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Teachers cheating in controlled assessments (in all the papers today)? Surely not!

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by spikedhair, Apr 2, 2012.

  1. It is very clear that widespread cheating is the norm in controlled
    assessments if the AQA ICT GCSE is anything to go by. For example, pupils are getting
    individual
    specific feedback to allow improvements without the teacher documenting
    it - specifically forbidden under JCQ rules - the teacher
    is not allowed to give credit for any specific advice they gave to the
    pupil, yet most do.





    The most common form of cheating however, is when a
    teacher gets a pupil to do a "practice" controlled assessment in class
    that is identical in name only to the actual one. For example, if the
    controlled assessment is about a birthday party, the teacher does a
    "similar" (i.e. identical) practice assessment about an aniversary party - all tasks are
    the same except that it is for an aniversary party not a birthday party.
    After each 'anniversary party task' is done, with unlimited teacher
    help, the birthday party task is done without the teacher - but it's just the
    same as the one they completed with the teacher! All pupils have to do
    is change a few words and they are done. This is blatent cheating yet is
    widespread - I know this from talking to teachers at exam board
    meetings and also what the exam boards themselves suggest. It also what happens at my school. AQA has been
    informed about this but have done nothing to stop it. I can see why - it's not in their interests to!





    Another form of
    cheating is getting pupils to all do the same controlled assessment
    task. Pupils have to be given a choice in one of their AQA GCSE ICT
    assessments. Yet invariably, many schools give pupils a choice in
    writing only, then tell pupils verbally that they must do a particular
    one - all 130 or so pupils at my school are doing the same "choice".
    If they did have a real choice, what are the odds of 130 pupils all picking the same choice? Teachers who do the above are cheating, should be struck off and the
    pupils should be penalised in their other GCSEs. Only when firm action
    is taken against teachers will the problem stop. I do have a small
    amount of sympathy with such teachers, however, because they are being
    bullied by
    Heads and parents, who think they are doing the best for the students
    without realising that they are potentially opening them up to a lot of
    trouble and having grades downgraded. Of course, it is in everyone's interests to not rock the boat,
    and that is why controlled assessment cheating has not being quickly
    and properly investigated at any time in the last 12 months by anyone.





    Does
    OFQUAL care? Have OFQUAL stepped in to stop immediately this practise?
    Have they been closely monitoring schools to see they are following the
    JCQ rules on controlled assessments and published how they have done this, or pressing Heads to see what
    in-school procedures are in place to stamp out cheating like the above,
    or pressing exam boards like AQA to be transparent about their efforts
    to stamp out this endemic cheating? I think you know the answer.
    OFQUAL
    are not fit
    for purpose.
     
  2. It is very clear that widespread cheating is the norm in controlled
    assessments if the AQA ICT GCSE is anything to go by. For example, pupils are getting
    individual
    specific feedback to allow improvements without the teacher documenting
    it - specifically forbidden under JCQ rules - the teacher
    is not allowed to give credit for any specific advice they gave to the
    pupil, yet most do.





    The most common form of cheating however, is when a
    teacher gets a pupil to do a "practice" controlled assessment in class
    that is identical in name only to the actual one. For example, if the
    controlled assessment is about a birthday party, the teacher does a
    "similar" (i.e. identical) practice assessment about an aniversary party - all tasks are
    the same except that it is for an aniversary party not a birthday party.
    After each 'anniversary party task' is done, with unlimited teacher
    help, the birthday party task is done without the teacher - but it's just the
    same as the one they completed with the teacher! All pupils have to do
    is change a few words and they are done. This is blatent cheating yet is
    widespread - I know this from talking to teachers at exam board
    meetings and also what the exam boards themselves suggest. It also what happens at my school. AQA has been
    informed about this but have done nothing to stop it. I can see why - it's not in their interests to!





