Cheating in Controlled Assessments

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Cheating in Controlled Assessments

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     Do you? I seem to be experiencing a rather 'interesting' response to this question amnogst friends teaching at other schools. 

    We are promoting the 'sink or swim' ethos (ie stcicking to the rules of limited info on planning sheet, not marking any draft work and giving just one chance to re-do if required).

    Others, it appears are strectching the boundaries somewhat much further eg; leaving folders with draft work on desk, important quotes 'happen to be left on the IWB' and students asked back time and time again to repeat C/A on the same question to ensure it secures their target grade (as SLT would demand this anyway!!!)

    Interested in your thoughts too!

    x

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     Sink or swim. Sticking to my guns so far. I hope the cheaters are caught, makes a mockery of our profession.

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    Also sink or swim, but they can now take PEE chains in with them. For AQA, anyway.

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    Without sounding silly grouch, can I ask what are the PEE chains?  Do you mean a couple of words to guide them with their PEE paragraph?  Is AQA allowing this?

     

    I find the notes sheet the hardest and in a lot of respects it seems easier to actually ignore the notes sheets because I am so paranoid about the students writing too much.

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    They are allowed detailed PEE chains-  on A3 if they like.

    More than a couple of words.

    e.g. point:  Act 1 sc.v - shared sonnet

            evidence: line number(s)

            explore: shows teasing relationship

    Complete sentences are barred.

    The AQA sheets are no longer required.

    There is no longer a specified word count.

     

     

     

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    Lovely.  Thank you grouch.

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    There will always be cheats.  I am always suspicious when a subject teacher feels it is necessary for  them to be present with their own class during an exam or controlled assessment.  At a former school, as a TA I used to invigilate or act as a scribe and/or reader during the whole exam period. I would also be in the main hall with others supervising the students.  However, my SENCO never allocated me to work directly with students in English exams because I supported them in their English lessons.  This was a sensible precaution, which protected me and the children.  The controlled assessment scenario appears to lack any element of 'control'.

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    CKKendall
    I am always suspicious when a subject teacher feels it is necessary for  them to be present with their own class during an exam or controlled assessment.

    I don;t feel it necessary for me to be there while my class do their controlled assessments, but I HAVE to be, as they have to been done in English lessons, and school only pay for external inviligators for external exams. As for using TAs to supervise, what a waste of time of money - they are paid to support children who will be in other lessons during that time (unless of course, the child needs a scribe, which is different). I can at least, walk around a few times and 'glare' at my year 10s, in between spending the CA time to do some marking.

     

    As for the original question; it's sink or swin for us. All cover sheets are handed in the lesson before the controlled assessment (as a departmental rule), so we are able to check them before the CA. The on the lesson when we do the CAs, I get them all sat down and settled in exam conditions, I may show them the criteria one last time on the IWB whilst they are entering, and ask any last minute questions. I then turn off the IWB, hand out paper and cover sheets and the exam conditions start. From that point, they know I will not help them, unless they need more paper/their ink has run out.

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    Where did you hear that Gruoch? Do you have a link? Seems to be 'a bit' of inconsistency in messages from AQA. 

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    Last meeting with AQA

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     This is so bloody infuriating. Some people get a message, some don't. Not heard this at all. Constant changing of the rules is very hard to run the CA effectively as a HoD when staff get wind of rumours/changes and interpret them, take them further. AQA need to pull their finger out and make up their sodding minds.

     Unacceptable.

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    Looks like we'll be changing to WJEC next year.

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    It's very clear that the rules for CA are very unclear and open to interpretation. This is alongside a context in which individual teachers, schools and departments are under intense pressure to achieve higher English results. In my view, this puts teachers in a horrible position, of being expected to do whatever it takes to raise results but without any real clarity about what is acceptable and what isn't. The result is that schools and teachers are looking upon each other with paranoid suspicion, and some teachers are being made to feel as if they are cheats. Brilliant.
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    AQA introduced the notes sheet in an attempt to bring some clarity to a very confusing scenario.  The notes sheet was not meant to be a manacle but to help students to learn/realise that they could work independently from a few notes which they had made themselves.  This should prove to be confidence-building and prepare them better for the externally examined units. The standardising materials contained an example of a plan which was far too detailed and actually counter-productive in order to reinforce the desirability of "brief notes". 

      Following feedback from a number of teachers who attended the Preparing to Teach meetings, the initial stance of "this notes form must be used" was changed to a less rigorous approach of "consider what would be helpful for students in terms of number of notes/quantity of writing in the plan". This was done because so many teachers were gettiing completely obsessed with the size of the sheet, the size of writing, whether students could write beyond the margins of the box etc.  This message should have been given out at standardising meetings or by email to HODs.  As for "pee chains", I suspect this was an example of what kind of notes might be acceptable given by the person running your meeting, gruoch.  It is most certainly not an "official" AQA message.

    However, many teachers still choose to use the notes sheet because it gives the students a sense of the CA being "official" and does guide them to plan succinctly.  .

