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Is controlled assessment ruining your life as well (WJEC)?

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by jimois, Oct 28, 2010.

  1. I am currently doing my controlled assessments with year 11 with WJEC. I tried to be clever by doing the presentation and discussion and controlled writing assessment on the same topic at the same time but found this to be one of the most exhausting and frustrating experiences of my teaching career. I do NOT recommend this! A word of warning - the presentation should last at least 2-3 minutes and the discussion 3-4 minutes thus it is difficult to get mileage out of them in the discussion section. For example I did the presentation on MON STAGE and found it very difficult to ask questions on subject matter that they had not already discussed in their presentation. I also decided to do it on the same subject at the same time for both my GCSE French and Spanish group. Again my mistake for other forum readers to learn from!
    Luckily I have a great SMT who allowed the department to have cover.
    I disagree with how it is possible to mark the assessments at the same time as listening to them. I gave myself 15 minutes per candidate to do this but still did not feel up to doing this thus I am subjecting myself to the grim experience of listening to them all over again over the holidays as well as having a look at their CAW to check that their best will be submitted. Over the 2 week period I did the controlled assessment preparation as best as I could but feel that I am now paying the price with catching up on my normal SOW. The pupils speaking and writing responses have also been pretty dismal so far and my students are relatively motivated.
    How is everybody else finding this? How have people planned when they will be doing their CAWs over the academic year and the CASs? How have people been prepping? I'm sorry if this is going over requests that people have made regarding controlled assessment and look forward to hearing about difficulties you may have been having so we may come to a conclusion on how to undertake in the most effective manner.

    Many thanks.
     
  2. foroff2233

    foroff2233 New commenter

    When planning and carrying out the dsfunctional edifice of CA for which centres are responsible I take as axiomatic:
    -that the boards and their representatives, ( eg those training course attendees) have not 'harmonised' their versions, by which I mean that they dish out contadictory advice. I went on several courses in the early days;
    -that the boards must be aware that centres cannot REALISTICALLY follow their general procedures;
    - that pupils are turned off by the sterile and desperate pedagogic style which any attempt to follow the badly-expressed ambiguities of the management-speak in which the specs are couched inspires;
    ( Sorry, that last sentence not too felicitously put together)
    As a result I do not bother interpreting the spec or following 'procedures'. As a dept we obviously try to give pupils a profitable, rational learning experience instead and do CA in the way that suits us best. So we do the paperwork, provide the work required by the board but in the way we deem best. After all we are trained teachers, not circus performers.
     
  3. It is a nightmare from start to finish.
    My teaching is now utterly dry, prescriptive and directive as everything we do is tailored to the CAs. We do one CA and immediately launch into prep for the next one.
    We did one CAW and one CAS in Year 10, so are now trying to do two more of each in Year 11, aiming to submit the best 2 out of the 3 done. I feel so sorry for the pupils - I really don't think this promotes enjoyment of language learning - it does nothing to encourage creativity - it is just horrible. I was also hoping to get rid of the CAs in time to do some serious input on skills for Listening and Reading, but with Easter being so late and the submissin date of 7th May, I suspect my poor pupils will have no time left.
    Can someone please tell us how/where/when to complain to QCA and the exam boards? If every MFL dept complained, surely they would have to listen? I realise that some teachers may feel there are elements of the new system that are better/preferable to final writing exams, but the overall management of these new CAs is unwieldy.


     
  4. We do - it wasn't thought out how it would work in practice. Students now have the attitude that it doesn't matter as they can resit as in other modular subjects so we have that to contend with now as well!
     
  5. I agree totally. I thought at first it would be easier.
    But took the same route as you; same presentation and discussion as for written coursework piece . As this was the second peice for both speaking and writing I had the comment from one bright spark "so miss, have we now finished all of our French? This must mean we don;t need to do any more work". I have every intention of doing another speaking and writing and tried to explain that it's best pieces that will be submitted. However, that is hard to do as we have no grade boundaries on which to judge so stuffed there.
    As regards conduct - I have been trying to do my assessments since the second week in September but due to calendared events etc I am finally getting round to doing it the second week back after half term!
    And for marking - not even attempted it - not way could I do it at the same time as conducting the exam and time constraints with only two lessons in a week mean that at some point I am going to have to get it done during holidays/weekends/non-contacts as it will probably take at least two listenings to each one - it will take approx 20 mins to mark each piece wit 25 students that's a lot of hours - nearly ten hours per set of coursework.If you do two sets fro each then that;s at least fourty hours marking coursework.
    As regards teaching - it's very sterile as someone said - we are teaching to the exam nothing else.
    Bad....
     
