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The End The Road

Discussion in 'Drama and performing arts' started by Redwing, Aug 24, 2012.

  1. Us too. I think Edexcel will find there is about to be an exodus. I am reading about several disgruntled AQA users too. They look like the lesser of 2 evils. How bad/long is the AQA written exam- ie how long do they get and what are the questions? Thanks.
  2. The report says our marking was in line with national standards...so then Edexcel brings all of our marks down.
    In my personal view Edexcel is absolute rubbish, no more business from me...I hope they go bust. And what about the visiting practical examiners huh? Are they useless failures of Drama teachers who become examiners because they get out of doing their own teaching job back in their own schools, love being crawled around and honoured when they turn up, and are desperate for the extra money? These people have the power to ruin the lives of students and teachers, and the status of drama on the curriculum
  3. resources4drama

    resources4drama New commenter

    No, not generally.
    How so?
    Once you've calmed down and stopped being gratuitously offensive - it's okay, I'm thick-skinned - I take it you are not happy with your Unit 3 marks. Which may not be the actual marks that the Unit 3 examiner gave you if they were changed further up the chain. You will only know if you ask for the comments sheets to be returned, which will contain the original marks - and the justifying comments.
    (Oh, and money-wise, as I don't have "another job", it's less than minimum wage).

  4. Oh my....I don't normally join in or snipe back but in response to 'philosophical' the comments about visiting examiners is so very harsh and a bitter response to results. My husband both examines and team leads and leads a department full time and is an excellent teacher....neither failing nor desperate for money. The time it takes and the time he spends at home working isn't really worth it but he does it none the less. Examiners and moderators of all specs, written and practical, go through very strict marking and if marking is not right during the process have to repeat and remark....it's standardisation. Ruining of teachers and students loves comments is so not fair....they are human to doing a job...a very hard one
  5. Very harsh 'philosophical'! I hope this is just a reaction to some harsh marking this year.
    I have 'two' jobs and I can tell you it is a lot of work and it is NOT for the money. I do it to inform my teaching and it has helped me get to grips with the Units I examine. In fact, if time allowed it I would examine /moderator more - it is the best inset training ever - but I have a family and I do need some balance [​IMG]
    A level examining is always at night so does not take me out of school. GCSE is planned around MY groups and if I can't do that, I let another examiner do it. I try to do my own groups early which allows me time then to do my examining later. It just involves being organised.
    I actually think that teacher examiners are a good thing... we remember that the pupils are only 15 or 16!!! We know how scary the experience is and try to be positive and encouraging (though professional of course!)
    I too have had some really harsh examiners in the past but I wouldn't tar everyone with the same brush.
  6. I disagree with the comments about visiting examiners written above. They are not latter day Mother Theresa's they are paid money, get out of their day jobs to make poor and subjective judgements regarding students. They are inconsistent year by year, hugely arrogant about their righteousness, skewed by whichever aspect of Drama they think is worthwhile, and don't seem to realise the impact of their decisions. If those of you who are visiting Edexcel practical examiners are suffering so much, then don't do it.
    It is clear reading this forum year on year that many Drama teachers are turning away from the appalling exam board in Drama that is Edexcel, and it seems to me that the reaction to my post is motivated by fear that the gravy in the gravy train is being reduced for those who work for Edexcel.
    How can these wonderful examiners in their written feedback say that we mark accurately according to their (mysterious) national standards and then cut all of those internal marks across the board? Could it be a ruse to get you to spend a fortune on appeals to make even more profit...I think it is, anyway my limited experience is that appeals very very rarely get allowed because Edexcel have to be seen to back up their appalling examiners, and shore up their useless Drama exams.
    Drama on the curriculum is under enough threat, but the inconsistent, subjective, arrogant, self important attitude of those who do their donkey work for them is going to be the final nail in the coffin for the subject.
  7. You may plan your daytime examining around your exam groups, but what about the other year groups you teach?
    The word 'professional' is meaningless in this context, and I suspect you only throw it in to add gravitas to your position.
    If you like it so much, and you glean ideas for your own teaching, why don't you do it for free?
  8. Otleyblackcat

