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opinion sought on OCR Nationals

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by nc55, Dec 1, 2009.

  1. I know a lot's already been discussed about KS4 courses, so I'm sorry for bringing it up again, but: for past 3 years we've been offering DiDA for pupils with double timetable space (generally less academic not doing a language or double science) and Edexcel GCSE for more academic with less timetable space. As Edexcel GCSE is changing anyway I thought it might be a good time to switch to just offering OCR Nationals - and we could then tailor amount of units covered to how much timetable the different cohorts have available. I've no knowledge of OCR Nationals so I'm just about to start looking at specs, but any thoughts would be very gratefully recieved, or perhaps somebody could be kind enough to direct me to any relevant existing threads?
  2. Go to teach-ict.com and have a look at the resources. For example, take a look at what you need to do for unit 23 on editing a video. What you will notice (if this is an accurate and representative scheme of work) is how incredibly easy it is, and the lack of any stretch and challenge in the unit. This is a shocking "qualification". The units are superb for years 6, 7 and possibly 8. League tables and Head pressure are the only reason you would do it in any other year. You certainly wouldn't teach it if teaching was your aim. On the other hand, I can see if you teach older mild special needs students, it could be quite good.
  3. According to my brother-in-law's grandmother's neighbour's friend's hairdresser they have already been passed through and they are too busy celebrating to make the announcement.
  4. I phoned OCR today 2nd December to ask about the future of Nationals. No one could help me establish what the situaition is regarding OCR nationals in ICT. Reading between the lines - if the rewrite had been passed I feel sure they would be shouting from the rooftops. They remain tight lipped !
  5. Khashoggi

    Khashoggi New commenter

    This is the first time I have posted on this subject, so apologies for the length, but here goes.
    Over the last 8 years or so, at KS4 our school has gone from offering OCR Short Course to GNVQ Part 1 to AQA Applied to OCR Full course with a splattering of Dida and have finally come to rest with the OCR National (2 GCSE version). All students have to study a qualification at KS4 and this was the main reason why I chose the OCR National as I feel it is the best fit to meet the needs of the majority of my students, the way in which it is delivered in the curriculum and the expertise of my staff. If I was offering ICT as an option only, I would probably go for a traditional GCSE as this would best fit their needs and my situation.
    Since teaching the OCR National, I have seen a marked improvement in student enthusiasm and application. I have seen a better completion rate of coursework compared to the GCSE - not because the GCSE is easier, but because the way in which it motivates the students.
    With the old OCR GCSE coursework (spec A), the cwk mark scheme did not award what the students could do, but more than often penalised them for what they had missed out. You could have a great looking project, but if you missed out your non-ict sources, or hadn't got some text images and numbers from them it was worth peanuts. It was very hard to give them definite feedback on what grade their work was worth. With the OCR National they know exactly what they have to do to achieve the grade that they aspire to. Ok, they have to have met every single pass criteria, but they know this and they make sure they do it. They come to you to have their work marked off, rather than you having to chase them which used to be the case with the GCSE as they would spend hours refining thier work on an aspect that would give them no extra marks.
    The CBI have been harping on for years now that students are not leaving education with the business skills needed. Skills is exactly what the OCR National delivers. When I go out on work experience visits, I often speak to delighted employers who have been shown by our students how to set up databases or spreadsheets or mail merge templates for them and not how they could explain the uses and applications of sense & control.
    If I had to say which course was the best that I have taught at level 2, I would go with the GNVQ Part 1. That had the best balance of both coursework and exam. The National would probably benefit from looking at that format.
    I am not saying the Nationals are perfect. I agree that it does not necessarily stretch the most able (even though a Distinction level portfolio would hit a lot of AS Level cwk criteria in terms of complexity), but are there many GCSE's that do? I teach GCSE & A Level Chemistry as well and I will stretch my GCSE chemists by giving them AS problems. I don't complain that the GCSE is too easy for them.
    I would be happy for the Nationals to be changed to include extension work and even include some external testing as with the old GNVQ. My biggest issue (and the main underlying issue with this qualification, Dida and the GNVQ's before them in my opinion) is the number of GCSE's that it is worth. No course should need to be worth more than 2 GCSE's. If students were unable to get their % A* to C with an ICT course + 1 other, a lot of the cynicism would go. We all know that many schools use this as a 5 A*-C and league table booster and it is this that undermines these qualifications more than the course structure or content itself.
    Overall it is all about personal choice, but as long as that is a choice based on what's best for the students and not for the teacher, school or league tables then that is what matters.

