unit 2 practical marks. They are all very good and we even saw some 10s this year but some of the 10s awarded were for students who I completely didn't agree with. Some of the better students got 9s and 8s. Anyone had the same experience?

    Just bizarre all this.

    Also dreading GCSE
     
  2. I've posted a bit about this on the results thread. Definitely know what you mean!
     
  3. I suppose the problem is that is all so subjective.
    An examiner sees things with a fresh eye but can fail to appreciate some of the things we, as teachers, think are impressive. Mine always claim that half of the time the examiner is writing and missing vital stuff.
    I am an examiner and sometimes a performer just appeals /engages you on some level - these are the ones that would you highly reward because they have some sort of 'wow' factor.
    By the way -your marks sound great!
     
  4. I firmly believe that it's very hard for any exam board to be consistent with practical marking when you're talking about a subjective subject (hard to qualify what 'excellent' use of stillness is compared to 'good' use of stillness, for example) when you only send in one marker. I have found that when we've had two or three examiners come in results have felt fairer. When we mark the Unit 3 we have at least 2 staff marking and we spend a considerable amount of time discussing our marks and moderating them so they're as accurate as possible. I think that this might be necessary for Unit 2.
    I take the point that examiners come in with a clean slate, so don't have the perceptions we do of who is good or who is weaker and this might colour our perception of their performances. However, I don't buy that that means that we are completely unable to judge objectively. And when you've had year after year of exams then you do get a 'feel' for what to expect.
    I honestly don't know what the answer is. I know that there is rigorous training for examiners and there are many who do an excellent job - I've certainly experienced this. I also know of people examining for Edexcel who I wouldn't want as my examiner. I just feel that in an organisation the size of Edexcel it's impossible to ensure that everyone is marking to the exact same standard.
     
  5. Ha Ha, i too know people i wouldn't want as my examiner!
    I was going to say it helps if they teach too- gives them a better perspective but my harshest examiner was a teacher from a local school and my recent good marks with a retired ex teacher who is a team leader.
    Don't know about you but the A Level results herald the end of the holidays too me - bang into work mode with a bang.
     
  6. Me too! As soon as the A levels come out so does my school bag and my to do lists!
     
  7. I'm really pleased with my results overall. I got quite a few 9/10 and 10/10 in there which delighted me!
    I'll try not to take "offence" to the examiner comments as I am, actually one of those scary examiner people for Unit 2 - this, unfortunately does not mean that I can solve all your queries about the examination process but, I do have to say that it's marked by the examiner, then sent to the team leader who marks it again and changes marks if necessary and, to my knowledge, they send it to someone above them who checks the marks again so, in essence the performances are marked three times in all......
    I'm dreading GCSE next week too - new spec and all.....still doubting my marks for Unit 1 and Unit 2 to be honest, starting to REALLY think i've been to "generous" and they will slash my marks down...also, groups who I feel have created outstanding exam pieces, may only be seen by the examiner as "excellent" or have I got my A level examiner head on and I've been judging these students as A Level kids and not GCSE??? Only a week to go!!!! xxx
     
  8. Same here...I have got the new schemes of work on the go and the documentary response questions to re-work although I feel apprehensive about that until next Thursday is over. Eeeek. Fingers crossed everyone.

    Plus, I am preparing for my first year as HoD and there seems so much to do to make the dept a little bit of me if that makes sense.

    I have applied to be an examiner this year as well as moderator for GCSE - will let you know how it goes.
     
  9. Please don't take offence at the comments, nwyllie. :) As I said, there are lots of brilliant examiners but, of course, they're not all the same. There is no doubt in my mind that there are inconsistencies from examiner to examiner, for the reasons I stated above. Otherwise noone would ever have a successful appeal. It doesn't mean that every examiner is wrong but, just as there are good teachers and not so good teachers, there are good and not so good examiners. I think a significant amount of people on here, past and present, have had these experiences and I know Teaching Drama did an interesting article about it a few years ago. My students this year did the same play as studets 2 years ago (new spec). Marks then were top A-high C. This year C-E. I know that one of those was inaccurate as they were very, very similar groups with very similar quality of performances. Unfortunately, it just sounds like griping when you say 'my students didn't get what they deserve', but sometimes this is genuinely the case.

