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WJEC GCSE Drama - any feedback, please?

Discussion in 'Drama and performing arts' started by jencros, Aug 26, 2012.

  1. I'm now considering changing from AQA to WJEC based on information given by someone on the 'AQA GCSE Results' post. Can any other people who follow this course give their views on it (especially if you've recently moved from AQA/Edexcel)? Many thanks.
     
  2. I'm now considering changing from AQA to WJEC based on information given by someone on the 'AQA GCSE Results' post. Can any other people who follow this course give their views on it (especially if you've recently moved from AQA/Edexcel)? Many thanks.
     
  3. The course is pretty
    straightforward and gives you plenty of scope in terms of what you
    teach. I spend year 10 looking at different theatrical styles,
    practitioners etc and do assessed work in year 11. For their coursework,
    they devise a short play based on a stimulus provided by the exam board
    and applying their understanding of a practitioner or theatrical style
    (any is accepted). This is worthy 60% of their final grade - 40% based
    on the final performance of this play (they can do technical elements
    rather than acting) and 20% on a written report they write under
    controlled conditions (pretty straightforward writing about influences,
    the rehearsal process and evaluation of the final performance). There is
    also a practical exam of a script excerpt performed in front of a
    visiting examiner (20% of final grade). They can perform any script so
    you can Definitely cast to your students' strengths. Finally there is a
    written paper worth 20% based on a set text - responding to short
    questions from the perspective of an actor, director and designer and a
    question evaluating their practical performance for the examiner. For
    the past two years I've found that they have marked fairly and
    accurately based on my own predictions. Long may this continue!
     
  4. That's great. Thank you so much for this. I'm pretty much decided now that I'm going to make this jump to WJEC. My results can't get any worse than they have for the past two years with AQA's diabolical written exam, and since my students on average aren't that strong at writing, it makes a lot of sense to shift to syllabus with a final written exam that won't annihilate their grade if they don't do that well on it. Thanks for taking the time to outline the course and reassure me.
     
  5. No worries at all

    Don't hesitate to message me on here if you have any other questions.
     
  6. Sorry to 'hijack' this thread but have been thinking the same thing. WJEC def. appears to be appealing at the moment! Any advice/support would be most appreciated.
     
  7. The thread's open to anyone. That's the nature of the forum. Timsilk has answered a lot of questions on this thread already (bless him). Or maybe you just want to hear from others who do this course to be reassured that it's one that works well and gets students grades that reflect their abilities? Which board do you do at the moment? I'm coming from AQA and will definitely be switching to this course for the coming Year 10s, but it's too late for the new Year 11s to switch.
     
  8. Hi, I am moving from BTEC to GCSE so want to be sure I'm making the right choice. At the moment I seem to be swaying between WJEC and OCR? The advantage of OCR seems to be that there is no written exam which may suit my less 'academic' students who have opted for this.
     
  9. My problem with the OCR exam is that it contains a ten hour exam that has to be completed within twenty days. At my school I have five teaching hours a fortnight for GCSE so it would take four weeks to complete this exam. I know that I would not be allowed to take them off timetable to complete the exam within the time, and would also not be allowed to run compulsory extra curricular sessions as there are so many other demands on students' time in their final year. It's a non-starter for my centre, although I do like the look of the syllabus, and I agree that for weak writers it's very attractive.
     
  10. Thanks for this; def. some food for thought! Does anyone know how the 10 hour exam works with OCR? I assume this is with a visiting examiner?
     
  11. You might want to start a separate thread on that. Those doing OCR probably won't look at this one as the title concerns the WJEC course.
     
  12. Done- thanks :)
     
  13. I've stuck with edexcel for the last ten years but after this year's debacle I've been looking into alternatives.
    The only thing that stops me from moving to WJEC is the written exam as the calibre of kid I have coming through (particularly in the next couple of years) won't and can't cope with written exams which is primarily the reason I've stuck with Edexcel this long due to the practical exam but this year it's the practical exam that's let me down.....
    I don't know what to do to be honest; I like the practicality of the Edexcel course and it suits my teaching and my kids and I love the A Level Edexcel so it makes sense to some degree to stay with the same board but after this year and the generalised email I've received from Edexcel today "explaining" the results I'm still very angry......
    Any advice??
    Nicky
     
  14. Having done WJEC this year, and with some weak writers, I can see that the advantage about this written exam is that is worth 20% of the mark, and so either tops up a good mark already gained through practical units, or doesn't inflict too much damage if not done so well.
    I found it easy to teach after I had been on the excellent course they ran, and even some very weak pupils could understand how to break down the questions and answer on the play they studied. I don't know AQA at all, but their written paper sounds very different, and much more complex and worth more. I left Edexcel last year, and I saw that all that coursework writing was much harder for my weaker students than the coursework writing and the written exam in WJEC. Not to say it's an easy GCSE, just the structures of writing tasks make more sense and are less vague and difficult to predict.
    I managed to do the whole WJEC course with my year 11 in one year having had enough of edexcel last year, and all went well. I am looking forward to this year with my coming year 11s who have had a bit more prep for it during year 10.
    But defo get on the course this coming term if you are considering it. It's so helpful.
     
  15. Thanks for that. Just booked the Swansea course before it gets fully booked and I have to travel to London. Sounds a heck of a lot of stress to do a new course in one year, and I don't want to have to ditch all the good work and marks they have for their scripted and improv. options from last year - seems like a waste of a year if I do. Also, having to do a set text as well seems a lot to squeeze into one year. I think I'll just have to stick with AQA for the Year 11s and start the Year 10s with WJEC.
     
