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WJEC A Level Results

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by johnbrown, Aug 19, 2010.

  1. I left Symonds this year to take up a post at Churchers College (11-18 independent school). I couldn't take the AS ICT anymore and there were issues with certain staff that delivered it - just being honest! Computing was good, with expected results in both AS and A2 (you know where you stand on computing).
  2. IT1 and IT3 results have a good overall spread and about in line with where I expected the students to be, but the raw scores are generally lower than in January (eg: 'C' grade students are just on or above the border with a 'D' rather than it being comfortable).
    However, our coursework marks have not been altered so overall all the students have very good grades.
  3. scruffycat

    scruffycat New commenter

    Results were inline with what I had internally predicted and value added is very high. Although a selective school ICT is not taken by any of the really bright kids. So take the stats below in this context. ALL resit unit 1's from the january *** up went up. Year 13's that resat unit 1 to aim for the A grade were within 5 marks of full marks. Makes me think that the extra year and the unit 3 teaching makes a difference. Thought the unit 1 paper was very fair. Unit 3 paper is always the lowest for me not got that one right yet.
    A2 - no A* too tough to get anyone get any?
    A= 72%
    B= 28 %
    Post 16 group 75% A 25% B
    KS4 group, we accelerate 1 group (generally do not continue with ICT post 16) 75% A 25% B year 10's siting the unit 1 show a full range from 42 to 116/120. Most were B grades though.
    So I am a happy bunny
  4. IT1 was terrible again, like many previous posters here I've worked my a**e off too, and can't see what else there is to do with it. WJEC really need to look at more indepth training or explanation of the paper during the inset (although my school can't send me due to lack of funding).
    IT2/3/4 were acceptable, IT4 seems so much easier for students who are the middle of the road candidates to achieve anything spectacular.
    Pretty much stuck with WJEC as my school's welsh medium - so wish that I'd be able to teach any other board, AQA may even get my money if they started offering ICT through Welsh again (and that's saying a lot!)
    Anybody else teaching welsh medium interested in contacting OCR in force to see if they'd be willing to offer the course through welsh?
  5. No 'A*' grades for me either - IT3 pulled the students down too much.
    Overall I think we had (at A2):
    7 - A
    17 - B
    7 - C
    2 - D
    0 - E
    0 - U

    I did get one 'A*' in Computing though with the other two students getting a 'B' and a 'C'
  6. Reasonably pleased with results, one pupil got an A*, though she sat IT3 in January, only one other pupil managed to achieve a higher mark this time round on that paper. Happy with IT4 as all pupils got A-C grades, not too bad overall for a non selective comprehensive. However I would agree that the wording of the exam papers needs to be looked at as it's clear that many pupils are misinterpreting what is required and not being given the opportunity to show their ICT knowledge.
  7. I mean IT3 not IT4! Database coursework's not a problem... All A's or B's
  8. I mean IT3 not 4 there! Coursework unit all A's and B's
  9. Awful IT1 - lots of Us. Some pulled up by IT2 but overall results disastrous.
    IT4 great but IT3 rubbish, however not as bad as January.
    My two pennyworth?
    IT1 - far too much broad and waffly content and an almost infinite range of different questions, making it very hard for weak students to score well in the longer questions. Very meanly marked with students needing to write beautiful middle class English to get a high mark.
    IT2 - if you spoon feed students, it's possible to get very high % A-B. (we don't) This pushes the boundaries for IT1 up in order to keep the overall grades reasonably consistent year on year.
    IT3 - we used to use the notes given out at INSETs to teach our students, then we got shocking marks in January because the markscheme is now word for word from the text book. Answers that were acceptable in the old spec are now wrong (e.g. ring networks) Also, the 'quality of written communication' questions are marked so incredibly punitively, most of my students can't get above 4 marks despite knowing the content. Finally, some of the spec is just unbelievably vague and odd - why is hard disc failure not allowed as a possible source of data loss but terrorism is?
    IT4 - this is OK, although it is wearying that quality is not assessed anywhere, just inclusion of features. So a stupid query and an intelligent query are both marked the same.
    Overall, the problems are massively compounded by the fact that 90% of our feeder schools now do OCR Nationals/DIDA/BTEC and the students have NO theory/exam experience. And when it comes to coursework, they expect to be given step by step instructions on how to do everything and complain if they are not... don't blame the schools though, we are all slaves to the league table monster.
    WJEC used to be the best bet for our (very) weak students but if we can't crack it this year I am looking elsewhere.