    Also pretty anxious about GCSE for the same reasons. So many unknowns - I have no idea what to expect! Just wish we could find out now and get it over with!!
     
  10. new to the forum - hello all! similar story for me - fine for Units 1 / 3/ 4 (nothing adjusted) but Unit 2 a shocker - only one A, and loads of Cs for students I was expecting As & Bs for (with good reason - i've been doing this for long enough now) ; thoroughly infuriating, demoralising and frustrating. All those hours of rehearsal So angry yesterday I think I might write a letter of complaint to the examiner herself , and ask for some clarification...am I allowed, i wonder?

    the problem for drama which makes it different to other exams is that a) re-marks rarely result in shifted grades and b) unlike retaking other (modular) subjects, retaking Unit 2 is a massive undertaking for Year 13 students - I've done it before with some success, but it killed us! But basically, unless you do that the door is shut after 1 year for students wanting to gain the very best grades (not great for retaining students either...)
     
  11. thats interesting - my understanding has always been that you should be more cautious about naturalistic pieces, because 16 - 17 yr olds dont necessarily have the life exp to play older (and who wants to do a load of Connections plays year after year as an alternative?)

    Therefore it follows that more stylised/ physical pieces are more to the students taste and work better in performance; this year i did equus & Liz Lochhead's Dracula (both examples of this type of play, and previously both bankers - I've done them before). However, we've come a cropper.


    Last year, we did Bernarda Alba (played v naturalistcally) & the Lyric Hammersmith version of Metamorphosis (stylised), and our grades were fantastic; am looking for rhyme or reason but I can't see it at the moment; I think it must be the examiners?


    of course, examiners have no context of how much work people have put in - why should they? - but i get very angry at what i perceive to be parsimonious, rapier-like LAMDA style marking without any empathy at all. Blithely coming in, putting the boot in and sailing off, leaving a trail of devastation and depression. Grrrrrrr.....


    As an afterthought - i went on Ginny Spooner's edexcel training for Unit 2; hse was great BUT the exemplar stuff she showed us (dull, identikit performances from a veriosn of Arabian nights that I've done as a lower school play) was infintely less interesting than what we've done over the last few years (without meaning to sound arrogant).


    I'm at a loss..
     
  12. how do you break the text into paragraphs on this , by the way?! its all comin' out as a block (which makes it sound even more of a rant!), despite writing in paras...
     
  13. Thanks Nwyllie! Yes, I'm sure we will! :) xx
     
  14. Joining the results post mortem late, because I was on holiday for the results (oh the guilt, and the hours spent attempting to download them in a hotel lobby...) and on the whole I'm happy, apart from the written concepts for Unit 2. Last year one of my boys got a 9/10 and others scored highly, so I thought I was on the right track, but - this year nothing higher than a 6! Feel like I've failed them, as the concept results are noticeably much lower than the vocal, movement and characterisation marks.
    I'm wondering if I serve the students badly by always using contemporary plays for monos and duos, so that writing about context is more of a struggle for them - does anyone have more luck with concepts when using more 'historical' pieces?
     
  15. Not necessarily jennilou.... last year I got one which was marked at 9/10 for a play called "Little Dog Laughed" and the 9/10 one this year came from "Find Me" so, it's not the text..... if all three sections of the WPC are tackled equally you are on the right track. As I am a Unit 2 examiner, drop me an email and I'll give you more info if you want: nwyllie@hotmail.co.uk. If it's any consolation, despite me being an examiner - my students still came out with a real variety of marks......
     
  16. I did Skriker by caryl churchil this year and all students got 9s and 10s which I thought was pretty spot on. Other plays marked as consistently but stil high so no complaints!
     

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