    Otleyblackcat New commenter

    I too feel rather let down by EDEXCEL. We had 120 students go through this year and every pupil was marked down by two whole grades. I am so upset that I am forced to face parents who have children achieving A grades in every other subject and have only gained a D grade for Drama. I followed the specification to the letter and even attended a training course on standardising work hosted by EDEXCEL.
    I am going into work today to get the moderator feedback report but to be honest, what difference does it make? It seems you follow the criteria and still you fail. I really believe that this year it is all political!
  9. corblimeyguvnor

    corblimeyguvnor New commenter

    I fundamentally disagree with what you are saying about what motivates examiners. I am an Edexcel Examiner and do it for several reasons. Yes money is a factor and I would not do it for free, but the money paid is minimal, so in the main I do it because I like seeing the achievement of students in a range of settings. It is one of the highlights of my teaching year. I also learn an awful lot from it.
    I pride myself on trying to put students at ease and marking positively and accurately. I try hard to put aside personal judgements and see through the piece itself to the actual performances of individual students. I organise my examining so that it never affects my own teaching and I work it around my exisiting classes (which usually means less time with my family).
    However - (and this is where I may get shot down) I do not believe that training for visiting examiners is good enough. The training day always results in inter-team debates (arguments) about the standard and although examiners give in their marks (for video recordings shown) no one on my team is ever fully in line with the marks then given to us (the 'real' marks). Sometimes people are out by one or two, other times by a whole band. Often depending on the pieces, I have marked to generously for one piece and then too harshly for another etc. Or too harshly for one student in a group and too generously for another. This is after 7 years examining.
    It is then our 'job' to adjust our marking to be in line with what we have seen on the training day. It is expected that from watching 4 films and being told what marks they "should" get, we will go away autmatically being able to mark at the same level/standard.
    Comments i have heard (from other examiners) on the training days:
    "Well I just fundamentally disagree with the standard - I'm just a harsh marker"
    "I am very generous obviously"
    "I hate devised work" etc.
    "Well they say she is a 72, but I would still mark her 56"
    Do I think that all of the 270 examiners then go away fro this training and adjust their marking perfectly to suit the assumed standard? No.
    Do I think all of their mistakes will be picked up further up the line? No.
    Do kids inevitably suffer from unjust marks? Yes
    Are apeals/re-marks a MASSIVE money spinner? Definitely - and I do agree that marks are rarely altered - again down to the fact that a video can NEVER capture the live event, which is why we have VEs inthe first place - so it is a viscious circle of error.
    Yes they (we) get accompanied by a Team Leader for one (or two) visits per session, but what if the TL's opinion is subjective? And what happens when they are not accompanied? My first year had 10 centres and was accompanied for 2. I sent 2 more off. All my marking was agreed, but what if I had marked harshly on the other 6 centres? Would they have been successful in an appeal? Unlikely.
    I would be willing to lay my own life on the fact that if you put the same cohort in from of four examiners there is no way that the marks would be identical at the end of it all. And in this exam even a difference of being all 5s or all 6s - in the same good band, is the difference between a C and a D. Even one mark in one of the four criteria could be a grade difference.
    The truth is that drama is subjective and that the criteria and scheme are vague. I have said it before but what is the difference between a good (5) and a good (6)? These are value judgements, whether Edexcel accept that or not. In any other subject there is a right, or a wrong, or in more creative subjects (such as English) there is a detailed 'tick-box' type Marking scheme so that the standard is open, known and easier to apply. Having almost identical criteria which only change in terms of limited, adequate, good, excellent, outstanding is horrific. Where does anything in life go from being very good to being excellent? And why should any student who is deemed as 'good' be coming out with a D?
    As I say, you are wrong about your personal assumptions regarding examiners. I believe there are some examiners who have been told to do it by their school (my school has a policy that one member from each department should examine) but most do it for 'love'. The pay is (as someone has said) well below minimum wage when you take into account the write-up, packaging, contact time etc.
    However, I have met many examiners I would not want marking my kids. I stand by the fact that examiner training is not consistent or detailed. I fully believe that subjectivity is a massive issue which can only be solved with more than one examiner at each school.