  6. noemie

    noemie Occasional commenter

    Can I just ask what rules you decided to get rid of? One of my main concerns over the CA is the fact there is absolutely no accountability from schools and so that most schools will cheat (just as they did with coursework before).
    I don't agree completely with the lack of creativity, not in the writing anyway. If you do (like we do) 6 controlled assessments over 2 years, you can pretty much teach the topic as usual and complete the CA at the end. I'm in the process of teaching the holiday topic and have asked students to write texts such as "if I was a millionaire, this is where I'd go on holiday" etc. I've also got them to write their own little sketch of an episode of Fawlty Towers (which I found on this website btw) to cover complaints about a hotel. Some kids are reusing it in their writing. The only dull bit is the week of lessons before the assessment, and then the assessment itself. I think if you don't let it affect your teaching, it's pretty much the same as before, except there is greater choice for teachers (or HODs) about what you teach, because basically you set the exam.
    Having said all that, I still don't think CAs are an appropriate way of assessing pupils' level at GCSE, as there is too much scope for cheating or parroting.
     
  7. I agree, noemie, when you say that there is scope for cheating and parroting in the new CA scheme. As we know league tables have had a huge impact on the uptake of MFL in our schools, which must be a major factor as to why teachers are tempted to cheat. In my view, however, it is the 'severe grading' issue which is central to all of this discussion, and we have to wait until August 2011 to see what the first cohort of grades is like. If grades are better overall will we be happy? Will uptake at AS remain stable or even improve? Will our students be able to cope with AS after CA?
    But we also have to take a step back and look at where we were with courswork/terminal exam in the assessment of writing last year. And my feeling is that CA is an improvement, as it creates a level(ler?) playing field when we compare MFL to other subjects.
    And jimois, foroff2233, Petite Joueuse and missbreak - I agree that the arrangements are cumbserome and put an arguably excessive burden on the classroom teacher. But is CA really as bad as all that? I agree with noemie that
     
  8. Oh and let's put the rubric of the listening and reading exams in English...yeah that was a really smart move.
    And let's all just cheat on coursework...slap my wrists I mean controlled assessment.
    And sure let the teacher's mark the speaking on a 30 point scale.....totally open to interpretation - do you really think anyone is going to give a kid less than 10/30??? so let's make that a 20 point scale and we have to put the whole country on it.....Good grief.
    I'm glad I lived when I lived!!!! That's all I'm saying!!!
     
  9. In response to the OP, 'YES'. I've had more parental complaints than ever before about published dates, different teachers giving different advice etc.etc. Basically, they're just looking for more excuses why their little darlings aren't doing as well as they should and are being let down by their individual teachers. Of course, every one of them has a friend in a different class who's doing better.
     
  10. Just to go back to the original - with regards to the questions about the presentation I would expand the answers to bring in something else but linked eg
    EG for your example "you said in your presentation you like working in the butchers...do you think that working is in a butchers is more interesting than working in a bakery/"
    "you said your earned £4.30 an hour, would you like to earn lots of money when you are older?"
    "what would you buy with that money?"
    (extreme I know!!)
    Don;t know if that is allowed but it is a conversation and development of their presentation - it's hard.......
    If not allowed I'm done for!!!!![​IMG]
     
  11. I sympathise and empathise totally. Work in a "challenging" school and have a class of 16 ding Spanish from scratch with Cat scores ranging from 73 (!) to 115 - the lattter is an exception! The majority of the class are weak in general and find English hard to read. Tried to make them run before could walk in Y10 - failed miserably. Have tried to spread out the CAW and CAS opps over all of Y11 but due to absence/ lack of ANY work, the majority are now all crammed into this term and am seriously losing sleep. I think it CAN give the strongesat pupils scope to be more creative but for someone with a CAt of 80, it's back to creating 10 SIMPLE sentences at best and in the CAS, they can barely cope with any follow up questions. I HATE the non-tiered mark scheme - for weaker pupils it is sould-destroying: "oh wow, you are doing really well, you are now in the 4/10 band" - how motivating!
    The marking of CAS is a nightmare - basically we are now doing the job of the board, in NO EXTRA TIME and be honest, we are marking the CAW anyway, on a photo copy - what self -respecting teacher wouldn't? So it's double the work. Been dong this 16 years and can't face another 16...........
     

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