    Another form of
    cheating is getting pupils to all do the same controlled assessment
    task. Pupils have to be given a choice in one of their AQA GCSE ICT
    assessments. Yet invariably, many schools give pupils a choice in
    writing only, then tell pupils verbally that they must do a particular
    one - all 130 or so pupils at my school are doing the same "choice".
    If they did have a real choice, what are the odds of 130 pupils all picking the same choice? Teachers who do the above are cheating, should be struck off and the
    pupils should be penalised in their other GCSEs. Only when firm action
    is taken against teachers will the problem stop. I do have a small
    amount of sympathy with such teachers, however, because they are being
    bullied by
    Heads and parents, who think they are doing the best for the students
    without realising that they are potentially opening them up to a lot of
    trouble and having grades downgraded. Of course, it is in everyone's interests to not rock the boat,
    and that is why controlled assessment cheating has not being quickly
    and properly investigated at any time in the last 12 months by anyone.





    Does
    OFQUAL care? Have OFQUAL stepped in to stop immediately this practise?
    Have they been closely monitoring schools to see they are following the
    JCQ rules on controlled assessments and published how they have done this, or pressing Heads to see what
    in-school procedures are in place to stamp out cheating like the above,
    or pressing exam boards like AQA to be transparent about their efforts
    to stamp out this endemic cheating? I think you know the answer.
    OFQUAL
    are not fit
    for purpose.
     
  3. Well, there is plenty of evidence in these threads. Given that teachers seem unable to do this A2 ICT assessments themselves, the chances of their pupils being able to do it are nil.
     
  4. Gaming target based systems is a well documented phenomenon. I wouldn't blame OFQUAL as they have as much to gain from better results as anyone. The only people to blame are the legislators who decided that a target based education system would be better for the country's children.
    Adam Curtis explains it far better than I could in this clip.
     
  5. I think it would be fair to say the whole education system is not fit for purpose, not just OFQUAL.
    This is no disrespect to the teaching profession, but the years of trying to sew patches over the holes has somewhat led to a situation, where if this was ship, it would have been called the Titanic.
    It explains why I get students with ICT GCSE at high grades, who then fall off the cliff when they get to do their BTEC.
    Also note I have been told off for assessing 'too hard', so I guess the targets just drive the system to achieve targets, not a viable outcome for society.
    it is expensive to police quality, so maybe quality is the primary victim is this cost driven educational system we have evolved over the last 20 to 25 years.
    With a bit of luck I'll have shuffled of my mortal coil, by the time the outcomes from building the Titanic come home to roost.

     
  6. Completely agree with the OP. We certainly get pupils to run through an identical controlled assessment (different in name only). Then pupils do the real one. We do it a task at a time. It is sooo boring and takes ages. We also give extensive verbal feedback, and we don't record it and we do credit improvements that pupils then make. Pupils hate this, but guess what, everyone gets really high marks and then the pupils are happy and parents are happy and the school is happy and the exam boards are happy and the teachers pass their performance review and the Head get a rise from the Governors and the Governors are happy at the league table position and the happy reports in the local newspapers and the community feels a warm glow inside, and everyone is at one with the world.
    Except the pupils can't think for themselves. They have trouble writing, and reading. They can't sort out their own computer problems. They don't know how to plan, don't know how to work together, don't know how to review or be self-critical. In short, they stay thick.
    Coursework, under whatever name you want to call it, has no place in ICT now. Only exams, or exams based on studying pre-release material will assess pupils properly. It is the only sure way of maintaining integrity.
    And by the way, this is yet another reason why ICT has become such a sh1te subject over the last decade.
     
  7. Although I'm currently stuck in the alps nursing sore thighs, it's still worth logging in to tell you, Mymouse, to **** off with this ridiculous sock thread.


    Get a life man.
     
  8. I feel sad for you, posting in your hols. Put work away for a bit. Relax. Unwind. You'll feel better for it, trust me. Some of us have a few more days to go.
     
