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To be really concerned about the marking of the new style GCSE English this year?

(68 Posts)
CheeseAndQuackers Wed 20-Sep-17 19:46:44

There seem to be lots of instances where teens have got unexpected results - many getting two or more grades higher than expected, and others getting two or more grades lower, in both English Lit and Lang.

Many who have got lower than expected are putting their exams in for remarks, and some are coming back with grades being moved from 5s to 7s, or 6s to 8s. This seems to be especially prevalent with AQA.

So AIBU in thinking this is shocking?! How unfair that only those who are clued-up and have enough money to risk putting in for a remark are getting the correct grade for all their hard work?

AIBU for wondering why the press haven't picked up on this? Or does this sort of variation happen every year and it just feels worse because my DS is one who has been affected this year?

errorofjudgement Wed 20-Sep-17 19:52:51

It is very worrying. And unfair on all the students.
Schools have to pay for students to take these exams, you would think the exam board would mark it properly. Frankly, they shouldn't charge for a service if they're incapable of providing it.
Well that's my view anyway!

Rosieposy4 Wed 20-Sep-17 19:56:34

As a teacher, and as a parent of a y11 dc, both schools doing AQA English i have not heard of a single remark going up. It is nothing like as widespread as it was a few years ago now the guidelines have changed. ( And yes i did put one of my dcs papers in for a remark as they only needed 2 more to get a 7 but no joy).

BlueBerryBiscuit Wed 20-Sep-17 20:06:11

It does seem that AQA are particularly bad this year but my experience is that they always change more than any other board. I wish ABs would do away with EARs completely (not least due to the amount of admin it causes me!) as I think it makes a mockery of the system and and in the main just takes thousands of pounds of needed funding from schools. No one wants to risk not doing EARs though just in case they can get the student a pass!

theduchessstill Wed 20-Sep-17 20:23:12

It's an absolute disgrace. I teach English and we have had over half of our remarks go up and are still waiting on several more. We also put about 50 literature papers in for remarks and have had NONE of them back yet.

It's a farce - a friend is a marker and two weeks after the holidays had started there were thousands of responses unmarked and they were begging markers to mark extra.

We can have no faith in these results - awful for the kids who worked so hard, and, as teachers, we can't really know how well we did at delivering the new spec.

It should be on the news - there should be an outcry...

CheeseAndQuackers Wed 20-Sep-17 20:26:29

Rosie - I am interested to hear that. I am wondering if I am just very alert to stories about English remarks, so it seems worse than it is.

However, it is a fact that I know personally of several children, and have heard about a lot more, whose marks have gone up by one or two whole grades after a review of marking. That is a lot of 'missing marks' first time round.

This just seems so unfair! How can a marking scheme be so open to interpretation? And how can it be fair that you only get to find out if your grade is 'correct' if you can afford to pay the £36 odd quid (and that is per paper, not per subject!).

Blue DS's school does not pay for any remarks - it is down to individual parents feeling something is amiss and paying for the remarks themselves. That seems more unfair as not all parents can pay or know that marking can be 'challenged' in this way.

Does AQA have a reputation for being worse than other exam boards?

Newoneforthis Wed 20-Sep-17 20:29:05

Fellow English teacher here. Agree with what you say. We were particularly surprised at the difference between writing marks (AO2&3) for Papers 1 and 2. Surely these should be the closest marks of all?

KeiraTwiceKnightley Wed 20-Sep-17 20:40:58

Im also an English teacher. Some of our exam marks are inexplicable. We use Edexcel which means we can see the pupils' scripts and some of the marks that have been awarded are bizarre - a decent kid producing a fairly plodding piece of writing awarded 32/40 where a v able kid who produced an interesting, well crafted piece got 19/40.

We've asked for a good number of re-marks. Initially the scores were sometime moving significantly; more recent ones have moved by one mark or not at all. This makes be think it's political; that the Board can't afford to have too many more big moves as Ofqual will be onto them. The whole business is a shambles.

