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A Level History Coursework - remarking new for 2018

(16 Posts)
Doublescoop Tue 08-May-18 13:16:36

My DD had her History coursework back two weeks ago and she was given one week to decide whether to get it remarked. With exams being so close and the coursework representing 20% of the total mark, she decided she didn't want to get it remarked as she would rather just crack on with revision. As all parents might say, she worked really hard on her coursework and despite getting over 75% in two of the marked sections, she dropped marks in the third, lowering overall mark. She is aiming for an A this summer. Whilst her approach might be sensible, she was a little disappointed with her overall mark. The letter she was given did not offer much guidance about the process and I called the school for clarification. Plus her brother might be taking A Level History so useful when thinking ahead.
I was told it is a rigorous process, marked by teachers, moderated, etc, to trust the school teachers' judgement and also that this was a new process to everyone as only introduced by JCQ this year. My DD should talk to her History teachers about it and go from there. Then we ran out of time. And then we've just had Bank Holiday.
After reading another thread on here, it turns out that JCQ offer guidelines and even a template for schools to send out. Her letter omitted much of the template.
After having no issues up to GCSE, A Levels have been a rough ride at our school and feels like only Oxbridge candidates get a look in. We may consider moving DS for Sixth Form. No chips on my shoulder, no helicopter here, just want a fair system, at least whilst they are in school, real world is another matter I know.
Just wondering what has happened at other schools and how long students were given to request a review. Exams Officer never once mentioned we could request a copy of the script beforehand and other points on template:
Template is here:
Thank you to another MN member who posted this link on another thread, I am sorry I can't remember but will try and find.
I appreciate school doesn't want everyone requesting a remark but feels like they left out info deliberately to avoid anyone requesting.

OP’s posts: |
catslife Tue 08-May-18 16:22:57

dd isn't taking History but is in Y13 taking A levels. We were sent a very long letter back in March by her sixth form with all the dates for marks being given to students and also deadlines to request a review and the date the work had to be sent to the exam board (awarding body). I remember that if you requested a review it had to be sent in very quickly to the sixth form a week to 10 days was fairly normal.
All dds coursework has been in-line with her grade predictions so we are happy.

Doublescoop Tue 08-May-18 19:33:08

Thanks catslife.

OP’s posts: |
ChocolateWombat Tue 08-May-18 19:48:56

I would say 2 things - firstly, there has to be a deadline. You were given it. It isn't obligatory to give a letter about individual pieces of coursework from individual subjects, just that kids are told they have the right to appeal the marking (not the teaching, just the marking) after they have seen the marked version. If you don't meet the deadline, you miss out....same as opportunities for re marks of exam scripts - there has to be a deadline and they can't budge on it.

Secondly, schools don't tend to mark down. They tend to over mark, because of course they want their kids to get the best marks possible. Where the Board alters coursework marks it tends to be marked down, rarely up. When you ask for it to be re-marked you are asking the school itself to remark it - you would only do this if your child has looked at the markscheme and thinks it has not been applied properly - ie it is not annotated in relation to the markscheme etc.

Be aware marks can go down as well as up when internally remarked.

So being a bit disappointed in the mark or feeling a student wasn't well supported (and it is an Independnet research essay - so whilst support is given, the research and writing up has to be independent) isn't grounds for asking the school to remark. Feeling the school hasn't internally moderated the marking or has not applied the markscheme is.

So, you have probably missed the boat on this. Even if you hadn't, you would need to be pretty confident there was negligence in marking to go for a remark, and unless the school is doing a bad job, won't get more marks. Schools have to offer the opportunity for a remark and it is right they do have to, but the expectation is that few students will take up that offer and it is there for when crap marking occurs.

Lastly, remember that often half of the coursework goes off for external moderation. Another 'check' is built in then - schools are commended or ticked off for their marking and marks are changed by the board - as I say, usually down and rarely up.

I think you've missed the boat and it's not really clear why you want a re mark. Are you saying you think the school was incompetent in its marking and didn't apply the markscheme? That really is the grounds for a remark....but only if you meet the time criteria. Schools have to meet the requirement to tell people of their option for a remark and a timescale, but students have to meet the deadline requirement too.

ChocolateWombat Tue 08-May-18 20:00:58

And by the way, Centres had to submit their marks a few days ago and in follow up, the Board has already named scripts to go for moderation with a deadline of being sent today or tomorrow.

Those deadlines you were given are strict deadlines to fit in with the tight moderation and results timescale. Students didn't get lomg to challenge the marking but the dates were clear and they had to get onto it.....letting time run away with you, if you think the mark scheme was mis administered was a mistake, but not one that can now be rectified. And this is something that students themselves are required to challenge, not parents. Students know the mark schemes and are shown their marked essays or can request to see them.

