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Strange results with AQA Lit B - LITB3

Discussion in 'English' started by rdeeney77, Aug 16, 2012.

  1. Hi,
    just looking for some (hopefully helpful) opinions regarding some weird results my centre had today, which, with all the best will and intentions in the world, I just can't make sense of.
    We've had a wonderful and very successful chort come through who have, by and large, done really well but the final exam (LITB3) resuts are completely and utterly out of step with everything else. For both AS units and the A2 coursework unit, they achieved very high A*/A and A*-C (around 85-95%), but the LITB3 marks are crazy - around 25% A*-C.A massive dip.
    Normally I would assume that something dramatic has happened here, and our fault, but it's across three sets, with no change in staff from previous year (and majority of them also taugh previous Y13s, with no problems) and no change in texts. We even liked the exam questions this year! We've never had results like this in this unit before.
    It seems an entirely anomalous set of results, with no obvious reason that we can fathom, and really makes you lose a bit of faith in the process, if truth be told. Hope someone can shed some light on this...
  2. sleepyhead

    sleepyhead New commenter

    We got some seemingly very low marks for this unit too, although I do think some of them are well deserved! Sorry not to be more help...
    ... now, if you can tell me why my nothing short of a genius student got a D in LITB1 whilst a very weak student got an A, I'd be pleased to know!
  3. No worries, and thanks for the response. We had pretty low Lang&Lit marks for ELLB3, but that was entirely expected, it the sheer amount of students who did badly in this exam which surprises me, given the consistency of other factors (teachers, texts, etc). The lack of range in the marks also suprises me: over 40 students and not one of these students achieved a grade B in this unit?
    As for the genius D student and very weak A grade - you've got me there, I'm afraid!
  4. We too had low marks - not wholly unexpoected though one "nailed on A/b got an E in the LitB3...

    It is odd. All I can say is that I marked exams this year and at times struggled to award high marksd to essays which were well written and long - full of detail - but which did not answer the question or which obsessed with Gothic/Pastoral in section A rather than focusing on the selected text. I'm not happy with our marks, but see little genuine grounds for appeal or grumbling.

    I was surprised by the Grade boundaries, however which seemed very wide for A and then remarkably small for B,C, D and so on...

    Sorry if this is no help!
  5. Not at all, that's very useful actually (especially your comment regarding students not answering the question). Your information regarding the grade boundaries possibly helps explain the lack of range, too.

  6. fishtail

    fishtail New commenter

    Both of these papers can be quite tricky, and I've come across centres where apparently odd results (especially in LITB1) are simply the result of students not completely understanding the specification's demands--so, for instance, a really good student might seek to compare texts in LITB1 when that is not something they will get credit for. This can be very annoyng, as high-ability students who know a lot about the texts can write very fluent essays and still not be answering the question properly or hitting the AOs in the right way, because they are not focusing on aspects of narrative, when less able students with a slightly more 'tick-box' approach outshine them. We have examiners for this spec. in the department,which really helps to clarify such issues. LITB3 is less of a minefield, but still can catch out students who don't focus on all the AOs (for instance write beautifully about language but don't investigate structure and form).
    Having said this, if you are experienced in the paper, and haven't had issues like this before, I can't recommend too highly that you get priority remarks for the students concerned (particularly for those who are at A2 where life choices may hang in the balance). If you think the whole A2 cohort is out of kilter, pick the most striking examples for your priority re-mark, and if enough are changed (I think 10% is the level) then this will trigger a whole-cohort re-mark at the board's expense. This is well worth doing if you are confident in your teachers and students--don't just leave it. I know one school which was unhappy and did nothing, and then found other local schools going up on re-mark, wanted to challenge their marks, but had left it too late.
    Re. AS--I have known serious issues with examining in this spec, where students have moved from a D to an A on re-mark, and in one example this was because the examiner had clearly not understood quite a subtle point about narrative voice made by the candidate concerned. They are not infallible! So I would certainly urge your 'genius' student to get a re-mark unless they know some reason why they did less well than expected. Ask carefully--I once found in similar circumstances a student had omitted a whole question which explained the apparent anomaly [​IMG]
  7. I utterly agree. Last year we appealed several papers and the shift up was shocking. we also had one go from E to C because of a "clerical error". I also suggest targeted remarking, as long as you remember that marks can go down as well as up!

    Look carefully at the boundaries both for the components and the overall grade.
  8. sleepyhead

    sleepyhead New commenter

    I've already sent for priority return of scripts for a couple of oddities and will ask for a remark if I think there is an issue. I've known too many genius students mess up A Level exams because they're too "out there" - once had a student with a C in Lit A2 who also got Distinction in the AEA!

