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Having been through Controlled Assessment once are you going to change the way you go about things?

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by whyamidoingthis, Feb 7, 2011.

  1. So far we've interspersed writing and oral to try and break it up. It has now been suggested doing all the writing then all the oral.This has come out of our recent orals where the pupils still seem to be thinking that they can have another go if it doesn't work .The thinking is that the fear factor has gone and they are too laid back about it all. Personally I think it is better to keep everything going or else they will lose their writing skills btu I wondered if any body had any thoughts about such an arrangement?
  2. So far we've interspersed writing and oral to try and break it up. It has now been suggested doing all the writing then all the oral.This has come out of our recent orals where the pupils still seem to be thinking that they can have another go if it doesn't work .The thinking is that the fear factor has gone and they are too laid back about it all. Personally I think it is better to keep everything going or else they will lose their writing skills btu I wondered if any body had any thoughts about such an arrangement?
  3. I just plan on doing a lot more spoon feeding of key structures.........actually not much point in teaching grammar anymore as they never need to think on their feet - they just come in and parrot off six paragraphs for writing, change one bullet point and they parrot the same off for speaking.
    What a farce of a qualification.
  4. Linguo24

    Linguo24 New commenter

    We teach a topic and then do a writing and an oral on the topic- the orals are generally done during our own lunch hours. I know what you mean about the pupils thinking they can be laid back because, consciously or sub-consciously, they believe that there will always be another chance. I have heard of some schools which tell their pupils at the start of Year 10 that they will do two Orals and two Writings on stated dates during the course and the pupils are left in no doubt that those are the only chances they are going to have-sounds firm but fair to me. Personally, I wouldn't feel happy about doing all the writing and then all the speaking- I think it's better for both skills to be taught and tested in a more integrated way.
  5. Interesting comments - we have done an oral and written on one topic working on the two birds with one stone theory but the kids moaned that it was too much. Yes being firm about dates is a good idea.
  6. It's been a fiasco. How on earth can the boards say that the teachers don't mark the writing? If we don't mark it, how do we know if the kids need to re-do it? With all the emphasis on more pupils getting C+ grades for the BACC, they'll probably have to re-do it until they get to those grades.

  7. rosaespanola

    rosaespanola New commenter

    I can't quite believe I'm hearing this - advocating spoon feeding key structures and not teaching grammar? Are we going back to the days where kids learnt endless lists of vocab but couldn't string a sentence together then? I find it very disheartening that some people seem to think that the only purpose to pupils doing a GCSE language is to get them a bit of paper with a grade on it - I'm surely not alone in that my main priority is equipping them with the skills they need in order to be able to use the language, which in itself will lead to them getting a good grade.
    Personally I think my students' writing and speaking skills are far better now than they ever were on the old style GCSE course.
  8. noemie

    noemie Occasional commenter

    I think there's a bit of both worlds, if I'm honest. Yes with my top linguists I've pushed them much further grammatically, and they've enjoyed the challenge, because it's been bite-sized, so they've got a much better grasp of grammar. For my bottom set, they'll probably get a C much more easily than they would have done in the old system, again because it's bite-size - and I don't think they'll have a very good understanding of what they're doing.
    At the end of the day, I like being able to set my own tasks, it means potentially I could teach them whatever I want. I'm free to modulate the SOW the way I want, and that's great for creativity.
    As for resits, I don't let them redo a task, even with one bullet point changed. It has to be a new topic, and they know that. And it has to be in their holidays, so very few are motivated enough to come in (we are independent so have longer holidays, before you think I'm mad for giving up my precious time!)
  9. spsmith45

    spsmith45 New commenter

    What would I change after the first year of doing these?
    Well, we have stuck to specific dates on orals and writing and it works fine. They get four shots at the oral and that's their lot. I had intended for all pupils to do four, but now that my top setters have already done two A* standard ones, I don't see the point in doing more.
    They get just two shots at the essays and any resits will have to be done in their and our lunchtimes. I do not anticipate many re-sits at all. Fortunately our kids play the game pretty well. Part of me says that if they don't prepare well enough, then it's tough. Another (larger) part as HoD says that a handful of weak candidates will have to do a re-sit when they realise they are at risk of a D grade.

