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OCR B603 dissappointing results!

Discussion in 'Religious Education' started by poppy2004, Mar 11, 2011.

  1. poppy2004

    poppy2004 New commenter

    One of my jobs this weekend might be to have a look at the other exam boards and see if what I've taught so far overlaps...
  2. I don't know where you are checking. The paper is out of 48 but OCR convert it to a UMS score out of 50. The grades using the UMS are A* = 45-50, A = 40 - 44, B = 35-39, C = 30 - 34, D = 25 - 29, E = 20 - 24 and so on.
  3. My school has dropped from 75% A* - C last year to around 50% this year! Does anyone know whether OCR are doing anything about this? I actually examine for them and when the results were not known last year, I heard in the moderation meetings some (senior) examiners say things along the line of "schools entered too many Year 10 students", I feel this is a convenient excuse (blaming teachers or students) rather then the shortcomings of the exam paper, the highly subjective 'e' question, the high grade boundaries and possibly the overall quality of the examiners. The moderation meeting gave no indication that the 'Christians say, others say, I say' will not work and actually the statement question itself asks for those three points of view specifically!
  4. matryoshkadoll

    matryoshkadoll Occasional commenter

    I was under the impression that the additional two marks were for standard of written English as the edexcel paper is.
  5. Hi,
    Has anyone checked the OCR website and seen the 'provisional exam statistics for Jan 2011'? It is very confusing but as far as I can work out GCSE RE Short course B603 A*-C national average is 30%. Can this be possible? Senior examiners have met at the awards meeting, looked at some sample papers and decided on grade boundaries. It seems to me if the national outcome of A*-C is 30% then something went badly wrong at that meeting.
    If anyone can make any sense of this please let me know?

  6. jerseyperson

    jerseyperson New commenter

    30%??? Surely that reflects poor marking or a difficult exam paper? That is nuts. This is really bothering me. I only teach GCSE to 28 students but we only got 1 A, from one of those students (we all have one) where you almost can't fault the work because it's so ridiculously good and she only scraped the A (exactly on the grade boundary). I can't afford to get them all remarked but I feel so suspicious of the whole thing. I don't want to change exam boards!! I just want to know exactly what I need to be doing differently to get my students some decent grades.
  7. Hi Everyone
    I'm under deep cover here! I do feel for everyone because it seems as nearly everyone I come across is having problem with the B603 unit in particular. I myself know of one teacher for example with an entry of over 170 who got 1 student with an A, a smattering of Bs and Cs and an A*-A average of around 22% down from just under 70% the year before.
    First off, you don't have to have the whole cohort remarked if you want to make a point. Get 10% done. If the marks shift from these kids then OCR will remark the whole lot free of charge and the marks won't move even if the original examiner has been generous. Pick 10% of the kids who you definitely know should have got higher.
    Secondly, the fact of the matter is that the "some Christians...other Christians..." approach that would have got candidates 5/5 on the old 1931 spec just won't do it anymore. There has to be "discourse" or "dialogue" between the different opinions as well as plenty of detail to get to the level 4 marks (10-12). Lots of kids dump their opinion at the end as you know, they need to be able to comment on issues as they go along rather than do this. Almost as if they are getting the debate taking place in their heads onto paper. If they do the old "Some Christians think this...Others this..." then they will likely get around top level 2 marks (6/12). Being more specific (eg, "Roman Catholics would say..(xxx).because...Quakers would say..(xxx). because..(xxx).I think.(xxx)...because..(xxx)..) gets up to L3 (7-9) and into the better grades.
    My point is that you may need to do things differently to what you did in the past. I'm sorry if it sounds as though I'm teaching granny to suck eggs as that is not my intention but we have to rethink how we have done things in the past.
    Lastly, I think that B603 in particular is becoming the "problem unit" from the spec. Perhaps because the PE from this unit comes from a different background than the other PEs who all come from the old 1931 spec. I am hopeful that this situation will change in the future but I'm interested to see what happens in the summer which is the first session where we will all be able to sit down and compare the kid's scores across 4 units. This is the first year, as we all know, that this has happened.
    In the meantime please don't give up hope and reassure your colleagues that you are all good teachers. Reply or PM if you would like me to answer any questios you may have and I'll see what I can do.
  8. jerseyperson

