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WJEC AS ICT - January exam?

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by Alycya, May 2, 2012.

  1. Alycya

    Alycya New commenter

    I'm moving to the WJEC AS ICT spec in September and I'm starting to think about planning, SOW etc.
    I'm undecided as to whether to do the IT1 exam in January or wait til the summer and would value the opinion of those who already teach the spec as to the better approach. I assume that if you choose to wait until the summer, you get the coursework out the way early even though it can't be submitted until the summer?
    If it matters, I work in an FE college and my students are mainly either D/E grade kids who have chosen (or been recommended) not to stay onto their school 6th form (or who started AS courses there but didn't last the year and are restarting with us...) or overseas students with English as a second language!
    All advice gladly received
     
  2. Alycya

    Alycya New commenter

    I'm moving to the WJEC AS ICT spec in September and I'm starting to think about planning, SOW etc.
    I'm undecided as to whether to do the IT1 exam in January or wait til the summer and would value the opinion of those who already teach the spec as to the better approach. I assume that if you choose to wait until the summer, you get the coursework out the way early even though it can't be submitted until the summer?
    If it matters, I work in an FE college and my students are mainly either D/E grade kids who have chosen (or been recommended) not to stay onto their school 6th form (or who started AS courses there but didn't last the year and are restarting with us...) or overseas students with English as a second language!
    All advice gladly received
     
  3. djphillips1408

    djphillips1408 New commenter

    My personal preference is to nail the coursework first and leave the exam til the summer with a resit in y13 jan window if needed. Key to success is the coursework so it makes sense to get it in and done early. The problem with the AS paper is the spec is very large indeed and you are unlikely to get anywhere near through all of it in just the one term (Sept-Dec), you also need to appreciate that there is a lot of "technique" involved in being successful on that paper and in my experience kids do not do well if you don't coach them into rote learning and let them see how badly they fail past papers without rote learning. You really can nail all the coursework in about 6-8 weeks, so we start theory in Novemeber and I am still going through past papers in the run up to the summer window and realising that little 2 mark questions have not been covered. You also need to understand that kids will likely do badly on thier first attempt but with strong coursework they don't end up with a U at AS and can carry on into year 13 without a problem to retake in Jan when they accept that they are not going to do well on academic talent. My rule of thumb is that the average kid in our place will get a D grade on the AS paper in year 12 and then a B in the resit in year 13 - seem to be what is panning out in practice here too.
     
  4. To add to this it is essential that you attend an INSET course so that you can see exactly what is required for the coursework and to see where pupils loose silly marks. In the mean time get your self a copy of the INSET CD that is provided by the WJEC and ask your exams office for access to the WJEC secure site so that you can have access to past papers and mark schemes. ALL pupils are capable of 65+ in the coursework, but whether they get this is down to how hard they work and you are willing to push them, and weaker one will need at least this to ensure that it makes up for a weak exam mark. I would echo DJP that pupils should learn the exam board answers as the same or very similar questions come up year after year. The only difference I do is that I give pupils a first attempt in January, then do IT2 from Jan until Easter and then theory again until the summer exam.
     
  5. Alycya

    Alycya New commenter

    Thank you both, valuable advice. I will try to get hold of the INSET CD - I had gathered from previous posts here that the mark scheme is very prescriptive and you can easily lose marks if you don't follow it to the letter.
    I'm very tempted to leave the exam until the summer, given the amount of content - I've done that this year with the AQA spec and it does give more time to prep. My only reservation is that my college requires students to get a D to progress to A2 so I can't rely on the Jan resit to improve E grade students (however, I should be able to get reasonable coursework grades out of them which should reduce the impact of any exam disasters).
     
  6. I concur with everything said by the contributors above but I would take issue with djp's timetable for the coursework element - at least in my school.

    We have a not very independent intake with EAL issues and it takes us all year to get the work out of the kids - just the first bit where the kids get some documents and talk about them can take months - threats and intimidation are of no use in a school like mine - many of their parents are dead or in prison

    If you work in a similar environment, you may find yourself in a similar situation.

    Having said all of that,our kids get an average of 90% in the coursework and can get 'D' grades with a pretty poor performance in the exam.

    Enjoy.
     
  7. djphillips1408

    djphillips1408 New commenter

    As pointed out the key is to nail the coursework and if it does take you a lot of time as it does for NJB then that's no problem, but expect poor results from the exam in the first attempt. We are in the same boat as you with needing a D to carry on and as NJB points out you can't really fail to get that if the coursework is pushing full marks. If you want any materials for theory or coursework support then I have some stuff in the teach-ict shop. I do have the odd kid who just can't be bothered with the coursework but it is rare to give out a score of less than 70/80.
     
  8. compoit

    compoit New commenter

    Fully agree with welshman - we also put them in for the January exam, those that do well (and there are some) get an exemption from the course once they have completed their coursework to a high standard - it means they can concentrate on other subjects, so it's a big carrot to dangle! It also gives them a bit of a wakening up when it comes around to the resit for those that did really badly.
     
  9. djphillips1408

    djphillips1408 New commenter

    I don't have the option to put them in for January exam as year 12s can't take them early at my school, but I still wonder if 1 term is enough time to cover the spec and for the kids to develop the techniques required to do "well" on this exam. We put them in for resits in year 13 Jan window if required, but this does mean just the one shot at the A2 paper in the summer for those who mess up in summer year 12.
     
  10. Alycya

    Alycya New commenter

    Thanks again. Seems different things work for different people as usual. I can see that I'm going to have problems getting the documents off students, I used to have similar problems when I taught the old AVCE Unit 1 back in the day (and that was at a beacon 6th form college with strong disciplinary procedures rather than my current FE one where they are rather less hot on these things...)
    I will do the A2 exam in the January no matter what as I know some will need the resit option. I do also like the idea of getting rid of some of the AS students once the coursework is in! I know if I do opt for the Jan exam route I will be running resit classes for the majority anyway though, so should I just save myself the bother of rushing through the spec for January [​IMG]
    I think I'll sketch out possible SOW for both options, spend some time looking at the theory content in more detail and see which pans out best for our set-up here.
    Thanks for the opinions though - very valuable and much appreciated [​IMG]
     
  11. Tosha

    Tosha New commenter

    If your school will allow you put them through in Jan.

    Coursework will take as much time as you have to finish.
     
  12. Documents aren't a problem at all after first year of course, when pupils bring them in scan them and place in shared area so pupils can access them next year. If pupils brining in documents is a problem suggest that pupils visit places like McDonalds, Tescos and pick up leaflets for tourist attractions, also you can normally find enough documents already online. If that fails bring in any examples of advertising **** that you have posted to you at school or at home and force the pupils to base their projects on related businesses.
     

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