  9. Controlled assessments are little more than a cheats charter. The work produced cannot be checked in a way that ensures any degree of integrity. All teachers know this so surprise surprise, under pressure frim everyone, they push the bounderies of what is acceptable. Over time, this has become out and out cheating, and at the same time, many teachers have convinced themselves that what they are doing is fine. They have sold their professionalism and integrity to the devil, have given up trying to push back against the pressure they are under and just accept that cheating is okay.
     
  10. I have to agree with you here; I've always felt that schools should be teaching 5 basic skills: reading, writing, speaking, listening & problem-solving (all of which can be covered in most subjects). I try to do this whenever possible, but because of the pressure to prepare them for exams - often referred to as 'death by worksheet/practice exams - I can't do as much about this as I'd like.

    When we were told that we were now to do 'controlled assessments' rather than 'coursework,' we were told that it was because coursework, with it's infinite writes & rewrites, was essentially the teachers' work rather than the students'. When AQA tells me I'm not to provide help or feedback, I don't. However, it's clear by what's been in the news lately that many teachers do. In turn, the pupils who have received guidance end up with the better marks & their teachers are lauded; teachers like myself, who follow the rules, are criticized and treated as less than adequate. Pupils (and parents) complain that we don't 'help' them (which is code for 'do their work for them'). We hold them accountable for their learning, and we are led to believe that this is a bad thing.

    Once they leave school and get into college or out into the real world, if they can't function, the schools take no responsibility. Their attitude is, 'We've gotten our percentage of A*s-Cs; we've moved up ___ places on the league table, and parents are happy.'
     
  11. dogpile

    dogpile New commenter

    Online exams! You are joking, aren't you? Don't you remember the KS3 SATS online tests? Would you rally want a return to these? When a computer passes the Turing Test I'll trust it to mark my kids work. I would prefer the AQA As approach were you bring in samples of your work and use these to explain and demonstrate what you've done in answers. That means a good range of activities is covered and allows for kids creativity to be on display. No online test will pick that up.
     
  12. Have yu ever seen the Edexcel GCE Applied ICT 6953 Modelling exam? It's not perfect, but I have to admit that I do like it. It does test the students and it allows them to come prepared but not to get the teacher to do it all for them. Something more like that (where the result is marked by an examiner rather than by a machine) would be perfectly fine at GCSE level IMHO. It would cost the exam boards a lot of money however!
     
  13. No, I'm not joking and I do remember the KS3 SATS-the most fair way of assessing students rather than someones opinion at the end of Year 9. I can see flaws in electronic testing, but I feel that the flaws of the current system are far worse. We do the Microsoft Certificate as an additional qualification and I respect the results of that far more than the coursework for GCSE or equivalant. The students have to learn and remember how to complete tasks and are tested on that, rather than follow instructions/templates and regurgitate steps etc. The online examination for AQA Computing COMP 1 is another good example of testing what students remember rather than what they can find and copy from Internet Research. And yes, I agree that the INFO 1 paper for AS ICT is better than completing a piece of coursework with no exam, but the questions asked do not test skills as such (Who is the client?, How would you evaluate this criteria? etc). In answer to your point regarding the Turing Test; when I can trust every ICT teacher in the country to carry out coursework fairly and mark it EXACTLY as another teacher would, then I will trust the current system.
     
  14. Moral dilemma for teachers. If I know the teacher in the school across town is being 'creative' in how they interpret the rules, I can either:
    a) Watch his kids get better grades than mine, and deal with the consequences.
    b) Be creative myself, knowing that my kids get better grades.
    c) Report him. However, despite what I have heard anecdotally, proving it will be nigh impossible.
    CCEA ICT suggested a way round this. I cannot tell little Johnny, in particular, how to do a mail-merge. However, I can:
    • Stop the clock
    • Say "Class, I wonder if I properly explained mail-merging?"
    • "Class, let me demonstrate HOW TO LINK WORD TO A QUERY IN ACCESS"
    • Demonstrate it.
    • Start the clock
    I have heard this endorsed at a CCEA agreement trial. We cannot guide our students through the task, but we can do a copycat task and CCEA say it is OK.
    In fact, CCEA have said the rule could be interpreted so I could spend a week teaching how to do Task 1 section A, then spend a week on that sub-task. Then I could spend a week on the hows and whys of Task 1 section B, and then spend a period doing it.
    If CA is to be done in roughly-exam conditions, then why is this a problem? If a maths teacher knows there will be a "find the hypoteneuse" question on the exam, he will do a hundred examples in class. Indeed, do the past three years' past papers from any board in ICT and you'll be well prepared. What is the difference?