  10. Hi there,
    I totally agree with you students cannot think by themselves now and just learn off by heart and parrot what they learned.
    There is no place to thinking skills in the new format and when pupils try to do a GCE and have to face the difficulty of the course requirements what a nightmare!!
    I think he old syllabus was much more streching as pupils actually had to learn how to build sentences, the verbs and grammar which is not the case anymore!
    The new format is not accessible to the very weak students and this is not fair!!!
  11. I just wish it wasn't so easy for teachers to cheat! 60% of it is quite open to corruption with the class teacher taking on the role of invigilator with AQA, 15% of which requires no evidence at all.Most of us are an honest bunch, but I know of teachers who are not. With the risk of sounding childish, it's just not a fair system.
  12. Random175

    Random175 New commenter

    Has anyone taken the approach of this is an 'seen' exam as opposed to a more strictly controlled piece of coursework? Wouldn't that reduce the classroom time used for CA? We are looking to review the exam board we use and I was interested to see that OCR recommends only 2 hours prep.
  13. Which exam board are you doing? Edexcel- does not allow a letter on a holiday and a speaking on it in the same topic. Have checked this with ASK THE EXPERT and specifically told not to cover the same topic in both
  14. It is fine if they start in KS3 but unfortunately we start teaching the languages ab initio in KS4 and in one year in KS5. So there is no time to teach properly the language and dealing the preparation time allowed (6 hours for Edexcel) is really hard and almost impossible to manage in Year 12.
    The new syllabud is fine for pupils who had previous knowledge of the languages. However, I think the new syllabus is not appropriate for our students.
  15. I don't like controlled assessment and can't wait for it to change. My chief concern is the extent to which it impinges on teaching time. We do OCR because it restricts the preparation time to 2 hours per task. Even then, I feel that that is too much. But however you look at it, 2 written tasks+ write up = 6 hours. That is about 3 weeks' worth of teaching. I cannot accept that it is worth losing that amount of teaching time to run an exam system.

    We set dates and we allow no repeats because, as has been said, they think they can just do it over and over again.
    We did both writing tasks followed by one week's break and then the orals. I was taken to task by a parent (also an MFL teacher) but by and large our pupils felt that being made to do the writing concentrated their minds on language and structures and that they were then better prepared for the orals.

    And another thing ... remember these pupils are doing controlled assessments in almost everything. If you look down from above on the situation they find themselves in can you honetly say you would have liked to be tested like this??

    we are finding it impossible to set dates for trips for year 10 pupils as so many subjects have bagged times for CA in other subjects. It is a farce!

    Julia Whyte
  16. Hi Julia,
    I do agree with you, although we are doing Edexcel that allows up to 6 hours for preparation and one hour for the test (28 hours in total without counting the retakes), it has been very difficult to get through the full course in Year 11 and the short course in Year 12. In addition to that the Listening and Reading test were very hard compared to the sample assessments and June 2010 assessment.
    Pupils had the feeling to be tested all the time and their motivation dropped down.
    I just hope to get rid of this kind of assessment and concentrate on teaching the language rather than passing my time testing!!! How motivating is that!
  17. Hi all,
    In my school we are finding preparation to CA very intense. We find that students that are well organised are usually successful but that other students, in particular low ability ones, struggle more with the new systems.

    We will probably develop strategies over time, but at the moment we spend a lot of time wondering wether we have to rethink the way we teach the course completely, especially regarding the guideline saying students aren't allowed to take drafts home to learn. The new guidelines suggest they shouldn't learn by heart but use their 40 words to make sentences as they go, but to ensure a good mark you have to develop and show variety. And talk for at least 4 minutes! Are there other ways?

    How do you go about helping your students to prepare/memorise what they will say/write for the CA if they can't take preparations home? We would be really glad to know how other schools do it..


  18. noemie

    noemie Occasional commenter

    Do the bulk of the prep at home (my colleague made her students do ALL the prep at home), record themselves or type their answer into a text-to-speech software, save the mp3 file onto their phone and listen and repeat ad nauseam. One of my bottom set pupils, when I challenged him about why he wasn't doing much work in class during stage 2, said "what's the point - I can't take it home. I'll do loads of work at home preparing for it but I'm better off doing nothing for now". Which was quite true (though his definition of "loads of work probably doesn't quite match mine"). Teach kids into the format of that exam from early on: I've changed the end of year exam for Y7, Y8 and Y9 so the writing is an essay rather than a gap fill, and they score extra points for using connectives, verbs tenses etc. We do a short question/answer session at the start of most lessons as well, so it's not new when they come to exams. (sorry for lack of paragraph)
  19. Hi Anne,
    with Edexcel they can take their preparation home but they are not allowed to bring a full draft from home. They are allowed only 30 words and 5 small drawings but no codes. Regarding the oral they have to do at least two different tasks and talk for 4-6 mn. It sounds long but actually it is feasible.
    The real headache is the paper work!!

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