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Anyone else feeling strongly negative about controlled assessment at the moment? As a HOD, it really does seem like a total nightmare to me, for these reasons:
- the amount of time our teachers are spending sitting and invigilating CAs in English is ridiculous and represents terrible value for money
- The fact that we can’t mark drafts makes it much harder to complete effective formative assessment and give proper feedback which actually helps kids to learn and improve
- The rules are so woolly that everyone is in a state of paranoia about what is and isn’t acceptable, particularly when considering what might be going on in ‘other schools’
- It’s so hard for our kids with more unstable home lives, eg those with erratic attendance or those coming in to school after the start of the course – really feeling the loss of the Oral Response element
- It’s made teacher workload much greater as an extra 20% of the assessment of written responses is now with us when previously it was with external markers (at no reduction of cost in terms of exam entries)
I’m sure I’ll feel better about it when the coursework forms have all gone off, but will still be nervous about moderation and grade boundaries etc – feel it’s unfair to have intense pressure on English results on one hand, and a wooly, unreliable, loose assessment system. This is particularly chronic when the people under pressure are the same people who have to then administer and invigilate the exam – a recipe for stress, teaching to the test etc etc
Frustrating. But nearly over for one year, and I do recognise that sorting out the old coursework was not exactly a barrel of laughs either.
Over on the MFL forum, you'll find that we don't like it either:
mrharris34Anyone else feeling strongly negative about controlled assessment at the moment?
We've had so many issues over what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. Have tried to play things by the letter of the spec and then are told that things still aren't right. No-one seems to be able to agree on what constitutes what mark and the board haven't helped the situation by being, as you so rightly say, woolly over everything.
Another issue is the changing of assessment titles each year, I know some teachers were guilty of regurgitating the same old stuff year after year, but at least there was the facility to develop a scheme of work and lesson resources, now they have to change.
Initially I thought they were great, but now I'm not of the same opinion. But anyway, Gove will make everything linear soon so there won't be any controlled assessments or coursework!
englishtt06if other schools cheat then they are doing themselves, and ultimately, the kids a disservice.
I agree with you in principle, but then in some schools principles were abandoned in favour of exam results and league table positions years ago.
millicent_bystanderBut anyway, Gove will make everything linear soon so there won't be any controlled assessments or coursework!
You'd hope that, wouldn't you, given what has been said by him: but according to a member of SLT at our school, English is not going to be changed anytime soon. Please, please, let her be wrong...
I keep asking if we can change to IGCSE, but SLT not keen on this, sadly.
englishtt06I understand what you are saying but, personally, I like controlled assessment.
I assume you don't teach a bottom set of demotivated boys with very poor literacy skills? Today we spent 2 hours looking at 13 lines from Richard III.
I had one who could tell me what Richard was thinking, rather than saying (they absolutely understand that he is a liar and a hypocrite who wants to be king at any cost) but couldn't remember what he had said to write it down. And I mean immediately.
gruochI assume you don't teach a bottom set of demotivated boys with very poor literacy skills
And, although top sets can clearly cope better with them, they are still a pain! My Y10 have now done all the Language CAs (except one of the creative writing tasks). I've put their marks into a spreadsheet, using the Jan grade boundaries, and, assuming they get roughly the same mark for the second creative piece as the first, I now know pretty much what grade they can get for their CAs.
It presents a dilemma, as there are several not "on target". Do I nab them now and make them stay after school to try different tasks, or wait until next year when the powers that be put pressure on the department to make sure everyone is on target. Either way, it's a lot of extra work.
If we must have them, they should go back to being only worth 20% of the course as before, so less emphasis on them and mor eof a level playing field in the exam.
anteaterIf we must have them, they should go back to being only worth 20% of the course as before
40% for AQA but 60% for WJEC - and the class mentioned above is doing WJEC. 2 are there because their behaviour is, err, challenging, rather than because they lack ability but one has just realised that CAs are real exams and need real work.
gruochI assume you don't teach a bottom set of demotivated boys with very poor literacy skills? Today we spent 2 hours looking at 13 lines from Richard III.
CAs are pretty dreadful in terms of organising those that are absent. I have bottom set year 10 and a third of them have attendance of less than 60%. If they miss a lesson it is bad enough, but more often they miss three of four and they are impossible to get in after school.
Having said that, the other 2 thirds do ok. They have the date of the CA in their planners from the beining of the topic and as I refer to it constantly as 'exam' when it comes to it they will sit in silence and exam conditions and they take it very seriously. Marking is quite frankly a doddle compared to those drafts, but how on earth do I get those 8 or ten kids that got a U or just don't come in? As you say on her, this time next year SLT are going to be taking them out of PE and things to do it and I will have other classess covered ...
Grrrh- oh and apparantly OFSTED atre on the way :(
(no glasses on so sorry if this is a mess!)
Agree with everyone on the marking drafts aspect - this is better. But apart from this can't think of a good word to say about CA's - they are totally unmanageable for all the reasons given by others on this thread...
Hate 'em. And in order to get it all out of my system, I'm going to comment on every thread about Controlled Assessment this afternoon if I see one!
Mind you, I hate all the AQA English courses. Too unwieldy now. Too many bits and bobs. I, too, wish I could swap to iGCSE.
Hate them too! As a department, we seem to spend countless hours at lunchtime/after school catching up with controlled assessments with pupils who have been absent or are entitled to extra time. Plenty of other departments seem to be in a similar position, but there is no co-ordination of "mop-up time" by SMT!
On the point of re-drafting under the old coursework system, we played by the rules and only gave general feedback and quickly realised that, on the whole, redrafting was often just rewriting and rarely attracted extra marks. Our solution? We insisted upon the work that was submitted was final- the pupils could draft and peer assess, but when it was submitted, that was that. We found that the pupils were far more focused as a result and we had far less marking of poor quality work..... Those were the days....
Now? Back to the drawing board....As for teaching Foundation Lit with the (WJEC) CA linking a Shakespeare play with poetry (still don't know why) and the requirement to compare 2 unseen poems on the exam paper- I think Foundation Lit will become a thing of the past....
jasond.As for teaching Foundation Lit with the (WJEC) CA linking a Shakespeare play with poetry (still don't know why)
Cos Shakespeare's poetry, innit?
Oh yeah. Just don't treat the poetry as poetry- remember we are meant to draw thematic links... What is this obsession with comparisons, links, the way a text "illumintes" another text? Sheenagh Pugh herself is still non the wiser as to why the WJEC wants our AS pupils to link her with Carol Ann Duffy....
Like everyone else, I loathe controlled assessments. As my school is going Academy in Sept, I'm lobbying to change to iGCSE.
However, the real problem is that no matter what syllabus we teach, we will still be expected to get students up to grades that are unrealistic and we will still be expected to 'teach to the test' to get them through. The pressure on teachers to get results is preventing us from doing any real teaching. Anyone up for starting a grass roots rebellion? Not sure what form it would take but I can't help feeling that teachers need to do something to put genuine education back into schools and get rid of stupid government ministers (you all know who I mean) who haven't got a @&*^%%$ clue and who keep changing the goal posts.
Grrrr, hisss, growl
the_bookworm we will still be expected to 'teach to the test'
NO!!! That's cheating, didn't you know?
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