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has anyone changed boards half way through a course?

Discussion in 'Religious Education' started by san38, Jun 7, 2011.

  1. san38

    san38 New commenter

    Sorry - me again. As I 've said above have become really unhappy with OCR and rumours from the marking camp are alerting me to the fact that this year's results may be a wash out. I am in the difficult position of drafting out a 'Plan B' that I can use to placate my SLT if things go badly. I currently teach OCR B from the perspective of Christianity. I am considering a move to an exam board with a less complex question paper (and mark scheme) that will allow me ultimately to also teach another religion.(without making the paper totally incomprehensible for the poor kids). However, the current y10 have only done Christianity so it will also need to be a board that allows for this. Has anyone made the switch part way through a GCSE? I'm aware this has problems but also don't feel it will be very motivating to teach a y11 knowing that I have no confidence in their results. Has anyone managed to do this successfully? As always grateful for your comments. Am now looking at all the other boards so any general thoughts very welcome. On a side issue already getting very irritated with boards who presumably want my business and yet won't allow me to access old papers etc on their websites! grrr.
     
  2. san38

    san38 New commenter

    Thanks Poppy - that is really useful and I will have a look at them. I'm doing like you - keep firing emails off to warn SLT - don't want it to look like I'm just making excuses in August. If it turns out OK may see out OCR with y11 next year, but want to be ready for the worst & given people's results in the Jan exam it seems that the worst may be a real possibility!
    Thanks again.
     
  3. poppy2004

    poppy2004 New commenter

    soul destroying isn't it... [​IMG]
     
  4. san38

    san38 New commenter

    Awful Poppy - couldn't have been worse timing what with the ebac threatenning the subject altogether. It's enough to make you believe in conspiracy theories! Can't win - OCR are saying the old spec was just too easy (read: go and tell your SLT that contrary to what you thought I'm a **** teacher - the exam was a doddle), telling them that it has now got harder to stretch students just gives an excuse to say 'if it's that hard let's get rid of it' !
     
  5. san38

    san38 New commenter

    Sorry me again Poppy! Only thing that puts me off AQA is that someone said they were introducing a separate answer paper and that if the kids filled it in wrong they would lose marks for putting the wrong question number in the wrong place or whatever (because it's being marked online). Not sure if I can trust all our lot to not mess it up especially as we're no longer allowed in the exam room before the exam. Have you heard anything about this? I don't want to jump from one very confusing question paper to another complex answer paper!
    I don't know if everyone is as indecisive as me! RE teacher disease - spend my life on fence listening to too many views!
     
  6. poppy2004

    poppy2004 New commenter

    OOOOoooooooo... not heard about that! I know there is something on the website about the paper. I'll have to go and have a look...
     
  7. pete14

    pete14 New commenter

    I don't think the numbering and online marking should be a problem. AQA spec B has always had a separate answer booklet. Provided they write the correct answer number (between 1 and 30) on their booklet, there will not be a problem. Even if they do this incorrectly, there are systems in place to ensure the answers are marked.

    Just in case, to set people's minds at rest, I can reassure you that the spec B papers are being marked conventionally this year rather than electronically and there does not seem to be any great problem with incorrect numbering.
     
  8. san38

    san38 New commenter

    Thanks Pete14, that's good to know. Out of interest is the the first year through for a new AQA spec or was it the same spec last June (sorry for ignorance - only really know about OCR). It was last June and in Jan this year that it all hit the fan because of the much more demanding nature of OCR's new spec. Although I have not entered for the new spec I have friends whose A-Cs went down by 20% or more. I was wondering if the other boards are likely to have a similar problem or if the changes with you have been less drastic?
    Thanks again for your reassurance on the marking.
     
  9. WillowFae

    WillowFae New commenter

    Last year whatever systems they had in place weren't fool proof. I had a student who got a B. His parents wanted a remark and requested the paper. When it arrived we noticed that one of the questions had a 0 next to it. Turns out it hadn't been marked (despite having the correct number in the margin). It was marked and his grade went up to an A.