CheeseAndQuackers Wed 20-Sep-17 20:41:15

So, one teacher reports no change on remarks, three others say marking is a problem. Anyone else?

Is this a big enough problem to warrant investigation?

KeiraTwiceKnightley Wed 20-Sep-17 20:44:10

I think it absolutely should be investigated at the highest level. What is needed is for top notch journalists to get involved. But I'm not holding my breath.

KindergartenKop Wed 20-Sep-17 20:46:58

My subject don't sit the first exam until 2018. I'm dreading it!

uglyflowers Wed 20-Sep-17 20:51:58

All papers are double marked through a computer system so I can never understand how it could be out by a lot.

BlueBerryBiscuit Wed 20-Sep-17 21:01:35

It's unusual for schools not to pay for any though cheese. Most schools at least pay for those one or two marks from a C (or equivalent).
Teachers at my school have said the same Keira, lots of 0 marks awarded when teachers can see working outs or things that are definitely answering the question but none of these marks have changed. I have to say though that the papers are not actually re marked. The marking is reviewed to ensure that the mark scheme was properly applied, even if the reviewer would give extra marks. If it meets the mark scheme criteria it doesn't change.

Waffles80 Wed 20-Sep-17 21:06:59

Head of English here. Loads of our marks have gone up. In one instance by over 15 marks.

Waffles80 Wed 20-Sep-17 21:10:02

One school local to me have spent £5k on remarks and their Progress 8 figure is radically better. Another local school who I've worked closely with have had at least 20 students go up.

If you're a parent, personally pay for the remark.

Waffles80 Wed 20-Sep-17 21:11:43

Ugly: All papers are double marked through a computer system so I can never understand how it could be out by a lot.

No they're bloody not!

multivac Wed 20-Sep-17 21:12:20

Over 25 marks in one instance at our sons' school (Eng. lit - the candidate was given zero marks for not answering a question about a text they hadn't studied, while the question they did answer wasn't marked). Countless other remarks and grade increases. I agree with the pp who said that proper investigative journalism is needed here.

multivac Wed 20-Sep-17 21:12:58

That took the kid from a 5 to a 7, I believe.

noblegiraffe Wed 20-Sep-17 21:15:52

Does AQA have a reputation for being worse than other exam boards?

AQA had massive problems hiring markers this year www.mumsnet.com/Talk/secondary/2937753-Oh-dear-god-they-still-dont-have-enough-markers-for-GCSE-English dropping the entry requirements to PGCE or just post-grads. 17,000 papers were still unmarked close to the deadline too, so it's unsurprising that it's turned out to be a shitshow.

Bobbybobbins Wed 20-Sep-17 21:16:29

We have had about 3/4 of our AQA remarks go up. Nuts. This is after the board said they would only move them up if they were outside tolerance, which has not been the case at all.

Waffles80 Wed 20-Sep-17 21:17:40

We aren't with AQA or Edexcel - marks have really gone up.

uglyflowers Wed 20-Sep-17 21:18:36

Waffles - yes they are. I was an AQA GCSE English marker for a few years and unless they were lying to me, what I was told.

Noodlestudent Wed 20-Sep-17 21:18:47

I actually got lower than expected in English language this year! I was getting 7s all year and got a 6, not that bad but was a bit taken back. My English literature is getting remarked so might become an 8, hopefully! In aqa exams i have 3 different exams that are getting remarked and it is quite frustrating

ThePinkOcelot Wed 20-Sep-17 21:23:17

This has actually just happened with my dd. She got a 2, which is a total fail. English lit wasn't her strong point but for the work she put in, I couldn't understand the result. Neither could her teacher. It was put in for remark and has come back as a 4. Double the mark of the original. The school requested the remark, so I didn't have to pay. The school have also written to AQA asking how this could have happened. It's an absolute disgrace!

Waffles80 Wed 20-Sep-17 21:23:39

I mark and have done for years. They aren't double marked. Seeded exam scripts marked by senior examiners are planted within your marking allocation and they flag up inaccuracies (or are supposed to).

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