    jerseyperson New commenter

    Thanks John Dough, there's some really helpful stuff in here. My question is, has OCR really cascaded this information down to teachers, or are we expected to just psychically know the expectations have gone up so much? I don't think it's unfair to raise standards, but terribly unfair to penalise students whose teachers have not been advised of new expectations. In fact, I didn't even teach the old spec but I still would not have been able to work out from the (e) mark scheme what OCR's full expectations are. There isn't even any inset from OCR between now and June for me to get further advice!
  9. Hi John
    I get what you're saying but I think too much is being asked of your ordinary comprehensive kids.
    I HAVE been stressing that they need to debate. In fact I've been spending less and less time going over content and have literally been torturing the kids with constant essay practice.I tell them exactly what you say- imagine an argument in your head.
    I went to speak to our English dept. and they said that they would advise a child to take 20 mins to prep this kind of an essay. You and I both know that the kids don't have time to do that.
    Looking at the results this time round it was almost as if someone had just randomly put grades on a piece of paper. A boy who hardly writes a thing in lessons, consitently gets Gs in end of unit tests and is usually to stoned to know what time of day it is- Got a D.
    My top achieving student (1 mark of an A in summer exam) got an E.
    I phoned oCR and the woman I talked to refused to put me through to anyone who could give any feedback. I emailed the RE team at OCR and have yet to hear back.
    I'm all up for developing teaching practice but I honestly don't think OCR know what they want, are willing to share how to achieve it (went on a getting started course which was totally shambolic and the examiners kept contradicting each other), or even care.
    I also can not think highly of an exam that places so much emphasis on having to write an answer a certain way rather than actual knowledge is.
    I certainly can't afford to keep trying to get this right at the expense of my students (and with redudancies looming maybe even my job!)
    Thanks for all the info but unless something drastic happens...aqa here I come.

  10. Hi Feene
    I don't actually blame you. However, all exam boards now have to award 50% of the marks for evaluation. The difference between AQA and OCR (I haven't looked at Edexcel) is that rather than a big chunk of a question AQA split the evlauation marks between a 5 mark and a 3 mark question. This is probably more manageable for most kids but OCR will probably be better in the long run for students who might be considering an 'A' level in RS. One of the reasons that it's became as rigourous as it has is because of the number of kids who got top grades at GCSE, went on to do AS level and found it too demnading and dropped out. There were far too many.
    Nevertheless I would urge you to see out the current year 10 on OCR. Tell them to use lots of detail, discourse (they use this skill in English and they can do it) and technical language (orthodox, liberal etc) and they will probably get the marks.
    However, I wish you success with what you decide to do.
  11. check your pms.
  12. poppy2004

    poppy2004 New commenter

    OK... so what you are saying here is that OCR <u>is</u> harder?
    In that case then I will be off. At the risk of sounding like I want to make things easy for myself (What I <u>do</u> want is for the kids to get what they deserve!) it sounds to me like:
    • two kids can do a RS exam
    • One kid follows AQA
    • The other kid follows OCR
    • Both have similar intelligence and work ethic but because AQA cater for the <u>typical 16 year old</u> then the AQA kid will do better.
    How is that fair???
  13. risarossi

    risarossi New commenter

    Hi John Dough,
    I have taught RE for 6 years and have always had good results, what I dont understand it that I taught my year 10 students last year the same module the way you suggested would only give them 5 marks and I got 83% A*-C. Now it is being suggested that this way is not the way to approach it? I achieved 40% in this years module. Has this then just been decided in an Awards meeting and implimented without the knowledge of the teachers that we have to approach 12 mark questions differently, I have scoured the specification and cannot find any support for this! If thats the case it seems to me that OCR seem to have some sort of agenda to want these kids to fail? If this is a political push to make RE seem more 'academic' then the exam board has really lost its way. I just dont see how things can change so drastically in one year, and I have been an OCR examiner. If I do not get some feedback soon this new year 9 cohort will be studying AQA.
  14. san38