    Please remember that CA is new to ALL of us - including all four exam boards.  AQA has tried to act on teacher advice and feedback to make the system manageable and fair to all.  If there are failures of communication, they are regrettable but most certainly not deliberate and changes are made for the good of the students.  Every AQA centre has a Subject Adviser allocated to give assistance and answer queries on CA and the Subject Team in Manchester are very helpful.  There is a great deal of information and advice available but it sometimes need to be sought out rather than passively awaited!

    Finally, I am greatly heartened to see the number of you who are going for "sink or swim".  Teaches who approach CA with this attitude are doing the absolute best for their students and maintaining the integrity of a process which, in an ironic misnomer, is very difficult to control.  Thanks everyone and keep it up :)

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    regentsreject
    There is a great deal of information and advice available but it sometimes need to be sought out rather than passively awaited!

    Are you serious? Passivey awaited? You mean passed down frmo the people making the bloody decisions to those on the front line?  I am not a passive waiter, I am an HoD stretched beyond what is humanly possibly and quite rightly believe the exam board should be a damn sight better at communicating than it currently is.

    Any change to the guidelines is only heard via whispers in the staffroom or on forums like this. AQA has NO forum or lines of communication TO teachers. Yes we have subject advisors. But does that mean I'm supposed to have the time to ring them every week to ask if ther have been any changes just in case? Is any onein AQA in the real world?

    Yes Controlled Assessments are new to English but they are not new to the curriculum. Most subjects are in their second year. English should have learnt from their mistakes.

    I stand by my original comment that is it simply not good enough. Make up your mind and stick with it for a year. If there needs to be more changes, just do it from the start of the next cohort instead of changing like the wind.

    Angry 

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    EmmaBB
    Are you serious? Passivey awaited?

     

    Agreed.

    I'm still waiting to hear whether the multi modal option has been abandoned (English - reading CAs). I have a CA to complete before the end of term with a very low ability set. [Although I remind them, every lesson, at least 2 of them have no idea why we are studying 'A Christmas Carol' and focusing on the central character of Scrooge.] 

    I have done a multi modal preparation course, but I still don't know whether I have been wasting my time and will have to revert to my original title about Scrooge's change of character.

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    I sense some anger here!  I totally agree that HODs in English are constantly struggling for time (I have been one for several years).  I also agree that it is infuriating when the goalposts change - I never said they hadn't changed - I was trying to explain why and that sometimes, these things are beyond the control of a single exam board. 

     CAs in English are high control and therefore follow different rules and procedures from other curriculum areas.  Have centres learned from what their colleagues' experience of CA has been?

    As far as communication is concerned, AQA has a website, not always entirely simple to navigate I grant you, but full of information.  They have Subject Officers at the end of the phone or email.  Centres have Subject Advisers again at the end of a phone or email.  AQA sent out vasts swathes of paper information last year and ran a huge series of free meetings to advise teachers about the new specs.  English departments were able to ask for an AQA adviser to come in and work with the HOD or the department on understanding and planning the new curriculum or to run bespoke Preparing to Teach meetings - I know, because I did lots of this work.  This year, following standardisation meetings, each centre has had the opportunity to attend two twilight sessions at times and on matters decided jointly by the centres in each group.  I'm not sure how many more avenues are needed, but if you have suggestions about how communication could be improved, please feel free to pm me.

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    regentsreject
    As far as communication is concerned, AQA has a website, not always entirely simple to navigate I grant you, but full of information. 

     

    But not up to date. I can't find anything about the changes to the planning or the word count. Advisors often provide contradictory information, too

    .

    regentsreject
    each centre has had the opportunity to attend two twilight sessions at times and on matters decided jointly by the centres in each group. 

    Done that. See 'contradictory information' above.

    regents, perhaps you can enlighten me on the multi modal option for CAs?

     

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    I'm not responsible for the website so I'm afraid I can't tell you if there is a special place for updates, but there is an English newsletter which goes out to all centres and I was told that the revised guidance on planning would be emailed to all HODs who had signed up for the new spec.  If that didn't happen, AQA in Manchester should be made aware of it.

    Contradictory advice from advisors? Oh help.  Some years ago, I was a Team Leader for the dreaded SATS Reading paper.  The presenters at the standardising meetings used a script from which they were not allowed to deviate even to answer questions.  This is the only way to guarantee that every adviser says exactly the same thing - hardly feasible. In my experience, advisers use their own examples and put their own personal slant on a presentation or meeting but the rules and guidance should be the same. If you believe you have been misinformed in any way, again you should make AQA aware of this.

    As far as the multimodal CA goes, I have no knowledge of any proposed or planned changes to it.  I am still referring to the task as published on the secure site last April, which states that candidates may study multimodal versions of the texts eg stage productions, film and audio versions but their responses should be clearly linked to the written text. Why do you think this may have been abandoned?

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    gruoch

    regentsreject
    As far as communication is concerned, AQA has a website, not always entirely simple to navigate I grant you, but full of information. 

     

    But not up to date. I can't find anything about the changes to the planning or the word count. Advisors often provide contradictory information, too

     

     

    Exactly.  Why can't there be a promptly updated front page for GCSE English (covering Lang and Lit too) with changes listed and dated as hyperlinks?  That way we would know this week's new rule and there would be a comprehensive list. 
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