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OCR difficulty marks

Discussion in 'Music' started by floyd1985, Apr 18, 2012.

  1. Hi
    I'm just marking some year 10 solo performances but struggling a little bit to give them a mark out of 6 for the difficulty of each piece.
    It's my first year with OCR so any help would be massively appreciated.
    The pieces that some of them have done are things like: Valerie - Amy Whinehouse (voice), Skyscraper (voice) Your Song - Ellie Goulding (Voice)
    I Giorni (piano) A Thousand Miles - Vanessa Carlton (piano)
    Thanks [​IMG]
     
  2. Hi
    I'm just marking some year 10 solo performances but struggling a little bit to give them a mark out of 6 for the difficulty of each piece.
    It's my first year with OCR so any help would be massively appreciated.
    The pieces that some of them have done are things like: Valerie - Amy Whinehouse (voice), Skyscraper (voice) Your Song - Ellie Goulding (Voice)
    I Giorni (piano) A Thousand Miles - Vanessa Carlton (piano)
    Thanks [​IMG]
     
  3. Has this been confirmed by OCR because they were unbelievably vague when I asked about it? The examiners report is equally vague apart from saying too many students are awarded a 6 for difficulty when it should be a 5. I'm concerned now because quite a few of my students exceed Grade 3/4 and we have awarded very few marks of 6 for difficulty. This woolly system of awarding difficulty marks is very unhelpful!
     
  4. muso2

    muso2 Occasional commenter Community helper

    My understanding is that you should still think of it as a mark out of 5 as it used to be, and only give 6 if it's well above what you'd expect at GCSE standard.
    OCR won't talk about instrumental grades officially, but I've always put grade 4 standard pieces at 4/5 marks and grade 5 at 5/6 marks, depending on how difficult it is within that.
    So I'd agree 'I Giorni' 6 marks, 'A thousand miles' 6 marks if played as the original or 5 if simplified or shortened.
    Vocal pieces - consider the range, how much breath control and phrasing is needed, are there key changes, contrasts of mood and style within the song, contrasting dynamics, complex rhythms, etc.
    Last year I had two girls performing 'Ain't no mountain high enough' - I gave them different difficulty marks because one cut out the contrasting rhythm section and didn't have anywhere near the same breath control. Similarly, ridiculously simplified 'Fur Elise' I'd give 2 marks, slightly simplified version I'd give 3, but the whole piece I'd give 6. There are some really simply folk songs in the grade 8 singing syllabus, but they'd still get full marks because to perform them properly you have to have really advanced vocal technique.
    I'd also always put reasons I'd awarded that mark on the grading sheet that goes to the moderator. If it is a graded piece I'd write that in too. If they're trying to decide whether they should put your marks down, then justifying your marks might stop them!


     
  5. Let's hope OCR read this thread then!
     
  6. Red wine fan

    Red wine fan New commenter

    I was hoping that trelassick would answer this one, so apologies if I don't give all the facts perfectly.
    Having had unit 1 re-marked last year, the report came back to say that 6 should only be reserved for exceptional performances. We had a grade 7 flautist perform Faure's Sicilienne and that was deemed to be worth 6 for difficulty. OCR don't want to be drawn on equating their difficulty levels at GCSE to grade exams, so you have to stick really closely to the guidance in the specification. Grade 3/4 is definitely NOT worth a difficulty mark of 6, or possibly even 5 because the technical requirements are not there.
    The advice we received and reiterate to our students is that it is better to play a simple piece really well, paying attention to dynamics and phrasing than to mess up a harder piece. As an example, a more straightforward piece for some of ours could easily achieve 11+11+4 or 26 marks. Something tricker but messed up might indeed get 6 for difficulty but if you then drop into the 6-8 mark bands for the performance & communication elements, you award say 8+8+6, a total of 22. It's a no-brainer as far as we are concerned, but it is quite different from the old scheme, and more to get your head around.
     
  7. I don’t find the new markscheme particularly difficult to get my head round. The debate was about how to award the difficulty mark and the specification is very unclear in this regard as can be seen from the three completely different interpretations given so far. I find it strange that OCR state clearly in the A level spec that in order to achieve the higher markbands AS performance pieces need to show technical challenge and musical understanding comparable to Grade 4/5 at AS level and Grade 6 at A2. They are so vague about what constitutes the higher mark band at GCSE and that is why we have seen that it is awarded anywhere between Grade 3 and Grade 7 according to these posts. I'll just continue as I have, no-one has complained so far!

     
  8. thanks all [​IMG] really great to have some feeback on this especially being on my lonesome... this has made me feel alot better about my thinkings!!!!
    however.... I'LL BE BACK... just for advice and stuff [​IMG]
    thanks again
    x
     

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