  10. Finally, some of the spec is just unbelievably vague and odd - why is hard disc failure not allowed as a  possible source of data loss but terrorism is.

    This is'nt just vague or odd, it's plain wrong. If this example is true and accurate then you have to call into question whether the chief examiner is the right captain steering the ship. Do they really know what they are doing or did they get the job because they've been around the exam board along time?

    I would suggest if this example is true then all is lost. I would suggest changing ict courses, but we all know this kind of silliness is part of all ecam boards now.

    Why not craft a letter with specific examples and email it out to anyone you can think of.
  11. Good God!!! Just looked at the wjec summary for ict. That exam board needs to explain itself, and urgently as term starts soon. If this continues, no one will take ict anymore. It is already in dire straights. The grades are trully shocking.
  12. kathley

    kathley New commenter


    I think it's time for letters/petitions to Derec Stockley at WJEC.
  13. This whole discussion is interesting. I remember about 3 years ago we were having the same discussions about AQA. So, like many HOD, I decided to join the WJEC board who at the time had about 2000 entries. We had excellent results for about a year - then changes happend. The new 4 unit structure killed us and the WJEC course. I noticed 2 things - results have steadily declined under the new structure (no surprise) and the number of entries has almost doubled.
    So I suspect the Welsh board has been a victim of it's own success. They haven't been able to cope with the huge amount of entry increase and so standardisation and employing good examiners has probably been hard. I also know if you didn't get good results and you appeal the chances of any grades changing are very remote (abour 5% nationally change) as they will defend markers as much as possible which is understandable.
    Surely, they must look at their own results as even in comparison to other boards they are extremely poor. I will be surprised if many centres stay with them next year and beyond and so, yet again, we will be faced with the dilema of choosing boards and playing the system.
    Is it possible to get any continuity in A level ICT? It would be nice to get a steady set of results without mark adjustments, or dodgy modules, and with similar questions and answers year in year out. To be honest I don't think it will ever happen, and I also believe the subject won't exist over the next coming years or will be so unpopular it will become a minority subject with only dedicated centres offering the course at A level. There are plenty of articles with statistics that point out that Computing/ICT is officially the fastest declining subject in the last ten years.
    It is interesting that despite exam boards consulting University, Colleges, schools and teachers that they are STILL creating syllabi which are almost exactly the same from 1998! I mean why do students need to know the difference between Data, Information and Knowledge??? How can they talk about business systems, case studies examples when they are 17 and have never worked in large compnies or offices? Do they remember previous marking schemes which are factually wrong? or normalise database with marking schemes showing incorrect normalised answers? Rope learning key phrases like types of software solutions (do you remember those)? Understanding strangely worded questions with answers which have no link to the questions? Ever played the question game in the department - with teachers giving different answers to the same question and then seeing if they guessed right by looking at the marking scheme? And the old chestnut of advantages and disadvantages - can you guess the right one? Last but least - use of examples to get marks - how many students do you know can do this successfully?
    It is a refreshing though that at least GCSE is trying to tackle this with the new 2010 specs - some really intersting topics - how this will naturally follow on to A level I don't know as they are worlds apart.
    Anyway that is my rant over - it is amazing what 15 yrs of discussing the same problems does to you - that is why I left!!!
    Senior and Chief examiners will never learn - probably why they are there in the first place.

  14. Took me back there, gb.
    I won't be moving - better the devil I know as far as I'm concerned.
    Until I see something compelling as an alternative, this is it for me.
    I'm going to mark next year so I can try to understand what the *** they're thinking about.
    I'm extremely conscientious, so maybe I'll help the situation.
    Maybe more of us could do so?
    I work 50-60 hours a week and don't have the time; I earn £50k+ and don't need the money, but I think I might help my students and the overall situation by doing this.
    Can't think of anything else off the top of my head.

  15. As for your comments about syllabus content - I have no idea what I can do about that.
  16. I would like wjec to take three key action points as a result of those subject killing results:

    1. They should remind everyone that they provided lots of support and this disaster was not their fault.
    2. They should defend the subject officer, chief examiner and all the student markers to the hilt.
    3. They should not apologise, not have an independent enquiry and not make the outcome known.

    What i would like to see them do is to keep the same people in charge, keeping everything the same as before. As wjec is always listening, i am sure that they will react to this fiasco in the above ways.

