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Native speakers taking MFL A levels - German

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by Viereckigerhai, Feb 25, 2016.

  1. Viereckigerhai

    Viereckigerhai New commenter

    I see in the press that ever increasing numbers of German natives are attending British schools - particularly at KS 5 and in the private sector. Presumably a large proportion will sit A level - maybe as an additional subject. Against a background of ever dwindling numbers of students opting for German A level, I imagine they now constitute a sizeable proportion of the cohort. My department has seen its grades slide dramatically in recent years despite students' performances remaining consistent.
    Our exam board ( Edexcel) maintains that it applies criterion referencing when awarding grades, but I have heard from insiders that this is not always the case. I believe non-natives are simply being out-competed by natives and the top grades are mostly going to the latter. Does anyone else share these suspicions? I fear for the future of German departments. My school also offers the IB diploma- where this problem has not been evident - so I am steering my students towards this option?

    Does anyone else have similar suspicions or experiences?
  2. gsglover

    gsglover Occasional commenter

    Definitely happening
  3. lasketchup

    lasketchup New commenter

    This didn't used to happen but it is possible that it is happening more frequently. A few years ago I asked Edexcel why there were so many more A* and A grades (something like 70% or more of the cohort) in Russian A-level when in German the figures were much, much lower with the same exam criteria. They told me that the relatively large number of Russian native speakers was taken into account, so vast numbers of A* and A grades were awarded. It is therefore possible that more native speakers may have a positive effect on grading, but I won't be holding my breath.
  4. maa09

    maa09 New commenter

    I think you are definitely right. It is a real concern and unfair on non native speaker candidates.
  5. catmother

    catmother Star commenter

    I don't get what you mean. Does your exam board restrict the number of top grades?
  6. claudette_marsaud

    claudette_marsaud New commenter

  7. maa09

    maa09 New commenter

    Thank you for this Claudette, I will get this survey done for my school.
  8. maa09

    maa09 New commenter

    To the extent of my knowledge the amount of each grade awarded is restricted in order to combat "grade inflation" .
  9. Geoff Thomas

    Geoff Thomas Star commenter

    Whatever happened to criterion referencing, which was so widely trumpeted when GCSEs were introduced?
  10. BrightonEarly

    BrightonEarly Occasional commenter

    I had the survey come in the post this week and have completed it.

    I also asked the A level students to complete the individualised survey also enclosed in the letter from OFQUAL targeted at pupils, but the questions proved to be pretty annoying. Who can work out the percentage of a week spent dealing with each language you speak including English? Should you factor in sleeping time? I dream in English. Not sure what the questions would actually provide in terms of information. I had to explain most of the questions to the students and wasn't actually sure what they all meant.

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