    I have open-choice in some CA/coursework tasks, yet massive similarities occur. The boards call it "Centre effect". Teachers emphasise packages they are confident in, show off past years' examplar work that suits their model, and more of the same arises.
    Yes, they are cheating. However, for some teachers the problem is their being honest and to-the-book, would lead to their very smart kids would dropping marks in relation to other schools, where cheating is standard practice. Maybe some teachers cheat, a little, so that their kids are not cheated, a lot?
    Pupils have been taught by politicians and John Terry that cheating is ok and that whatever is good for you is right and proper. Why punish them for the failings of society? Tony Blair started a war, based on lies, and "took full responsibility"by doing nothing. Until corrupt leaders are seen to resign, hammering kids who know no better will have no effect.
    This is true. I have seen very dodgy things go on in other schools, with no consequence. It tempts me to pull a few "fast ones", because I know I could get away with it.
    But I was brought up to tell the truth.
    The only solution is to replace CA with fully exam-condition tasks. Everyone, in every school, does it on the same day.
     
  15. DEmsley

    DEmsley New commenter

    Don't you wear all the sodding snow out - I don't fly out until Saturday! [​IMG]
     
  16. Well, it's blatant cheating. It is knowing the whole question in advance, and practicing the whole activity, which they memorise and copy. They cannot do the skill required of them. Would you like a Doctor who had passed their medical exams in this manner ?
    Past papers ; you do not normally know what question is on there and it is practice for answering questions.
    It is rather like the MFL spoken test where Q&As are memorised. If you are learning French, supposedly, you might as well do the Q&A in Flemish or Greek, it's still a memory test.
    Don't see the problem with this ; I did it in Physics and Chemistry. Of course, you would have to reduce the difficulty of the test spectacularly.
     
  17. I agree, it is blatant. And plenty of subjects do it. My colleagues in RE and History (for example) routinely tell students to learn 6-8 set essays, knowing a selection will be on the paper.
    No, I would not want to have a doctor who had come through such a system anywhere near me.
    It's teaching to the test, it's built into the system and it is very bad for education. However, if I do not do it my kids fail and I am the one who gets blamed. Catch 22.
     
  18. And that is a big part of the issue. We either assess with a coursework task over an extended period with a significant amount of challenge and plenty of support, or we have a timed exam with no direct support, but also with less challenge. I don't think coursework is a terrible solution as it does allow those who are talented to do well, and those who work hard to do well, and those who are talented AND work hard to do VERY well. All of which seems fair to me. Fairer than having someone who WOULD have been an A* student, who could easily go on to get an A at A-Level floundering with a C because I can stand over her shoulder and see the hoops she isn't quite jumping through, but I'm pretty much powerless to correct her.
     
  19. dogpile

    dogpile New commenter

    But it wasn't fair. It didn't work! I met the developers who walked off the project even before it was launched because they couldn't assess reliably above L5. It actually marked you down if you made a mistake and corrected it! Because it was coded, it was only as good as the coders. It couldn't cover creative answers so it would have forced teaching down a narrow prescriptive dead end. It wasn't cancelled because it worked.
     
  20. Oh, I do understand that. It wasn't meant to be critical.
    I just found it sad that it was so ridiculous - but it's not your fault. Very few teachers can refuse to do it.
     

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