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New MFL A Levels...which exam board to choose?

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by clharrison, Apr 21, 2016.

?

Which board will you use?

  1. Edexcel

    3 vote(s)
    20.0%
  2. Edexcel International

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. AQA

    9 vote(s)
    60.0%
  4. OCR

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. CIE

    3 vote(s)
    20.0%
  1. clharrison

    clharrison New commenter

    I will be a new Head of MFL from September and am looking at the new A Level specifications. In the past we have done Edexcel but I must admit I'm rather worried about Thème 4: L'occupation et la résistance. I think our students will struggle with this content. I'm keen to hear the thoughts of more experienced HoDs vis à vis course selection. Merci!
     
  2. BrightonEarly

    BrightonEarly Occasional commenter

    You should add EDUQAS to the survey - this is the new name for WJEC.
     
    clharrison likes this.
  3. clharrison

    clharrison New commenter

    Thanks for this. Their A Level specification is still in draft form, not ratified.
     
  4. BrightonEarly

    BrightonEarly Occasional commenter

    That's why I'm still delaying my choice of boards. I want to see all possibilities.
     
  5. BrightonEarly

    BrightonEarly Occasional commenter

    OCR's A level languages specifications are also still in draft form. Their GCSE specifications have been accredited.
     
  6. BrightonEarly

    BrightonEarly Occasional commenter

    So far, I have not seen many differences between the specifications for the different boards. The prescribed list of set texts and films varies, but they have a lot of films and books in common.

    All have a 5 minute preparation window for the A level speaking exam (which I think is far too short). The one difference here is that Eduqas (WJEC) has placed the 5 minute window inbetween the two exam tasks rather than at the beginning of the exam as is the case with the other exam boards. This looks positive as the preparation relates to the second task in the exam.

    There may also prove to be differences in the amount of support which the teacher can give students in preparing for the research task element of the speaking exam - but not all specifications have been approved, so this is not yet certain.

    It is difficult to make a choice based on specimen papers as these are exactly that - specimens - and they can change considerably once they are actual exams.

    I like the fact that AQA offer a lot of online webinars which means that more of a department can access training rather than relying on feedback from the one teacher who was allowed out of school to attend a face to face meeting.
     
    clharrison likes this.
  7. BrightonEarly

    BrightonEarly Occasional commenter

    Comparing the themes and sub-topics in each specification will also help with the decision.
     
  8. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    clharrison likes this.
  9. BrightonEarly

    BrightonEarly Occasional commenter

    Thanks for the update, Florian.

    In a way, it would be good to have one exam board per subject to increase overall fairness of the award. On the other hand, having a choice does keep exam boards competing to offer the best service.
     
    clharrison likes this.
  10. pascuam49

    pascuam49 New commenter

    CIE has not changed its specification for IGCSE or A Levels. They do not have a Role-Play component in their A Level oral exam and there is not a Listening exam (The oral exam is supposed to test their listening skill too). Students need to cover at least three set texts in A2. All in all it seems to me a more challenging qualification than the rest. This said, I did AQA and Edexcel a few years ago so I may be wrong. It would be helpful to know what other people think about CIE.
     
    clharrison likes this.
  11. hasslethehog

    hasslethehog New commenter

    We are also switching to CIE having followed the AQA A Level, and before that, Edexcel. Our school already offers IB as well, and the mode of assessment is similarly rigorous for both CIE and IB. The 'university preparation' style of the course suits our students, and the relatively small cohorts entered for CIE may also be advantageous in terms of the fairness of marking (see the separate thread on native speaker entries). It's obviously not for everyone though.

    And self-evidently it's disgraceful how late in the day it is for exam boards still to not have had their qualifications ratified.
     
    clharrison likes this.
  12. clharrison

    clharrison New commenter

    I also think it would be simpler to have one exam board, but I know what you mean about the competition keeping them all 'on their toes'. OCR didn't have all that many schools using them, but it still feels like a blow to languages nationally that they have chosen to drop MFL. I think we will use Edexcel International A Level as it works best for our international students. We like that there is a listening component at A2 and more flexibility in the content - still the option to study a geographical region or literature or film.
    Regarding CIE, our exams officer is really not keen on them due to a history of difficulties in their administration.I'd be keen to know how other schools have found them...
    Thank you everyone for your opinions and ideas.
     
  13. BrightonEarly

    BrightonEarly Occasional commenter

    EDUQAS (WJEC) have had their qualifications accredited recently.
     

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