Dance examiners(8 Posts)
Just wondered if dance exam results are heavily dependent on the examiner on the day? Do some have higher expectations than others? Sometimes we have lovely examiners and all the girls do really well and occasionally we have a grumpy one who seem to be harsher and overall results are lower. Seems unfair but that's life I guess
In my experience - DD is on to grade 4 or 5 in tap, modern, ballet so there have been a 'few' exams on the way - 'numbers of marks' seem to be quite variable by examiner BUT overall grades seem to be fairly consistent.
So the numbers and proportions of merits / distinctions seems to be about constant, but with some examiners the distinctions are 97 marks, with others they are 87, even though the numbers of examinees on each side of the distinction / merit boundary seem to be roughly the same.
However, DD's dance school is quite 'high performing' - in the sense that in all the years DD has danced there I can only remember 2 children getting passes in any exam across all the genres in any grade. It may be that with a more 'balanced range' of abilities entering exams, the proportions may change more by examiner.
Dd1's first exam the teacher reckoned the marks were about 10 (RAD) below what she would expect. This was shown to be pretty accurate the next time they did exams really.
One time though one local group had a slightly weird one where they were a little down on distinctions compared to normal, but not more than a couple. Some of the distinctions were a slight surprise, and some were a surprise they didn't get one. But there was a noticable gap in marks. Distinctions were over 75, and almost all the distinctions got 75 or 76. But then the next marks (Merit) the highest was 69, so 6 mark gap.
My theory was that the examiner was a tough marker, but then looked at the results before she handed them over, and realised that the lack of distinctions would be noticed. So she upped those who had 70 and over to be in the distinction level, was still a bit low on numbers and so upped a couple who were on the 67/68/69 level, but not them all, hence the slight random look.
At the dc's dance school it is unusual to get below a merit too, however, they tend to do the grades about a year later in age compared to other local groups who have a bigger range of marks.
I also think the examiner is inclined to choose what mark they think then share it out between the different catagories, as people are always pretty consistant what they get. Usually mostly one mark (out of 10) for all the catagories.
But the same is true of music exams-when I was a child I had an examiner one year who got struck off the board for hardly passing anyone in a year. I got 100. (pass mark)
Overall the girls marks were lower in this years exams despite the same preparation as previous exams so they were a bit disappointed. I guess it's just one persons opinion on a particular day and if you are in a negative frame of mind then you can find fault in everything. Two examiners would give a more balanced opinion.
Interestingly, to add to my comment above, exactly what I described seems to have happebned to DD in this last set of exams. She took MT on one day, with one examiner, and tap the next, with a different examiner (for complicated reasons). Both exams were in her dance school, and the little group she went into the exam studio with were almost identical.
Looking down the overall lists, the distribution of Distinctions / Merits is pretty much exactly as would have been predicted on both days.
However, DD's mark for MT was 88 (distinction is 80) and for Tap 81. Those are consistent with the marks for all of her little group, who are of similar abilities, and all report that they felt the tap went pretty much exactly as well, if not better, than the MT (amd definitely better than DD's ballet last term, in which she got 97). It seems that both examiners had the same opinion of what constituted a 'Distinction', but the marks that they typically gave in awardng a distinction were somewhat different.
But is that because tap demands more specific technique than musical theatre?
No - the other MT exams were held on the same day as DD's tap, and the MT marks (though not overall levels) were lower for children taking it on the second day than on the first.
Our teacher certainly thought so and has exchanged strongly worded letters with RADA about one particular examiner.
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