Changing the assessment of GCSEs whilst students are studying them.

(49 Posts)
creamteas Thu 25-Apr-13 15:13:52

Ofqual have announced that they want to change the assessment for GCSE English in 2014. They are consulting till June this year. They want to stop speaking and listening from contributing to the grade. see here

This means that students already in the first year of the GCSEs do not now know what they will be assessed on, and in some cases, work already done is wasted. If S&L is not going to count, there is not a lot of point spending much time on it.

Leaving aside whether or not this is a good idea (and I don't think it is), the idea that you can change a course when students are half way through is simply ludicrous.

TheOriginalSteamingNit Fri 26-Apr-13 08:42:01

bella I read this thread and lots of other education threads because I'm interested in education and have a child about to take GCSEs - and what I have seen on two threads recently is you taking a very arrogant and rude tone with concerned parents, telling them to 'calm down' and accusing them of being in a 'tizzy' about perfectly valid concerns. You don't strike me as being very empathetic, still less sympathetic, to parental concerns, and I find this worrying. I'm not 'using' threads to have a pop at you, but I have seen you on two of them posting in ways I would not expect or hope for from someone teaching my children. That is all.

Ilovegeorgeclooney Fri 26-Apr-13 10:28:31

Bella, since S and L is worth 20% of the marks we like most schools assign 20% of teaching time to it. So it is exactly the same as changing one of the novels in the Lit exam which is worth 20% of the overall mark. I would also dispute your value of S and L. For many pupils it is their first experience of explicitly being taught of the importance of formality/tone etc and this is essential as they go into the workforce. The confidence they gain from doing an individual presentation is also invaluable. It is additionally an opportunity for some children such as dyslexics to shine and helps these pupils achieve grades that are closer to matching their ability and builds their confidence in their communication skills. As a school with a high number of EAL pupils we will probably benefit from this change but that does not stop me feeling it is a retrograde step.

Startail Fri 26-Apr-13 11:40:52

Thanks kez100 et. al. For jumping to my defence. Perhaps I should wear my 'calm non swearing hat on the education boards'

However, that doesn't change the fact that in DD gets 1.5 levels higher for speaking and listening and clearly would like the marks.

Also, I would have thought they had enough of being in trouble for moving the goal posts mid exam last year.

I accept I am also furious with Gove/Ofsted etc for putting DDs school in SM and therefore making her needing a B to move at sixth form more likely. (Sadly, SMs is very likely to hit our sixth forms intake even though the mess is nothing to do with them).

cornydash Fri 26-Apr-13 11:47:54

I also question Bella's value of S&L. In the workplace these skills are vitally important.

freerangeeggs Fri 26-Apr-13 13:47:43

I'm an English teacher and I'm pissed off about this, not least because I heard about it on BBC news angry

We've already completed speaking and listening assessments (speeches) and for my bottom set this took a lot of work (a LOT of work). I don't think I can tell them about this as they'll be gutted.

A fifth is a massive amount and I don't know how people can argue otherwise. I've always kind of thought that 20% was a bit much (10% maybe more reasonable) but it IS a relevant and important skill and it's completely unfair to change the goalposts halfway through the course.

glaurung Fri 26-Apr-13 13:59:28

But they will still get a grade for S+L listed on their certificates, separate to the main grade and not contributing to it (or from the schools perspective the league tables). So time spent already isn't wasted, they should get a good subsidiary grade and for those dc that shine at spoken English this may well be beneficial in the future as it will highlight that strength (which is probably valued more for many jobs than the written part).

I agree that they shouldn't change courses that have already been started - they did this for A levels too,so the current yr12s can't do January modules next year, but as such changes go, I think this one is fairly minor - since English GCSE is a compulsory core subject it's not as if any child would have chosen not to do it if they'd known the assessment was going to be different.

Startail Fri 26-Apr-13 15:20:38

A good subsidiary S&L grade might just help in getting into sixth form next year with the change fresh in people's minds.

It's not going to make a C look like a B for university admissions and employers in the future.

It certainly isn't going to help DCs who don't go on to HE for whom the difference between a C and a D in English can make a huge difference.

YoniOrNotYoni Fri 26-Apr-13 18:33:49

Ive completed the consultation doc for this today. Can I suggest you do too? It's on the ofqual website.

