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Written controlled assessments

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by langteacher, Nov 15, 2011.

  1. musiclover1

    musiclover1 New commenter

    I've heard this before: that very general titles are the best because pupils won't lose marks on irrelevant material. I'm teaching the environment just now, so shall I call my task title ' my environment'? I want them to write about their local area, its advantages and draw'backs, its environmental problems, what they have already done about them and what they will do in the future. But I can't call it 'my local area' because they recently did a speaking CA on their house and home which I stupidly called 'my home and my local area', and they're not allowed to hand in 2 similar titles, are they? Jumping through hoops......
    And no, I don't think they'll just using stuff from their exercise books - I think they'll always make up their own stuff as well, which will show their true standard - they're too creative to just copy from their books 100% of the time. And I don't think there will be enough stuff in their exercise books about those precise questions. That's why I'm scared that my grades will be low.
  2. noemie

    noemie Occasional commenter

    Bit of a sweeping statement, and I know you probably didn't mean this for me but I still take it personally. I do give a damn about my pupils and their learning. This year my entire dual linguist set has decided to go on to do French at A-level, and several of my bottom set pupils want to as well (although honestly they don't have the ability). The dual linguists have a very mature approach about the CA and know it's a hoop to jump through, but I pointed out that through the two years they get good or excellent teaching, interesting and authentic resources, creativity, spontaneous discussions and they are beginning to become fluent in the language, so that in exchange they can accept the stuffy format of an exam if it means they can move on to A-levels, where they can develop their skills further.
    If you click on my name and look at the GCSE resources I've uploaded you will see that I spend plenty of time finding relevant, authentic resources to inspire them, even (or perhaps especially) if the textbook doesn't tackle that topic. I have never taught grammar as thoroughly as I do now since they brought in CA, and as a result my current AS students are sailing through all the grammar I teach them, as they've not only seen it before, but retained it, unlike previous groups (who did the written exam, not the coursework I hasten to add). I refuse to use any sort of writing frame with my classes, so all their texts are entirely their own. Why then would I not mark them? It's just rude not to, it makes my pupils feel like I don't care about what they write, but also insecure about exactly what they have done wrong and how to improve it. And no, I don't blindly correct everything in their writing, I do circle about 50% of mistakes which they are able to correct by themselves without my input, so they have a chance of reflecting on their mistakes.
    Good teaching is good teaching, despite exams formats leaving to be desired.
  3. noemie

    noemie Occasional commenter

    I'd call it "my environment" and then in the suggested bullet points include what you want them to write about, i.e. local area etc, as these are not prescriptive. I think if the content is mostly different from one task to the other then you're fine. Local area and environment overlap quite a bit anyway, so you'd expect it. Just like there is quite a bit of overlap between health and hobbies (sport).
  4. musiclover1

    musiclover1 New commenter

    I agree 100%, noemie.
    I wish I were the kind of teacher that gets her pupils to take the subject on to A-level. I hope all mine will carry on but I don't think they are.
  5. I was just letting off steam because I get terribly frustrated about CA. Especially, given that the Coalition government will more than likely continue with this pointless exercise which discriminates against teachers with morals.
    (Noemie) Did n't mean to offend (sorry) just annoyed with teachers who will correct ALL mistakes and then get them to memorise it.
  6. gsglover

    gsglover Occasional commenter

    CAs are becoming even more galling for me now as many of my best students or those just below the best are adamant that they will try to learn prepared stuff off by heart. Sometimes this means that they make errors they would never have made if they were thinking things through as they were writing them. There is always the extra concern that some may be learning incorrect things in the first place which is doubly galling!
  7. My well-connected source tells me that Mr Gove wants rid of CAs. AQA and other boards already have a replacement waiting in the wings.

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