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How to improve content marks at AS and A2 (AQA )?

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by Petite Joueuse, Mar 14, 2012.

  1. We are really struggling to get content marks on the essays at AS and A2.
    Any ideas gratefully received!

  2. We are really struggling to get content marks on the essays at AS and A2.
    Any ideas gratefully received!

  3. Tell me about it! I have some incredible students who only got 13/20 last year and i have students who put in a lot more TSV and Structures than the example essays but yet only get 3/3.
    I am so fed up and pupils are dropping the subject in favour of ones that they feel they know how to score better in. AQA markers are consistently harsh in the essay question and it is across the 3 languages we do at our school.
    I feel like i look incompetent to the students when i cannot tell them where they have gone wrong. I have been on 2 exam courses in 2 years and still feel like i am not getting it.
    If my pupils can accurately use ALL verb tenses, a variety of subjunctive expressions, connectives, idioms, TSV then why are they only getting 3? They also say that essay strucure isn't of huge importance in the advice sections yet it's in the mark scheme.
    After 3 years of this new spec and a number of truly talented students being disappointed and horribly frustrated i have had enough and will be writing an official complaint.Isn't it funny that you can't get any feedback on your paper. Do they read them at all?

  4. Many thanks for the replies!
    We seem to have poor content marks across all 3 languages (F, G, S) - that means across a range of very expereinced teachers delivering a wide range of cultural topics from Molière to Picasso!
    We had candidates last year who achieved full marks at AS and then could apparently only muster 15/25 for content at A2 (having achieved full marks in the comprehension sections of the exam). It just does not make sense. These are candidates who are often doing essay-based subjects like History and English Literature and they are getting the grades we expect in those subjects.
    That's why I posed the original question. I simply do not understand where we are going wrong. My own degree was heavily literature-based and the main skill I acquired was essay-writing! My pupils have a very thorough knowledge of the texts and generally complete an essay a month for most of Year 13.
    What more should I be doing?
  5. musiclover1

    musiclover1 New commenter

    Thank you so much for this explanation, 'siegen', I will certainly be sharing this with my pupils. (One of them, in actual fact, asked me almost the same question the other day because I'd given him 13 for content and he wanted to know how to get more.
  6. spsmith45

    spsmith45 New commenter

    200 words will not be nearly enough to score high on content, so we have to encourage students to write a good deal, even at the risk of accuracy problems. With AQA only 5 marks out of 35 are allocated for accuracy, so as previous posters have said, lots of content points are needed. This requires training of students and plenty of practice. Their first attempts are often disappointing, but they do improve.
    Clarity of expression and avoiding waffle are what they should aim for. Vincent did a good essay guide (I think it was Vincent). I adapted it a bit for my students and out it on frenchteacher.net.
    Short intro, stay relevant, clear content points, develop and relate to the title, good linking. Short conclusion.
  7. chriszwinter1

    chriszwinter1 New commenter

    AQA's examiners claim that it should be possible to get access to the highest bands and therefore score full marks with 200 words. I have yet to see evidence of that in their feedback or in materials offered at inset. In fact, I would argue that 350-400 words would be needed for the highest bands.
    One of my A2 candidates last summer told me she'd written over 1000 words. She scored 22 for content and 5 for each of the other categories. While I recognise that one candidate doesn't set the standard for everything else and considering that in the previous specification 700 words were needed for each of two essays, I think AQA's original claim needs to be revised.
  8. steveglover

    steveglover New commenter

    The board should analyse what length of essay is getting the best marks on average and maybe suggest that as the target to aim for rather than keeping it at 200+
    The better students are starting to be able to write good essays at the end of a year but brevity is not usually much in evidence.

  9. marmot.morveux

    marmot.morveux New commenter

    ....this seems to be the same bone of contention, as when there had to be a heavy 'French' influence under content for the A level coursework. It was also the same bone of contention under the old GCSE when a piece of coursework was advised to be 200 words - but the best ones were always significantly longer.

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