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English Language GCSE marking ‘a shitshow’

(65 Posts)
noblegiraffe Wed 26-Jun-19 23:51:46

It not being my subject I’m not quite sure what’s going on, but this twitter thread is disturbing reading:

Comments seem to suggest it’s AQA. Best get ready to request marking reviews...

OP’s posts: |
keiratwiceknightly Thu 27-Jun-19 00:44:30

English Lang marking has been an absolute joke since the day the new spec started. It's so subjective anyway, and so badly paid/administered that it's no surprise it's all collapsing. We use Edexcel and all our papers are published online - this helps a bit with quality control as teachers can literally see what students have been awarded - but it still makes v little sense a lot of the time.

I remember the first year, aqa were still advertising for markers in mid-July, with the strap line that it "was great cpd for anyone who had just completed their pgce". Desperate.

keiratwiceknightly Thu 27-Jun-19 00:45:33

It was the lack of quality in examining the English qualification that finally did for KS3 Sats...

herculepoirot2 Thu 27-Jun-19 07:07:19

I marked Lit last year and again thought the standardisation was dodgy, but for Language we had “training” where the mind boggled at some of the marks given for Lang Q5. It was like you had to be George Orwell to get more than 8/24, but once what you had written was good enough for “some”, you could be Tolstoy or Boris Johnston and they might still give you 9 or 23.

noblegiraffe Thu 27-Jun-19 16:14:22

Hmmm, I see the twitter thread has been deleted. I’m not surprised really.

But given the amount of money paid to these exam boards, why are they not tighter on their procedures?

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LolaSmiles Thu 27-Jun-19 17:58:44

I have friends who examine and they've also said it is a shit show. This year is worse in their opinion.

The examiners are being given different advice on marking compared to the AQA training given to centres (e.g. a Literature assessment objective being apparently roughly 1/3 of the marks on a question but its best fit, but seeded answers scoring almost top marks without hitting 1/3 of the bullet points in the mark scheme).

Even between centres when I've compared notes with teachers in other regions there's contradictions between regions for Language and Literature.

Nyon Thu 27-Jun-19 19:56:14

The examiners are being given different advice on marking compared to the AQA training given to centres (e.g. a Literature assessment objective being apparently roughly 1/3 of the marks on a question but its best fit, but seeded answers scoring almost top marks without hitting 1/3 of the bullet points in the mark scheme).

This ^. It’s my sixth year marking this year and it’s been awful. The seeded papers are insane and students who would have gained level 4-5 in previous years now get full marks wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that grade boundaries had to be moved down last year for Lit

LolaSmiles Thu 27-Jun-19 20:09:21

It's awful. Cynically, it's almost like they're over marking to make the boundaries look better.
The problem is that they keep changing what they want all the time, which makes it difficult to accurately assess internally because even if you don't use grade boundaries, we have no accurate idea of what a "band 4" looks like when this year low band 3 responses are being falsely awarded band 4.

impossibletoday Sat 29-Jun-19 11:08:35

noblegiraffe Sat 29-Jun-19 14:20:16

Now the person who tweeted has deleted their account as well. Hope they didn’t get into trouble.

The whole exam marking system seems to be a completely subjective shambles for subjects like English and History. Because maths marking is pretty solid I never really realised how bad it is.

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idontgetpaidenoughforthis Sun 30-Jun-19 09:46:34

I saw the article and as a parent of a child who struggled with English felt quite deflated. He will be on thin line between getting a 3 or a 4 so poor marking will not help 😞

neddle Sun 30-Jun-19 09:53:57

My daughter did her GCSEs last year and got a 4 for English language and literature. She was devastated as it meant she couldn’t do one of the a levels she wanted and it severely limited her choice for a replacement.
All her grades were as predicted except these two which were 3 grades lower. A remark didn’t change them and she’s had to settle for a subject she’s not keen on and won’t help with her career path.

fedup21 Sun 30-Jun-19 09:56:09

@noblegiraffe. What was the general gist of the twitter comments?

sandgrown Sun 30-Jun-19 10:00:43

Hope this is not true. My son struggled with English and got a 3 last year so has just re taken his English. Desperately hoping for a 4 so he can take the course he wants next year

noblegiraffe Sun 30-Jun-19 10:17:27

@fedup21 the main gist is in the Telegraph article posted upthread. That when they had the standardisation meeting to argue the markscheme debate wasn’t allowed and so there’s disagreement about how to mark the questions. The standardisation scripts which are supposed to set the benchmark (e.g. this is what a 4 mark answer looks like) are not good, so instead of looking at it and going ‘oh, I get what they are looking for’, people are going ‘huh, how did that get 4 marks?’. Which means marking could be all over the place.

Which means people should be getting ready to appeal dubious or borderline results.

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keiratwiceknightly Sun 30-Jun-19 10:20:36

That article is from last year though. (This year's marking remains a mess, but just for accuracy...!)

noblegiraffe Sun 30-Jun-19 10:22:51

The article is from a couple of days ago, based on the twitter thread?

OP’s posts: |
Pythonesque Sun 30-Jun-19 10:34:01

Our daughter is at the other end - predicted 8/9 s across the board, and wants to do Engish and History at A level. We had already realised that to an extent, in those subjects whether she gets 7, 8 or 9 could be quite random.

Mind you, where I grew up, after some very discrepant results in our school leaving English exams, my mother was told something that we then proved when my younger sister did hers - the initial sorting to grade essays into bands for marking, was being done solely on length (in pages). So she practised writing bigger and filling space and got super marks confused

idontgetpaidenoughforthis Sun 30-Jun-19 10:49:16

@keiratwiceknightly the article is dated 28 June 2019

foreverinthelightsyoumake Sun 30-Jun-19 11:09:31

Remarks aren't happening any more in any case.

fedup21 Sun 30-Jun-19 11:11:08

Remarks aren't happening any more in any case.

What happens if you appeal?

noblegiraffe Sun 30-Jun-19 11:15:51

Papers aren’t remarked, there’s a review of marking. If the mark could have been fairly awarded by an examiner according to the mark scheme then it stands, even if the reviewer would have personally given a higher mark.

BUT if the mark schemes are unclear then dodgy marks could well be slipping through the initial marking.

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foreverinthelightsyoumake Sun 30-Jun-19 11:16:35

You can't, basically. They won't remark looking for an extra mark here and there any more. It's only if it's way out, like a 6 paper was given a 3. As long as it's deemed roughly correct, that is what the kid gets.

MaryBerrysBomberJacket Sun 30-Jun-19 12:52:55

I'm not English but I've had a similar issue since the change in spec. I've argued so much about levelled questions as I didn't agree with some of the seeds and even for a simple 2 mark question there were allowing something, again on a seed, scientifically incorrect. At the same time for the high end questions the maths question s are incredibly demanding and ridiculous in terms of rounding.

I've found it so much harder since the new spec appeared and I've been doing this for years.

keiratwiceknightly Sun 30-Jun-19 14:46:43

Ok that's weird... it linked to a totally different article before!

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