  10. I taught Edexcel in my previous school and now teach AQA, I have to say when I moved schools I fully intended to change to Edexcel and stick to what I know, however I have to say I have been converted. Before I moved Edexcel had brought in the controlled conditions for coursework which pretty much turned it into an extremely long exam in my opinion. Also the amount of paperwork required by Edexcel is astounding in comparison to AQA. I like the fact that the practical work is internally marked with an external moderator who watches one piece and discusses the marks with you, this means that by the time the students sit their exam you know exactly where they are up to with their practical mark. I would agree with others that the exam is difficult for the students and time consuming to prepare them for but if you are realistic when you mark their mocks you can get a pretty good idea of the level they are working at. The majority of my group did pretty poorly on their written exam which is disappointing but not unexpected based on the group, I will continue to strive to find better ways of preparing for the exam.
    I made practical predictions based on my knowledge of the pupils practical marks and the written work I had seen from them and as a result only one of my pupils received one grade lower than predicted, three went higher than predicted and as a group they received 90% A*-C and 100% A*-E.
    I would recommend AQA.
    Hope this helps
  11. 'You may plan your daytime examining around your exam groups, but what about the other year groups you teach?The word 'professional' is meaningless in this context, and I suspect you only throw it in to add gravitas to your position.If you like it so much, and you glean ideas for your own teaching, why don't you do it for free?'
    This comment is rather personal, although I am glad you are concerned about the teaching groups I missed on my 3 days out of school last year- one which involved no cover and one which was a training day! If there was no paperwork for Unit 3/ Unit 2 at AS I probably would do if for free (if they paid my travel) as the experience of visiting schools and watching their work is enjoyable.
    I threw the word 'professional' in because even though I am pleasant to the staff and pupils and hopefully put them at their ease there are certain things we can't say due to our role as examiner.
    I thought your previous generic comment was abit harsh but this is just directed at me which seems rather unfair as you know nothing about me. I still think teacher/examiners are a good thing but if you disagree- fine- there is no need to be so offensive about it, afterall I teach it as well as examine and have my fair share of problems in my time. I have both supported others on this forum and had great support back - this is what I thought the Drama board was about - not getting personal or nasty.
  12. I know nothing at all about you beyond what you write. I have posted whole schemes of work on this forum which others have grabbed and used (or rejected) in the past, I have supported other Drama teachers frequently...mind you after 36 years as a full on Drama teacher in secondary schools what do I know anyway? If you think I am being personal well I am sorry, but for the last several years I have felt nothing but utter contempt towards the visiting examiners I have met, but the smile has to remain on the face of the crocodile in order that they don't put the boot in even more violently.
    The gay abandon with which they award marks is shameful because they can walk away and never face the damage they inflict due to the subjectivity and inconsistency of their marking. If the training is unsatisfactory then the examining should simply not happen (ah but there is the money, or the 'enjoyment' to consider isn't there?), if your training is inadequate then deal with Edexcel and not take it out on the schools you visit (I don't mean you, but all of those who work for the private commercial business that is Edexcel). Any training courses I have attended organised by Edexcel have invariably dissolved into off topic talking shops with 'questions', and never been illuminating or helpful.
    I hope the business of Edexcel fails, this will only happen if enough of us say that indeed the Emperor really has no clothes, or move to WJEC or somewhere else. I am convinced that those who promote and excuse the awful damaging practice of Edexcel as a Drama examining body do so out of self interest and don't give a fig about educational Drama.
    I refer you to the long post above from a another visiting Drama practical examiner who discusses training and the like.
  13. My unit one marks were reported as being thorough and in line with the national standards, yet still moved down...can you explain that? I have long given up regarding Unit 3, and also Unit 2 AS Edexcel.
    My answer this time is to move Exam boards...and I hope and pray that Edexcel goes into receivership and gets closed down...the whole kit and caboodle!
  14. Poor you, I really feel for you. Your situation sounds terrible. I remember suffering monumental pressure from Head teacher, parents and furious students when they didn't achieve their target grades and no one got an A*. Although I did get 100 % A_C . I almost gave up teaching drama altogether. Instead I found a less pressurising school and made sure to enjoy the lessons, not stress about the written exam,change back to AQA, predict grades on the low side just in case and always put on an absolutely fantastic whole school production. That way everyone still loves drama ! For all those who were let down by their results, try not to let it dent your self confidence , perhaps a change to AQA would be a good idea ,just don't expect high grades out of the written paper and try to enjoy the rest of it.
  15. I agree that some of those comments are far too personal and unfair.

