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Reaction to Ofqual Report

Discussion in 'English' started by pippin35, Aug 31, 2012.

  1. veverett

    veverett Occasional commenter

    The question needs to be put to ofqual:
    When you say the "proper" grade boundaries were applied in June, do you mean...?
    a. You have looked at the quality of pupils' work and whether it met the criteria for the grades?
    b. You have looked at the statistical curve of how many got each grade and used this to fix the grade boundaries by "cohort referencing"?
    The suspicion is that the answer is b. But they need to answer the question.
  2. Re: Sares's post on page 5: "Prit **** TRIP TRAP"
    A perceptive post in that "trip trap" (an anagram of Prit ****) was the noise made on the bridge by the Three Billy Goats Gruff as they approached the TROLL.
    Like the villain in that story, maybe Prit **** leads a lonely, isolated, partner-free existence and looks to address this by deliberately trolling/trawling the internet to antagonise those he perceives to be vulnerable?
    Maybe he targets teachers as he was let down by the education system and blames all his inadequacies on this experience?
    Maybe things have really hit rock-bottom and he finds himself doing research for Daily M*il articles?
    This might be accurate or inaccurate (it could be just misguided, C-grade pop-psychology).
    Either way, we can choose to ignore him and his unfortunate, poorly-informed views or to feel great sympathy.
    Maybe his mean-spiritedness will lead to the sort of comeuppance experienced by that naughty old troll?
    Alternatively, perhaps his ignored voice (denied the oxygen of response) will disappear into the virtual ether, when, hopefully, he can begin to make some sort of social progress in the real world.
    Good luck Prit **** - all we teachers are rooting for you:>
  3. snail_friendly

    snail_friendly Occasional commenter

    We're with WJEC - be aware that the grade boundaries printed in the spec are 'notional' and the 48 RAW (which has always been a C) actually converted to a 46 UMS (a D) this means a number of our students were 1 mark away from the C we'd 'confidently' predicted them. In actual fact for students to hit a C grade they needed 50 RAW marks on the CA.
  4. Pages 10-12 make particularly interesting reading.
    Ofqual seem to be saying, in 2009, that a problem was likely and putting forward suggested solutions that they state could lead to complaints about a lack of transparency or fairness .... yet those solutions seem to have been applied here (albeit with smoke and mirrors)
  5. sleepyhead

    sleepyhead New commenter

    Yes. We have never known where the boundaries would fall; even the legacy spec referredto notional grades when it mentioned them at all.
  6. sleepyhead

    sleepyhead New commenter

    He's meant to be announcing something today. However, if he does change the GCSE, he'll probably announce it three days after they sit it, and make the changes retrospective [​IMG]
  7. gruoch

    gruoch Established commenter

    We were very specifically told by AQA that a C was 9 marks. This was by a person who came into school and checked our CA marking.
  8. vacherin

    vacherin New commenter

    We were told exactly the same thing!
  9. Yep. If too many students got high grades, meraning the boundary had to be shifted, then the exam was too eas. Exam board's fault. If the grades were raised in response to political pressure, then it's the exam board's fault too. If schools were told by the chief examiner (as we were) what the last grade boundaries were and that we could expect little or no change in June, then the exam board is at fault. Which is why, unless they do some pretty rapid damage control, I will be entering my students for iGCSE and giving up on the ageing hippies at AQA.
  10. Who knows what is correct - have they got better year on year?

    The reality is that exam boards have been free (read pressured) to tinker every year so that now we have little idea what the results actually mean. Some people quote evidence that undergraduates cannot do the things that students of previous decades could. Is this a function of universities lowering their acceptance grades or the grades being less meaningful?

    Ofqual are correct. To change again would be akin to admitting the whole system is a shambles and all the exam boards, the exams, Ofqual and the DFE should be replaced - and we know that will not happen.