I also have a new theory. I suspect they're just saying they'll introduce it next year, then when we all get cross they'll change it to 2015 and say 'see, we listened', thus sneaking through the changes themselves with less arguments.

YoniOrNotYoni Fri 26-Apr-13 18:35:31

Don't even get me started on the subsidiary grade or the 'you won't have to change a thing'...

glaurung Fri 26-Apr-13 18:40:04

I quite like the idea of a separate grade for speaking and listening actually... The problem is only if schools don't teach it because it doesn't count for league tables.

creamteas Fri 26-Apr-13 18:41:38

now you are just being plain daft- removing a literature text and presumably replacing it with another mid course would be totally different

Actually no, it is not a daft suggestion. Once the precedent has been set that they can change the specification half way through there is nothing to stop them doing this.

The idea that it is ok because it will be on the certificate is beyond stupid. As pointed out above, no one will see the certificate until after decisions have been made either in education or employment.

ShipwreckedAndComatose Fri 26-Apr-13 18:47:17

As a teacher of science at secondary level, I completely agree with you, creamteas!!!

glaurung Fri 26-Apr-13 19:03:00

I expect a lot of schools may jump ship to iGCSE on the back of this. I don't think they can mandate changes to iGCSE in the same way they can for GCSE and so that will still have 20% S&L.

creamteas Fri 26-Apr-13 20:25:31

I hope lots do go to igcse. The sooner education is taken out of political control the better

ShipwreckedAndComatose Fri 26-Apr-13 20:38:44

The sooner education is taken out of political control the better

Again! Completely agree with you!

cardibach Fri 26-Apr-13 20:47:35

I'm an English teacher and I really doubt that bella is. She really doesn't sound like someone who is working her socks off to deliver a course that is constantly changing under extreme pressure and under scrutiny from management because English results are such a hot potato. I really don't get her attitude if she is.

YoniOrNotYoni Fri 26-Apr-13 21:14:33

Or perhaps ofqual is right and Bella is one of the ones faking the results sad

I worked with an Assistant Head who just totally made up his S+L grades. Sadly it does happen but S+L is a lifeline for those bright kids who struggle with writing.

I wish I hadn't been so inexperienced and shy when I worked with him. I'd love to blow a fucking enormous whistle on his ass. grin

Loshad Fri 26-Apr-13 21:53:17

Science teacher here, and 20% is a large amount of the curriculum. Reckon whoever said upstream that Bella was Gove is right (or Mrs Gove). There may be some teachers around as ill informed, ignorant and aggressive as Bella, but i haven't met any yet.

greyvix Sat 27-Apr-13 00:28:25

As an English teacher, I am outraged that the final goalposts should be moved halfway through the course. I am embarrassed that, when I prepared my Year 10 students for their recent speaking and listening assessments, telling them that it was worth 20% of their GCSE grades, I was giving them false information. I am also questioning how the final exam will reflect 60% of the overall marks. There is currently only one short writing task (which will count for 30% of the overall marks).

I agree that speaking and listening does need tighter controls, but abandoning it in the middle of a course is not the best approach.

I note, however, that the article disappeared very quickly from the BBC website. What should we glean from that? Also, if Ofqual is consulting until June, who are they consulting with? I have responded to various documents (from the government and the exam board), but none specifically on speaking and listening.

Ilovegeorgeclooney Sat 27-Apr-13 14:21:31

The consultation form is on the OFQUAL website. I felt much better after filling it in!?!>

Dominodonkey Sat 27-Apr-13 17:03:12

YY Greyvix

And I don't believe that bella is actually an English teacher.

I am livid. If they want to change it fair enough (we all know that many schools/teachers do inflate the grades, over 90% of students get a C on S and L) but changing it in the middle is unacceptable and unfair.
Some of my students worked really hard for a drama piece a few weeks ago, practised loads and really thought about their characters, know those marks mean almost nothing.
I will be looking at the OFQUAL website.

Dominodonkey Sat 27-Apr-13 17:04:08

Sorry mean 'now'....

greyvix Sat 27-Apr-13 19:22:08

Thanks Ilovegeorgeclooney. I have also now filled it in.

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