    Here endeth the lesson[​IMG]

  6. I have to agree with Khashoggi, but in less words!
    At my school we have changed from GNVQ to CiDA and happily landed on OCR Nationals. We also do 2 GCSE option for the whole year group.
    We tried CiDA but found that our G&T pupils were underachieving - no A*s at all which is unfair on them, especially the ones that got 12 A* in all the other subjects.
    Now the top sets all get Distinctions and we use extension work to really push them. We are also thinking about starting AS with them if we finish earlier than May.
    OCR Nationals are however, IMHO, even better for low ability kids. The weaker students enjoy the course and are able to access it - something that the SPB never let them do!
    Lots of people on here bang on about how they are too easy etc etc but they are what you make them at the end of the day. If you try to do 4 GCSEs in the time of 1 or 2 then you WILL be spoonfeeding them but with the 2 GCSE option I find we have time to really explore new skills and ideas.
    And most of all, the kids LOVE it! (and the teachers find it easier to mark than DiDA too)
  7. [​IMG]
    Oh well said, Violet.
    That's about as much respect as the tedious idiot Mymouse deserves.
    Anyway, if it was Mymouse it would say 'According to my brother-in-law's grandmother's neighbour's friend's hairdresser - all of whom are me'
  8. We've just switched from DiDA to OCR, and we're finding it lovely.

    I don't think the content, if you teach it properly is any less challenging, just the assessment model makes it easier for the kids to show what they have done and easier for my dept to assess.

    All quals have to go through re-accreditation, OCR Nationals are no different. I think some people on this forum like to peddle doom and gloom. Everything thats ever been posted in relation to reaccreditation has been based on hearsay and speculation. I shall be continuing as I am, until I hear the official line! No point panicking and throwing the baby out with the bath water.

    Incidentally, I have found OCR to be very helpful whenever I have contacted them about anything to do with this qualification. I suspect the reason no one can/will give an answer regarding reaccreditation is because QCA haven't decided. I seem to remember being told at a standardisation course that nothing will be decided till January anyway.

  9. This is the issue
    "<u>We all know that many schools use this as a 5 A*-C and league table booster and it is this that undermines these qualifications more than the course structure or content itself.</u>
    <u>Overall it is all about personal choice, but as long as that is a choice based on what's best for the students and not for the teacher, school or league tables then that is what matters."</u>

    I am sorry but this is the reason why I have had to endure terrible pressure to do these courses. None of the Local Colleges accept them so I have fought my corner to stick with GCSE. The Headteachers views have been based on League Tables and not the interest of the Children.
  10. The problem lies in the phrase 'The OCR National worth 2 GCSE's'

    It isn't. Not in the amount of work required, or the skills & knowledge gained. I've seen it from the high school side of the fence and now I see it from the FE side. Students who do an OCR National are, in general, not adequately prepared to study ICT or Computing at a higher level.

    Just my 2 pence worth
  11. colwynexile

    colwynexile Occasional commenter

    JB, it seems MuckyD is back on form as they're posting on the future of ICT as well in the same vacuous fashion.
    Oh by the way, we're only assuming he's talking about the OCR Nats in ICT, he hasn't made that fact clear. Again he/she/both (think of the transgender - they're people too) could be guilty of mis-information in the fashion of mis-quoting OfQual releases, etc.
    Welcome home mymouse, we've missed you.
  12. cj3


    I have taught GCSE ICT and OCR Nats - they do different things. OCR is skills based. Some of the options are creative and interesting for pupils (animation, graphics etc), but the assessment criteria are laughably easy to meet - and I have seen really shabby worked passed at a Distinction level, because 'it meets the criteria'. I would also say it is a nightmare to mark - loads of paper, loads of mini sub tasks - 100% coursework which means the teacher does all the work. If its an option and youi only have one set, it is fine - but if you deliver it to the whole year group in Years 10 and 11 - it is a nightmare of a mark load....
  13. djphillips1408

    djphillips1408 New commenter

    Must admit I have never found that, kids hand in a folder say unit 1 and it takes about 10 mins to mark it IME. As this takes around 15 weeks to complete then it's not much compared to the average humanties teacher. Unit 21 can be marked in a couple of minutes too.
  14. The fact the the teacher does all (most) of the work makes it very easy. The students who do badly are the lazy ones who just don't do the copying and pasting required, but even that is dealt with by a little teacher creativity.
  15. Hello, trained and co assessed OCR ICT nationals. Personally anyone who completes a qualification and marks and assesses one with real core creativity should be honoured in the queens list. As shoehorning an original idea into a collection of cut/copy and past task takes some thinking. As the teacher is usually forced to teach this by numbers anyway.

    Oh, just one more thing... I'm also transgender and was proud to openly represent this section of the LGBT community in a professional capacity even if not with OCR anymore. More should be teaching and supporting in schools and colleges.


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