    I have proposed a system that means an end to all this uncertainty, scrap the grades and give each student a mark based on how far away from that years median they are, I tried to explain it in more detail here:


  11. <font size="2">For what it is
    <font size="2">I was Grammar school educated.</font>
    <font size="2">My children went to a failing Secondary School.</font>
    <font size="2">The education my children have received is far more diverse and
    interesting than anything I ever encountered. My education consisted of read
    and remember full stop.</font>
    <font size="2">As far as English is concerned, yes I left school being able to
    write a formal letter (the rules of which are now obsolete) but thrashing about
    with sentence structures and re-writing mistakes over and over and over again
    was not the best way to keep a child interested.</font>
    <font size="2">Let us hope that this very convenient disaster which Gove claims
    backs up his 'bring back 'O' levels campaign' does not wrench the system back to
    the horrifying memories of trawling through the structures of the English
    language. Most of my cohort sat at the back of the class chatting, and they
    were supposed to be the more able children!</font>
    <font size="2">Both my children passed GCSE</font>
    <font size="2">One child passed with a C and would have undoubtedly failed an 'O'
    level. That child is now in a very good job where he is progressing leaps and
    bounds. (with the prospect of going to University if he wants to). Under 'O'
    levels he would be still re-taking his English.</font>

  12. lexus300

    lexus300 Star commenter

    Your last sentence defines the real problem with schools and compulsory education.

  13. I'm just glad that someone has finally had the courage to mark harder. Several of the students who do get Cs in English really aren't at the level, especially if they have taken a foundation paper. I've had students for initial assessment in a college, who have Cs, yet cannot pass a Level 1 Functional skills English paper because their spelling, grammar and punctuation is so poor.
  14. I assume that you'd hope that grade C students had scored more highly than grade D students on the same papers?
    Sadly that's the issue - it didn't happen this year.
    Some grade C students actually scored fewer marks (on the same tasks) but got higher grades!
    It's nothing to do with maintaining (or raising standards) - that's just a red herring - it's about fairness and equality between students who all did their GCSE English this summer (not even thinking about summer 2011 students).
  15. I have marked GCSE papers for nine years now, and I relcutantly have to say that, this years papers that I marked were some of the poorest I have seen. In my humble opinion it is about time we started be a lot more realistic and marked papers more harshly. Why should we (in any subject not just English) ignore spelling errors, lack of capital letters, lack of punctuation and............... the use of text language? I marked a lot of papers where kids had used text language. The language used is some of the papers I marked is not fit for any purpose yet alone the workplace. I totally agree that this was a bit of a mess up this year but maybe we should just set the grade boundaries and thats the place they stay year on year, why do we have to keep changing the boundaries? It would make a lot simpler for everybody.
  16. markuss

    markuss Occasional commenter

    I mark a Foundation Tier English Language GCSE paper (together with several other forms of assessment). In the Writing component, every error must be shown and spelling and punctuation are part of the band descriptors. So, errors are certainly not ignored - but of course it is a Writing assessment and not simply a spelling and punctuation test.
    We see hardly any "txt" spelling, the very occasional "u" for you and that's about all. (It may be that texting has resulted in the first person pronoun being written as "i" even more than it used to be, though.)
  17. sleepyhead

    sleepyhead New commenter

    I am surprised to see that Paulinemarina saw lots of text language; I don't think I saw any, and my colleague on F tier said that same.
    As you say, Markuss, we do mark for accuracy (certainly in the writing sections) and I strongly disagree that the standard was lower this year. If anything, I do think there is a slight upward trend, perhaps as teachers become more confident in telling students what the questions will be testing thanks to a standard format for the paper.
  18. Lickspittle
  19. The Ofqual report makes some startling points:
    1. It was two years after schools started to teach the new course before AQA were able to decide what a grade C looked like.
    2. Coursework boundaries were lowered because 'most' schools had marked too generously, albeit within tolerance. The changes were therefore the most unfair on the very schools (minority) which had most accurately follwed the mark scheme.
    3. There is no explanation for why the boundaries for an A* were moved in the opposite direction.
    4. When comparing differences between boards, they decided to base it on the number of complaints. A much better comparison would have been to look at the actual percentage changes in the boundaries between boards.
    5. There are many references to January 2012, but little acknowledgement that these boundaries were almost identical to those of June 2011. AQA got it 'wrong' twice.
    6. Blaming the whole problem on the modular nature of the exam is undermined by the acknowledgement that most schools entered all elements in June, and therefore the system was no different to that which had been operating successfully beforehand.
  20. vacherin

    vacherin New commenter

    Davebrigg, I think you point 6 is particularly relevant. The only reason for suggesting that the modular nature of the examination is to blame is because the government(AQA Ofqual) doesn't like such means of assessment. The point about being lenient but within tolerance could easily be solved. Let every CA be marked externally. Of course the awaring bodies won't want to pay for this, but it could lead to greater consistency and possibly accuracy.

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