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French GCSE controlled assessment mark changed from A* to D

(18 Posts)
hypotypo Fri 26-Aug-16 11:46:14

Can anyone explain how ds1's French controlled assessment can have been marked down from the A* given by the school to a D by the exam board (Edexcel)? We are really baffled by this and won't be able to ask the school until next week.

Ds1 is very good at French and got full UMS marks for all the papers he sat for GCSE. He has got A* for every controlled assessment he has ever done and I assume these were submitted to the exam board. Yet when his results came back yesterday it showed a D for the controlled assessment. This meant he got an A overall rather than an A* which he is very annoyed about.

Does anyone know of a legitimate reason for the controlled assessment being marked down by so many grades? It just seems extraordinary for there to be such a massive difference between what the school said he would get and the exam board's verdict. Especially when he is clearly good at French and got full UMS marks otherwise.

We assumed we could get this looked at again by Edexcel but I have been reading that it is not possible to get coursework remarked unless the whole cohort is remarked. Can anyone shed any light on this and tell me if there is any hope of getting it changed? At the moment it just seems that some kind of mistake must have been made and that it is very unfair if it can't be put right.

TeenAndTween Fri 26-Aug-16 12:06:04

The school should be able to tell you.

The best guess I could give is that the school screwed up on the content for the task title, and so he didn't actually cover the required content but the school didn't realise?

hypotypo Fri 26-Aug-16 12:15:26

Thanks for the reply. That would be infuriating if the school had got it so wrong. I guess we shall have to wait and see. It's very annoying for ds1 who was determined to meet his predicted grades and is very upset to have missed them. Maybe if it is the school's mistake he won't take it as his own failure at least.

TeenAndTween Fri 26-Aug-16 12:31:22

I'm in no way an expert. My DD did 2 MFL GCSEs last year, so it's my best guess based on my reading around the subject. (Unless of course there has been some kind of admin error).

YoureAllABunchOfBastards Fri 26-Aug-16 14:13:08

The school will have marked the CA with a number - how that equates to a grade is determined by the exam board.

A couple of things could have happened - the grade boundaries could have moved up or the school could have misinterpreted last year's boundaries in giving the A*. Alternatively, when the recordings were moderated the school's marking could have been adjusted. All of these scenarios will affect the whole cohort, not just your son.
Although the drop sounds dramatic, in some subjects/units there are only 5 - 10 marks between a low A* and a top D.

YoureAllABunchOfBastards Fri 26-Aug-16 14:16:41

Actually, looking at this there is a significant amount of marks between the boundaries:

qualifications.pearson.com/content/dam/pdf/Support/Grade-boundaries/GCSE/1606-GCSE-Grade-Boundaries-Template-Final.pdf

Also, sorry for assuming it was the speaking component - I know it can be speaking or writing for French.

Nzou1050 Fri 26-Aug-16 14:25:35

An A* to a D for edexcel MFL GCSEs is a long way. Is it his written or spoken grade that has dropped? Teachers mark the speaking controlled assessments and then send a sample to the board. If the exam board agree with the marking then the whole cohort retains the marks awarded by the teacher. If the board isn't happy they can request more samples and adjust all marks up or down but I can't see them adjusting a whole cohort down 4 grades as I can't believe the teachers could get it that wrong.

If it is written controlled assessment then they aren't actually marked by teachers. We can tell students what grade we think the pieces will be given for the written component but the mark is solely down to the exam board. I have seen some very questionable marking by edexcel of wriitten controlled assessments.

Not 100% sure of remark procedure but I think if it's written you should be able to get one. With speaking assessments depends on what's happened ie. does it affect whole cohort. School will be able to advise on this.

hypotypo Fri 26-Aug-16 14:39:12

Thanks for those replies. It is the written controlled assessment that has dropped. The thing is he is actually very good at French so it seems impossible it can be only a D even if the exam board didn't think it was an A*. He got A* / 90 UMS for the speaking controlled assessment (that has not dropped) and then maximum UMS for the listening and reading papers. Something very odd seems to have happened but it seems we will just have to wait until school can shed some light on it.