Do you have grounds for thinking it was not marked according to the markscheme? If so, why on earth didn't your daughter ask for a remark? Or is it more of a feeling a bit disappointed at this point and just hoping might have been able to scrape a few more marks rather than it was wrongly marked? You don't really sound as if you have serious concerns about the marking, but are just a bit disappointed about how she did. Coursework remarks are not intended for that purpose and won't result in higher marks unless the Head of Dept who remarks discovers the markscheme wasn't applied (usually picked up already by internal moderation) - they then have to document the appeal over marking and the remarking process etc. Bearing all of this in mind, schools are increasingly careful about the marking - and remember again,nth at they tend to over mark rather than under mark. It is more likely your DDs coursework will be marked down by the moderator now, than the mark increased by a remark.....which you e missed anyway.

Relax and move on. The exams are a month away. It's time to focus on those, accept the coursework and not see it or use it as an excuse now. There was a chance for a remark if you'd really wanted it and you didn't, suggesting you weren't seriously concerned about malpractice.

Donthate Tue 08-May-18 20:05:00

Submission date is actually 15th so hasn’t passed. Speak to her history teacher for more info.

Doublescoop Tue 08-May-18 22:26:39

Thanks ChocolateWombat for your detailed reply. Are you in the teaching profession? I didn't mean to sound blase or lacklustre about remarking but her school doesn't accept challenge very well. This close to exams and such tight deadlines you do have to think about what can be achieved. Hopefully not dripfeeding but DD suffers from a health condition and symptoms can worsen with stress so we always have to balance and be guided by her. She has been doing really well in her essays hence the disappointment, couldn't see why she would drop marks on an area she has been doing well at. However, she didn't see the point of remarking, said nothing would be changed and she was indeed worried it could go the other way. It was only after seeing JCQ guidelines on MN that I thought to post. As this is a new process introduced by them, I just wanted to know if our school was isolated or if this was common practice.

She didn't know you get to see the marked version before you request a remark. That's the point. I asked the Exams Officer to explain the process and she referred me to the letter. This asked for name, why you are requesting a review, date and deadlines. This was more 'how to do it' rather than 'what happens' so I asked for more info such as how to know whether you need a remark if you haven't seen the script and she didn't say that you get the coursework back and can then decide. I know we have missed the deadline. And yes schools have to have deadlines but they should also give the correct and full information so students and parents can make an informed decision. I know schools and teachers are doing the best they can with limited resources but just want them to be fair and accurate.

What do I hope to achieve here ? By hearing about practice in other schools, peace of mind and confirmation that our school has acted fairly. If it has, great, if it hasn't, then just have to be forewarned when DS eventually goes into Yr 12 and ask the right questions at the start.

OP’s posts: |
ChocolateWombat Wed 09-May-18 07:25:46

I think you said that when you range the school,not hey said to speak to the History teacher. That was good advice, for understanding where her weaknesses lay, for understanding further how it was marked, seeing the marked script (you will never be given a copy to take away - just given a chance for a quick look) being advised about whether a remark was worth pursuing being able to act on the basis of more information. What did the History teacher say at that point? Was DD reassured or worried at that point - or is it more that you, rather than her felt worried about it all?
School gave good advice following your query about talking to the teacher further, so being able to decide based on full info. Of course that would have to happen within the timescales available and allow enough time for a remark, should DD have chosen to have one. It's a lesson in timescales and how once you are into public exams, those deadlines really do apply - make sure you have all the info about remarks and deadlines when you get the GCSE results in August.

In the end, I think the information given by schools varies and exactly what is said is up to them, as long as students are told they have a right to ask for a remark if they think the work has been mis marked or there has been malpractice, to be told the deadlines and to seek further advice from the school and teacher if concerned. As only a tiny fraction if students need to get a remark, this info is sufficient because more detailed info can be given to anyone considering it - that info was available from your DDs History teacher.

It doesn't sound to me that the school has been unfair. The info was given, there was a short letter, they gave good advice to your query, and your DD chose not to act.

The deadline for submission of marks has passed, even if some schools are still in process of packing up and sending the scripts specifically requested by the board, so the point where the school can remark and alter marks has passed.

I agree though that your DD could still speak to her teacher about the coursework - not for a remark, but perhaps just to say she was disappointed and to understand further why she didn't do as well as hoped, for reassurance about the exams and for any further advice she might need. I'm sure the teacher will be happy to speak to her about it all - would have been better and given more options if done within the timescale for remarks, but still useful moving forward and for reassurance.