  16. I think we're going to make the change to WJEC from AQA after such dismal written results for the last few years. Cutie(QT) I'd love to hear a little more about how you managed to put your Yr11s through in one year as we're considering doing the same.
    If at all possible could you get in touch with me? Either by a DM or on my email: mim_monk@hotmail.co.uk

    Sorry to trouble you!

    Mim
     
  17. If possible, could you share this information, QT, on this forum, as I think there'd be a few people interested in your approach?
     
  18. Any WJEC very much welcome. I've booked onto the course, hoping it will give me some clarity :)
     
  19. Well, I had been looking at their spec, and quite liking what I saw anyway. In our year 10 classes, (I did edexcel before) we don't tend to do any formal coursework, but instead a series of topics and practices of the sort of things you get assessed on in any GCSE and so I realised that we had taught all of the skills we needed to teach them and they were fairly practised in the art of devising, working with scripts, writing about theatre etc. So then I wrote to Daisyslot (a contributor on here) as last year she made a lot of good sounds about WJEC, and I asked her advice. She recommended them wholeheartedly and pointed me in the direction of her resources on here, where she has material for the course, and a helpful student friendly outline of the course. From that I saw that she outlined how she would spend year 11 teaching each unit, and I saw that it was deliverable in a year.
    So I took a deep breath, and went for it. Obviously I booked onto the course, I couldn't have done it without that, but I had to deliver most of unit 1 before I went on it in the November so it was a bit nervewracking.
    However, Unit 1 is devising on a theme given by the board and with a genre/practitioner as a focus. I realised after the course just how important it is to have the genre clear from the performance and well referenced by what they do, as they have to write about it in the coursework and show that they understood their own genre, and I reckon that was the only thing that I really didn't get quickly enough, so some of their pieces I couldn't give upper band marks to because of that, but now I know that for next year I will be able to teach that better.
    On the course, they gave very good exemplars of standards of work in written and performance on videos, we watched a full range from hopeless to excellent and even a tricky one which started really well and then fizzled out and there was lots of discussion with the course leaders to help us with the marking of unit 1. When I came back from that I really knew what I was doing, and my moderator comments have confirmed that. My pupils enjoyed themselves doing that unit, and most of them found it fairly straightforward to write about what they had done. They write 3 different essay responses. The first focuses on the stimulus, the genre and their own ideas. The second is longer and focuses on rehearsal issues (what they did, how they solved problems etc). The third focuses on the performance they did and evaluates it. (I'm rushing typing this so I'm putting the basics down). The best thing for me about this is there is a time limit for completing this work. They must complete it all in 4 hours. So we gave them one hour for essay 1, 2 hours for essay 2 and 1 hour for essay 3 (as the marks are weighted to match this). You can teach about the techniques for the essay for as long as you like, but they can only spend a max 4 hours actually writing the thing and it must be supervised. (extra timers get extra time). So, its not about word limit, its about time limit, like in an exam. This means once the time limit is up, you mark it and its over. I like that, as my SLT have a tendency to pressure us into getting kids rewriting stuff, or if like I had a kid who wasted his 4 hours not writing, I could say no I'm not spending lunchhours or extending deadlines, he's had his time.
    It was all fine, I don't think this approach disadvantaged any of them, and they got fair marks for coursework.
    The admin for this was so straighforward as well. You get their total marks together and enter them on the computer, then it tells you who's been picked for the sample, then you send off the sample written work and a dvd of all the performances they did (all not just the sample kids) with a basic top sheet with marks on it. There is no writing of justifying why you gave XYZ marks, because its so obvious from the essays and the performances what the marks should be.
    Unit 2 is scripted performance, I only have a quibble with 2 of the marks the external gave, and only that I think they should have been about 5 marks higher - not whole grades different like people are reporting on here for edexel unit 3.
    Unit 3 was more of a rush for us this year because we had to teach the text quite quickly - I chose Dr. Korczak which is a great little play and easy to understand and quite Brechtian in style. The course I went on went through the exam paper and the mark scheme and it's easy to understand and apply. We made up loads of practice questions for them to do, and it was very like what they actually got on the paper.
    I hope this is reassuring. I know that I was deeply reassured by the course, I wish I could have done it in September obviously because I could have tweaked a few things but having said that it didn't cause the end of the world that I hadn't. During this year just gone, I obviously had the opportunity to teach my Year 10s the Dr. Korczak text in the summer term so that they are already started on the unit 3 aspect and will be slightly more prepared this year coming. I also could teach them how to write more in the WJEC style, as in genre, stimulus, rehearsal techniques, essays in time limits. But my year 11s generally coped fine. I don't know if its because they are all boys but most of them didn't even notice we had changed exam boards! I think one of them said, "Miss I thought we didn't do a written exam?" and then I pointed out "Yes but we have changed boards" "Oh have we miss? ok then."
    I should at this point thank Daisyslot for her help last year - it was advice well given. The other good thing about WJEC which I think someone had mentioned is the subject officer Elaine who will email you back personally within the day for any query. She genuinely answers questions as well, and I wrote to her on several little points, and she told me the answer in a really straighforward way.
    Sorry this is so long, I hope it was helpful enough and said what you needed!
     
  20. Blimey. I need to paste this into Word, print it off and put it in my folder. Thanks a lot, Cutie. Really useful stuff.
     

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