Leslieknope45 Fri 26-Aug-16 14:46:01

It means the teacher marked it themselves and gave it a number which based on last years marks was an A- but this year this may have changed.
We don't actually send our marks to the exam boards so they don't know what we give them and unfortunately the CA writing marks from exam boards usually show no rhyme nor reason. I thought I was sending off A grade pieces (marked by a friend of mine who is an exam board maker)- but found out yesterday he got a D. Makes no sense to me, will make no sense to the parents.
To be honest the amount of schools that skew the results by cheating means that work that goes in that is good but perhaps has a few mistakes is brought down so low by the exam boards.

It's disheartening. It's clearly not that the teacher cannot follow a mark scheme if the speaking marks were maintained.

jeanne16 Fri 26-Aug-16 14:47:46

You can get the written CA remarked. As someone has said, the A* was only an indicator of what the school thought he should get. It is actually marked by Edexcel. However that is a huge mismatch so either the school misunderstood the task or something is amiss.

We had a remark last year and it came back unchanged. My son was 1 mark off an A* so it was annoying. You do get to see the script and my son's French teacher could not understand the harsh marking.

In reality I believe marking of the written CA has become increasingly harsh as so many pupils 'cheat'. To do this, a tutor writes the CA for them and they just learn it. That is why the CA has been removed from this coming year.

I am not suggesting this of your DC btw. I would have a remark and hope for the best.

Nzou1050 Fri 26-Aug-16 14:50:18

I agree, there's no way he can get a D for his writing is he's on maximum UMS for everything else. Obviously some pupils find writing more difficult but if that was the case you'd be aware of it and he wouldn't have been predicted an A*. Hopefully it's just an error that can be sorted or you're able to get a remark.

hypotypo Fri 26-Aug-16 14:58:13

It's good to hear there is the opportunity to have it remarked.

I'm now quite pleased my other children are younger and won't be doing any controlled assessments! I had originally thought it was great to know that you had two good bits of work completed before the exams started. Now I see it doesn't always work that way.

Ds1 also did Spanish GCSE and got an A* with no problems. Controlled assessments and marks all as expected. He did both French and Spanish at the same time at the same large school with several teachers teaching both languages so it seems odd if they have messed up.

Nzou1050 Fri 26-Aug-16 15:00:29

Ooo a dual linguist. Is he carrying on to A Level (just being nosy)!

hypotypo Fri 26-Aug-16 15:04:07

No, sadly not. Although he was tempted by French. He is pretty fluent in Spanish (father from Spanish speaking country) so he figures he can just learn the languages outside school, eg gap year, and use his A levels for other things. The lucky boy is an all rounder.

Nzou1050 Fri 26-Aug-16 15:08:20

That's true, now he's got the foundation with languages. Well good luck to him smile

cricketballs Fri 26-Aug-16 16:31:54

I moderate for an exam board (but completely different subject) and I have before taken marks down that significantly.

When I have it is usually down to either
a) teacher marking far too generously
b) teacher guiding students in completely the wrong direction

With my subject the whole cohorts work can be requested, but in general as it is a random sample (plus highest and lowest) if there is something amiss then it is seen throughout the same and therefore whole cohorts has the adjustment applied.

The school (if they don't agree with the moderator's report) need to do a SAR3 appeal for the entire sample

YoureAllABunchOfBastards Fri 26-Aug-16 16:47:12

As it was writing, there may have been an 'element' missing - I know that they need to show that they can use particular tenses, for example, to access the highest grades. If the teacher had not realised this them that might explain things.

clary Fri 26-Aug-16 17:04:07

You can certainly ask for a remark.

There are some oddities - I have seen students whose coursework I felt was a certain C be given a D etc.

In AQA which I teach, teachers mark the speakings and the written work is marked externally. Speakings are moderated internally and marks submitted, then some called in. These are not often changed. But the written mark is down to the examiner to some extent - so I may have submitted (for example) 2 speaking marks of 22 (a good C) and then what I felt were two good C pieces for writing - but sometimes they are marked as D (or even B smile).

I agree tho a teacher's assessment (even if just a rough idea) of a piece as A* and then it comes back as D is a massive drop. Does the teacher have copies they can look over again?

I see btw having RTFT that lots of other people say the same thing as me!! Massive well done to your DS for getting A* and A at language GCSE btw grin shame he's not carrying on. But then I would say that - good luck in what he does do.

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