    Goodbye ict a level. I knew you well, but with people like these in charge, you it was just a matter of time.
  17. ccroyle

    ccroyle New commenter

    Just returned from holiday and which I had stayed away. What a disgrace the WJEC have become for ICT. Looking at their own results and the placing of ICT within those, surely someone in authority must now do something about it.
    I have also been looking at our own item level data taken from the WJEC secure site and what an eye-opener. Question 8 had a max mark of 18, our average was 8.3 compared to an all centre average of 8.6. For question 10 (the spreadsheet one) we achieved just 7.9 compared to an all centre average of 8.1. Taking these two questions together: Max marks 34 : us 16.2 : all centres 16.7. We achieved 4.5% A-Bs the lowest by far in the college, I thought we had the spreadsheet problem cracked. Obviously we will be getting papers back, but, as January, nothing will change.
    I blame the the Subject Officer and, in particular, the Chief Examiner for this, markthesmith1 is right, unless things are drastically changed including the replacing of the above people then we can say goodbye to ICT. I also have to agree with the fact that we are dealing with 16/17 year olds here and the CE is not taking that into account.
    Looking at the CG1 Computer paper for Summer, the type and level of questionning is different, they are tesing a candidates knowledge without expecting him/her to waffle on. Some of the questions would also be better placed on the ICT paper - we might do better then!
    What can be done? All I can think of is to draw Derec Stockley's attention to this TES thread, our college results and WJEC ICT statistics within the board (which I'm sure he is already aware of) and ask him to take action, consequently, I will be emailing him (derec.stockley@wjec.co.uk) with a hope in my heart something will be done.

  18. If you want to complain about the quality of marking AND be taken seriously, you have to look at it from WJEC's point of view; they will see teachers from poorly performing centres 'whining about failure - what's new?'. I haven't seen one teacher from a high-performance centre complaining about anything to do with WJEC, have I?
    I know why my kids did relatively poorly in the exam - I and other teachers did a bit of **** question spotting and didn't bother to prepare kids properly for some of the topics - Databases and Advantages of Data Processing and using ICT for Teaching and Learning come to mind.
    The overall 7% A's etc issue is quite a different matter.
  19. I take the point of poor centres and yes we do get the weakest of students on the course. However, my gripe is we did prepare them as much as possible and they performed reasonably well in the mocks. Also, how we can have a similar cohort with the same teachers and planning yet the results are significantly worse! If I look at the other course I manage, Computing, I actually find it far less stressful and the students perform as they should and there is rarely any problems with the marking.
    You could say the poor students don't deserve to pass - yes I agree with this to a cetain extent however it is where you draw the line in comparision to other A levels. What really gets me is I get very weak students who get a U in the exam and yet when they do other similar writing based subjects e.g. sociology, media, film, english language they at least achieve a D or E grade. It seems to me weak students just fail ICT, mediocre students get C/D, able students B/C, and exceptional students get A, and nobody gets A* (how many exceptional students do ICT??). In the past I have had A* further Maths and Physics students achieving a C in AS ICT.
    The problem the boards have now is the public now know how poor the results are and so more and more students are opting not to do it and those that do are either forced to due to GCSE results or thrown out of other courses (certainly my experience). In my last college the only subject that had weaker students than us was Citizenship and that course only started after January - students who dropped out of other courses tookup citizenship.
    This course/subject area needs massive promoting and revising and for some stupid reason Chief Examiners are trying to pretend that they are upholding their beliefs, keeping standards and trying to bring ICT to the high levels of academic rigour - when we all know it isn't!
    Over the next few years the subject needs to revise itself and think where it actually belongs in the whole academic spectrum, indeed should it actually be a subject?
    Students doing this subject excel in skills, using software and not writing extensive reports, essays and structured answers on how ICT effects society - leave that to business studies. If we try and push these areas teachers, students will just become more and more de-motivated.
    Interestingly, when the Applied courses were invented a few years ago to address these issues everybody was happy with the specs, it looked if boards had actually listened! However, things took a nasty turn when students had to produce stupid amounts of report writing about on-line shopping and IT services to achieve an A grade and we ended up with a national profile of yet again rubbish results - so much so the course has now been ditched. Teacher's and students got bored writing extensive amounts of reports and every lesson ended up a sit-down and write lesson.
    So where do we go from here? I don't have the answers but it certainly needs fresh minds, new teachers and new examiners otherwise it certainly will die a death.

  20. I thought the summer exam was a pig, gb.
    Part of the self-destructive path being limped along by t'board.
    I entered a load of kids in January when I had only taught them 60% of the syllabus - they did better than in the summer. Bit cynical of me but I actually found that a little amusing.
    Can't disagree with anything you say but I don't think any of us from less successful centres will have any credibility if we try to complain - tough, but so it goes - rantings of embittered men.
    Yup, it's **** teaching IT.

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