Hope it all goes really well ell for her.

RolyRocks Wed 09-May-18 10:34:58

Submission date is actually 15th so hasn’t passed. Speak to her history teacher for more info.

Yes, as ChocolateWombat said, the deadline for the work to be sent of is the 15th May but the marks have to be given prior to that, so that the centre can be informed of who is in their sample and be able to send off the work by the 15th.

Donthate Wed 09-May-18 17:01:28

At my college marks have not been sent off yet.

cricketballs3 Wed 09-May-18 18:04:28

With regards to deadlines whilst it is the 15th for marks to be entered and sales to be with moderators a lot of centres have already entered and sent samples. I'm a moderator (different subject) and I already have 5 centres who have sent their samples through

DumbledoresApprentice Wed 09-May-18 18:35:52

I’m a history teacher. I sent my coursework marks off today. I gave the marks to my class and let them look over (but not take away) the final pieces with my annotations. The exams office gave them a deadline of last Friday to request remoderation. It sounds like your DD’s school have done it very similarly. Their process sounds fine to me apart from the fact that it should have been clearer that she could ask to see the comments and marking.
I’ve had a couple of students disappointed with their marks and wishing they could still make improvements (not allowed, no amendments can be made once it has been marked) but none who wanted to challenge the application of the marking criteria. At this stage I think your DD is very sensible to focus on the 80% examined element, especially if there is no real reason for thinking the marking is wrong.
In my experience it is much more common for teachers to mark too generously than too severely. We are always looking to justify giving as many marks as possible.

LoniceraJaponica Wed 09-May-18 21:32:05

Is the 15th the deadline for all A level coursework?

DD is doing geography and the guidleines for their NEA is that they got one shot at it unlike the history and English students who were given the opportunity to improve their coursework.

DD has told me that hers has been selected for moderating.

DumbledoresApprentice Wed 09-May-18 22:13:09

I’m pretty certain it’s the same deadline for all A Level coursework (it is for all of the A Levels we offer at my school). Our exams office has given departments a deadline of Friday morning to ensure it all arrives in time.

ChocolateWombat Thu 10-May-18 20:12:50

Schools have an absolute deadline for marks to be sent off, and encouraged to do it asap. In some schools, the students will have completed their coursework by Christmas or Feb half term and had their marks for a while...simply because some schools choose to do it and finish it off earlier so they can then focus on the examined units. Those may have marked the coursework weeks ago and given the students the chance to challenge and sent the marks off at the earliest opportunity. Once the board receives the marks, it triggers the request for scripts - schools only have a short period to send the requested scripts - so schools will have different deadlines for sending scripts, depending on when the marks were submitted.

Some schools and colleges are very chaotic. They do not carefully comply with sending exactly the info required along with the coursework, in the formats required - it is those schools whose marks are more likely to be challenged and makes the moderators perhaps look more closely at the marking itself.

Again, as I and others have said, schools are far more likely to over mark than under mark - they desperately try to squeeze as many marks out of the markscheme as possible for their students and to be as generous as they possibly can be, without being marked down.....but some are too generous and the whole batch are marked down. It's much rarer for marks to go up.

With History coursework, complete marked work cannot be amended and improved. So once it is submitted as a final and complete piece of work and subsequently marked, that is the end.

ChocolateWombat Thu 10-May-18 20:21:48

And there being some students who are disappointed withhe If marks is usual. It's the same with exams - some students were expected to do better, or expect to do better themselves, but simply don't perform as well as hoped when it comes to it.

What's really important with coursework is to listen carefully to all the advice given, be fully aware of the markscheme and keep referring to it when working, and to apply the advice given - too often students are advised to do X, Y and Z, but only actually do X. Being predicted a certain grade doesn't mean the coursework will achieve that grade, unless it meets the standard for that grade. Sometimes students or parents seem to feel entitled to their predicted grade or better to be given on their coursework, without seeming to grasp that the coursework has to be of that standard. Coursework isn't always the thing that boosts the overall mark, but can often be the thing which brings it down, especially for students who are not as diligent and hardworking over the long term, which is the period over which coursework happens. Teachers may have an idea of how the coursework is shaping up, but until that final complete version is submitted for marking, they don't know exactly what mark a student will get and then find some have done better than expected and some worse than work along the way suggested, and some have done better than their predicted grade and some worse. It's a piece of Independnet work - there is guidance and help from teachers, but at the end of the day, the student has to produce it and what they produce determines the mark.

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