    Overall, I think ours are probably about right, but I won't be questioning my dodgy A!
  9. Brilliant, that has been very useful! We are going down the priority remark avenue, but I didn't know about the 10% triggering a re-mark. As stated earlier, I'm fully confident in both the teachers and students, so this will definitely be the path we take.
    Thanks again!
  10. sleepyhead

    sleepyhead New commenter

    It's 10% or a specific number, depending on the size of the cohort. Make sure you check that, because I got caught out once.
    We had the 10% done in January for ENGB3. Cost us a fortune and got us nowhere despite that fact that
    Very depressing :-(
  11. Thanks, we'll be sure to carefully select those students we send for priority remarking. We will probably only select those who are already high up in the UMS boundary, and thus at less risk of being moved down an entire grade. We are thinking of requesting for around 6 to 8 to be remarked, do you think that this enough? 41 students sat the exam.
  12. It is some relief to hear similar stories to ours. We have the same problem with an entire class recieving Es and Us for unit3 when many were predicted As and Bs. Same teacher etc. We have gone for priority re-mark but we have students' University places hanging on this. Really cross!
  13. sleepyhead

    sleepyhead New commenter

    The regs say 10%, but that must be a minimum of 8 candidates. I've just checked here: http://web.aqa.org.uk/exams-office/about-results/exams-officers.php
  14. sleepyhead

    sleepyhead New commenter

    If you're asking for a remark, you don't actually need to say why. It's only when you get to the appeal stage that you do that, and you don't need to even then. I'm a bit of a veteran at this now :-(
  15. gruoch

    gruoch Established commenter

    I've not marked for a couple of years now, but often had the same problem. The other thing was often an inability to look at 'aspects' and talk exclusively about why a text fits a genre, rather than looking at why it doesn't.
  16. I have had a similar experience with exactly the same exam but with the LITB1 Aspects of Narrative paper when I was in Year 12 three years ago. My exam was marked as an 'E' but when most of the other students got out of shape results (many were A candidates and got a C, I was a C student and got the E) the centre took the decision to apply for a whole group re-mark after writing to the exam board. As far as I can remember the whole group's results went up - mine was eventually awarded a C on the re-mark. This is a rarity - exam boards very rarely increase marks and to do so for the whole group was admitting they got it wrong in the first place.

    It may be that something similar has happened with the LITB3 paper in this year's sitting. I would recommend that the school writes to AQA with their reservations and apply for a whole cohort re-mark.

    Hope this helps.
  17. I'm still trying to get over my results for LitB3. My A2 cohort this year was one of the most gifted I've ever taught and only 10% got more than a B on the paper. Students predicted an A got Es and, in one case, a U; many had top A grades in all the other units and then Ds and Es for LitB3 to the detriment of their university applications. This is the first year I've had problems with A2 but have found the marking of LitB1 so infuriatingly inconsistent that I switched to OCR so this is the last time the markers at AQA can ruin my summer. I feel so sad for my students who worked so hard and deserved good grades only to be frustrated by the people who marked their exam papers. I agree with you entirely that one loses faith in the process.
  18. Hi everyone
    We had problems last year with LITB1: AS results with students getting far lower grades than expected across two groups with different teachers. This year much better thank heavens!! We did make a big effort with exam practice and preparing students for 'difficult questions' and 'whatever they chuck at you' and that seemed to pay off.
    Some of our A2 students have retaken this module and, to be honest, the biggest issue seems to be not being able to write an essay under pressure. On a positive note they have learnt from their mistakes and done much better this time round.
    To be honest the marking seems to be a bit subjective . Some examiners seen to like your approach and others don't !
    Fingers crossed for gcses!!
  19. Hi all.

    I am stunned, really, I feel like I've been punched in the stomach and that's nothing to how lots of my students feel! I've got a couple of students who have been churning out A/* practice papers for the last 8 months - coursework all the same and in the exams they got Es!!! I just don't know what to say to them!

    I'm going to ask for re-marks, of course, but just can't even begin to understand what might have gone wrong. I've got a couple of genuine D/E level students too and they achieved as predicted but as for some of the others.....I just don't get it!
  20. ScienceGuy

    ScienceGuy Established commenter

    I would suggest looking at the Enhanced results analysis tool on E-AQA (see your exam's officer if you do not have a log in). My centre have also done very badly on this paper (only 5 students out of 21 achieving A-C grades) and it seems we are 14% below other centres. It does allow you to look at the individual questions and you may see some pattern or area of underachievement

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