    san38 New commenter

    It would just seem to be a general inconsistency risarossi. You got the best marks I have heard of LAST year when there were a huge list of complaints. I am one of a number of teachers who work together in a large county and many of those had seen a plummet last year - one from 78% to 18%.
    Thank you for your comments John - I am going to try and push my students the way you suggest in the time left but I have lost faith really in the whole system and will be changing after this year. I am worried about what you say about lack of dialogue between the APs for each paper - it may be that different things are being required in different units which again is unfair on everyone and impossible to teach to. I had all of my old spec papers remarked last year and went from 40% to 60% so I feel that problems with individual markers are also not being addressed. I am going to move to a board that does online marking - this means that there is not just one person responsible for each paper and for each cohort. Having been an examiner myself and having suffered last year from incompetent examining I think that the days when we can rely on one marker are gone - if all of us, experienced and previously succesful teachers can not work out the criteria for succcess then I can only assume markers too are struggling - poor kids have no chance.
  15. delahay

    delahay New commenter

    Hi All- I was part of the thread last summer after the worst results in my 20 year teaching career. I looked by chance on the forum to see if there was any feedback on the January modules. I have my head in my hands. We do AQA for the long course and OCR for the short. The new AQA paper seems undemanding in comparison to this very rigourous 12 mark question. The students spend 15 minutes on a discursive essay in which they are supposed to use scholarship and technical language. I am asking myself how is this any different from an AS evaluation. I actually think it is harder. Also is it just the Christianity option that is being marked this harshly? In the Islam option do they have to write about the Sunni and Shi'a approaches? Having read this I am going to have to look at a new exam board for next year. It is difficult enough in schools with the pressure of the ebac and two years of crappy results are an additional pressure. Sort it out OCR!
  16. poppy2004

    poppy2004 New commenter

    I really do believe that if OCR don't sort it out that they will find themselves losing many schools to other boards like AQA. They are simply not catering for the typical 16 year old!!! Not fair... [​IMG]
  17. I have not had time to read all the threads but as an OCR B603 examiner it comes down to 3 things!
    1. The 12 mark question needs argument, justification and evalutation - It is not just a longer old C question.
    2. You need at least 100 min a week( 2 of my double lessons ) to teach the course.
    3. Examiners spend a minimum of 2 days / 3 for team leaders standardising these exams.

    At my school year we enter 32 year 9's for this exam ( we are not a grammar!) and 90% of them achieved 90% A*-C. These year 9's have the 100 min a week.

    The year 10's faired less well as they only have 50 min a week.
    Marking a centre I saw too many answering the 12 mark in the same way as the old part C this simply does not work.
    Before taking umbridge with OCR I think staff need to be trained fully oin how to teach this specification.
    A 16 year old or even a 14 year old with the right skill base can be successful in this exam!!
  18. jerseyperson

    jerseyperson New commenter

    1. I never taught the old C question. As far as I'm concernd I teach argument, justification and evaluation. You can't defend OCR on this- their INSET has been appalling.
    2. Thanks for the advice.
    3. That's all very well- is any feedback passed back down to teachers about what went wrong across the board? The examiner's notes are impossible to find. OCR seem to enjoy making their website inaccessible and anyway no details yet on RS, still just core subjects.
    I don't like the suggestion I'm unneccesarily taking 'umbridge' with OCR. As an examiner you have inside knowledge that helps you a lot. What I'm suggesting, along with others, is that OCR do not do enough to make their marking criteria transparent.
    I'm sorry- I wouldn't normally be snappy, but you really should have read the whole thread.
  19. san38

    san38 New commenter

    To clarify - ~I assume 100mins a week is for full course?
  20. NoseyMatronType

    NoseyMatronType Lead commenter

    It's 'fared' and 'umbrage' post 35.
    Says a lot about the current quality of OCR examiners in my view. And good part c answers used to contain argument, justification and evaluation too.


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