    AQA knew that this had happened to some students and they wrote to schools. We got told that it had happened to two students but it made no difference to their final grades. This particular boy was NOT one of the two.
     
  10. pete14

    pete14 New commenter

    Sadly, I don't think any system is foolproof and it never has been. There have always been arithmetical errors for example that have not been picked up when papers have been checked. Shouldn't happen but regardless of exam board, it did. At least in the instance you mention from last year, something was done about it even if it didn't improve the grade for the two candidates.
     
  11. poppy2004

    poppy2004 New commenter

    I've added this thread to my hotlist because its confirmed to me that I have done the best thing for me and my students by changing exam boards. Thank you san38 (for appearing to read my mind!!) and pete14 and everyone else on the RE board anyway - you are all so much more helpful than those other subject areas....
    [​IMG]
     
  12. san38

    san38 New commenter

    Seconded Poppy! really nice to come on here and get practical and useful advice, And also, like you and me, to realise that the situation we face is not unique to us! AQA her I come I think. Will have a look for a course early next year and start planning now! Out of interest Poppy are you going to change your current y10's to AQA for thier final year, or hang on with OCR for them and start anew with year 10. Think I may go for this option unless results are so bad I need to try and make the change for the y11 too.
     
  13. not going with WJEC then san? Out of interest, why did you plump for AQA?
     
  14. san38

    san38 New commenter

    Hi Surferboy - no, think having looked at everyone AQA's going to be the place for now. It was really because at present our school just teaches Christianity. I am really keen to bring in another religion but I don't want to spend all summer rewriting my SOW. The main difference is that WJEC would need me to teach Christianity and an alternate view for every topic. AQA allows me to teach other religions but doesn't require me to do more than one for each topic. For example for a topic I could decide to focus on say Hinduism and then for another topic in the same unit just do Christianity. This is because the questions just say 'a religious person' rather than specifying a religion or saying that you must answer from more than one religion. This would enable me to introduce other religious views gradually without freaking out some of my non-specialist teachers. I hope this makes sense and I hope I'm right! I'm going to meet some colleagues from other schools on Thursday and hope to go over the AQA course in more detail then. I'm in the Midlands and don't actually know anyone else who does WJEC for RE. I must say one of the things that really attracted me was how positive everyone is about them (including our exam secretary - we use them for English). I also liked the exam paper and the fact students' answers went on the question paper rather than a separate booklet. Thanks again though for all your help surferboy - it was really useful and kind of you to take the time.
     
  15. poppy2004

    poppy2004 New commenter

    I'm planning similar to you san38. At the moment it will be my new year 10's who will start the AQA course and year 11 finish OCR.
    If the results are dire though I will have the year 11 do AQA and choose units that are most similar to OCR... [​IMG]
     
  16. san38

    san38 New commenter

    Fingers crossed for August then Poppy. Will be in touch! We might be able to share ideas again if we both end up in the same boat.
     
  17. poppy2004

    poppy2004 New commenter

    Thats a fantastic idea - I'll PM you
     
  18. Hi
    I'm in a similar position and am considering changing my current year 10s from Sept to AQA, my head has suggested we don't have to put everyone in for the GCSE, we do the short course on one 60 min lesson per week, but has said he would like some sort of accredition for their work so mooted the idea of Preparation for working life for lower abilty sets instead of RE, he suggested that without a certificate at the end of the course they will not be motivated, however, this means there will be no time for RE in year 11 as if we do this from Sept there will only be time for the Prep for working life. I'm concerned that this will be setting a precedent if there's no RE in year 11 for low ability sets, which is most of them in my school, then why should there be any in year 10.
    I've looked at the spec for the prep working life and it's ridicously simple which is what attracted the head I think, I don't really want to lose RE at KS4 so will have to try to improve results, impossible with OCR.I would welcome any comments, Thanks.

     

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