    I understand being upset. Last year my AS level Unit 2 got me to the point that I was questioning whether I should give up teaching - despite superb GCSE results and being told that Units 1 and 3 were assessed correctly at A level (confirming that my judgement isn't completely rubbish!!), and despite the high regard that I know my school hold me in. I was devastated that it had happened for a second year running and had no confidence in my abilities anymore. I had immense support from some posters on here, including resources4drama. I completely get how frustrating and upsetting it is and I agree that there are issues at Edexcel.

    I believe that the GCSE has been extremely poorly delivered. I believe that there is confusion about Units 1 and 2 from the highest level - I believe this having been on two contradictory courses led by two chief examiners of GCSE drama - and from moderators and from teachers. This is wrong. I know that there are rogue examiners - I've definitely met them! But that makes me very angry at *those* examiners - I know I can't tar all examiners with the same brush as I've also had very fair ones and, to be honest, generous ones. (This year's GCSE examiner for Unit 3 was *way* more generous at the bottom end that I'd have been.)

    I do think that on this forum it sometimes gets a bit black and white. Sometimes there's a bit of a feeling that the examiners and moderators *must* be right and, if there's an issue, the *teacher* must not have understood the spec or must have done something wrong. Conversely there's the attitude that they're all incompetent and out to get us. Neither of these points is really fair.

    Any massive organisation like Edexcel will have weak links. I believe that they work hard and want to get it right and I believe that at times, they get it wrong - be this as a team (eg. the GCSE roll-out) or as individuals (eg. examiners and moderators). I am as guilty as anyone for getting cross about this! And we should be cross when it happens. It's not good enough if you are unlucky enough to come across a poor examiner/moderator and Edexcel need to continue their process of weeding out examiners/moderators who are not good enough. But this absolutely doesn't mean that all of the examiners and moderators are useless!

    This forum has been a massive source of support and help to me over the years, especially in the early days when I was an NQT in a one person dept delivering GCSE and A level. We need to try and keep this a place where can be supportive of each other and try to help - not a place where we attack each other.
  16. YES! Agree with this absolutely completely!
  17. What might be useful now is for those moderators / examiners on line to maybe give advice about how to succeed in an appeal. Also those with experience of success might share their experience please.

    I don't think spitting blood and venom through the forum will help those of us desperate to win an appeal. For me it will be an EAR3 for Units 1and 2 this could could cost around £220.

    Like a previous post, I have generally positive comments from the mod.- so who scaled the marks? Any body know?
    Are we allowed to write a supporting statement? Can we highlight good practise on the DVD?

    Please advise; and yes crunchynut, we need to help each other even though it is mighty frustrating and hard on the youngsters.

    NB My leadership feels that the Arts subjects are better with BTEC where you can virtually guarantee a C equivalent through their courses without going through all this GCSE circus. They may be right.!!
  18. When other Drama teachers...Drama Teachers!...swagger into my school and put the boot into my work and my students, is that not an attack? Even worse when compounded by the notion that they themselves are unsure of what is what, and even in their own training they have disagreed and it seems made scant effort to overcome that disagreement!
    I am sorry, but in my view loads of visiting examiners in Drama are useless work-shy teachers earning an easy buck and doing down the work of mainstream teachers in the process. If they are so noble then sort out with Edexcel first how they're supposed to mark stuff...and if it doesn't happen in time, then down tools! After all we're repeatedly told they will down tools if practical work over runs, or the word count is too long, maybe they should apply those exacting standards to their own practice as examiners before they get to us.
    Reference the examiners post earlier in this thread.
  19. Philosophical - I can see your points. I can only speak for myself as an examiner and to be honest I might have only been doing this for two years but I've not had the negative experience the other examiner has talked about. My team leader has commended me often on my accurate marking and my positive comments. I have not written anything negative on any students comment sheets even though they have hit only the basic level as one or two did this year. I even said to my team leader this year "I feel mean" by only giving some students the lower levels.....
    I have no hidden agenda, I have no preferences with regard style, I mark what I see and hear; not what I don't see or don't hear. And yes; I have thought "wow" at times because that student has clearly made an impact on me and other members of the audience too. Someone used stunning vocal skills but it was too loud for the intimate perforamnce space (i.e. it started to hurt my ears) - I'm not going to give them 10/10 for that; I think I gave them 9 due to the amazing use of diction, inflection, tone, pitch but stated in my notes that the voice was too loud for the space the piece was performed in and that was why they didn't achieve full marks.
    I think we will have to agree to disagree but please as I've said; don't tarnish us all with the same brush. If you want to have the inside information (so to speak) then apply to become an examiner or a moderator. I'd do it for all units but I simply don't have the time.

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