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Anyone else struggling with grading?

(30 Posts)
CuckooCuckooClock Mon 20-Apr-20 19:18:24

I’m feeling totally overwhelmed with the stress of giving predicted grades to my year 11s.
We have been told today that we are not allowed to predict more than 2 grades higher than the most recent mock without evidence.
I feel a bit sick thinking about bright kids who didn’t take the mocks seriously so did terribly. Now I’m going to be giving 2s and 3s to kids who would have achieved 5s and 6s.
I know they can resit in the autumn and that the usual system is unfair too but I feel the weight of the responsibility. And I don’t like it.
How’s everyone else coping?

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fuckweasel Mon 20-Apr-20 19:32:18

SQA have just released their guidance; grades subdivided into 19 separate bands in total! Thankfully I teach tiny classes.

Cismyfatarse1 Mon 20-Apr-20 19:38:12

Scotland so might not be the same but we are awarding in line with previous years too. We are not predicting individually, but as a department. And one we have numbers we are going to compare with previous years' to ensure we are broadly in line.

Big school and core subject, however, so we have high numbers which makes that easier.

CuckooCuckooClock Mon 20-Apr-20 19:51:46

That does sound different. So how will each student be assigned a grade?

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Piggywaspushed Mon 20-Apr-20 20:12:15

It's a lot of responsibility. I am finding it stressful. Do you have evidence that they are better than their mocks? We get the chance to write a supporting comment.

Our year groups are huuuuuuge so it's going to be very hard to rank them in core subjects!

CuckooCuckooClock Mon 20-Apr-20 20:17:07

My only evidence is through conversation and professional judgement. Which doesn’t count in this case.
Thankfully we only have to rank our own classes then the HoD sorts out the year. No idea how they’re going to do that. Huge school, core subject. Don’t envy their job at all.

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TheFallenMadonna Mon 20-Apr-20 20:17:38

Theee grades higher than the mock is a lot though. I'm struggling with some of mine because I'm in a PRU and they have only been with us a short time, so evidence is sparse.

CuckooCuckooClock Mon 20-Apr-20 20:21:08

I mistyped - it’s actually only 1 grade higher. If 2 or more then we need evidence.
For most students it’s not an issue but for a few it’s not going to reflect their ability at all.

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Cathpot Mon 20-Apr-20 20:24:32

I feel better having had a chat with my HOD. She has sent me our predictions and then the actual grades from the last two years so we can see how close we were .

Then she added the P8 score for the school and the predicted grades from the Ks2 data, that all helps with confidence.

From what I understand the data isn’t going to be looked at individually they will check to see it falls within expected patterns For your school and your intake, and I presume as long as it doesn’t ring alarm bells they will leave it alone.

Our HOD will rank the pupils by their predicted grades then we will have meetings with the other teachers in our subject to battle out the final order. I was worried about that - how will I know how my firm 6 pupils matches up with the assessment of the other teacher’s firm 6 pupil - but thinking about it it’s only the kids at the edges that need the really careful negotiation . If we have say 18 kids predicted a 6 and if our grades then get moderated up or down realistically that will only affect the students at the edges of a grade boundary. The middle group of kids on a 6 will be ‘safe’.

If you have a child you are confident in normal times would have got a 5 but your school is saying they can only get a 3 because of their mock surely that will mess up your data pattern?

MsAwesomeDragon Mon 20-Apr-20 20:30:03

It's quite rare to improve by 2 or more grades though isn't it?
It's certainly a topic of conversation every year when we get a couple who improve more than one grade as a "wow, didn't X do brilliantly".
At my school the average improvement from the march mocks (which they did the week before the schools closed) to the summer is about 1/3 of a grade for maths. I don't know about other subjects, but that's consistently (over about 5 years, as that's how long we've done march mocks) the average improvement for us.
It does make it relatively easy for us to set these grades. Not easy, because it's still stressful and difficult to rank the pupils, but relatively easier than in schools where they did their mocks a lot earlier, or other subjects where the grades are more changeable.

Sorry you're finding it so stressful. It is a huge responsibility!!!

Bridecilla Mon 20-Apr-20 20:30:04

Struggling massively and have lost sleep over it. I teach re-sit classes and adults at GCSE level. Only had them since September so very little data to use . MUCH stronger cohort than previous years. The begging emails are making it worse.

FabulouslyElegantTits Mon 20-Apr-20 20:35:44

Can I ask, as a parent of a year 11 who got mainly 4s, a couple of 5s and 6 (Year 6 SATS predicted 7/8s but he's been a bit of a prat) in their mocks - could you expect this summers results to go up a grade?

I want to call all his teachers and say he was really starting to knuckle down, was working with a tutor and finally had a goal - 6th form. Obviously I won't as that would make me a knob!! But 6th form is his only option as he really doesn't l in W our local FE college.

Sorry to be a pest, I feel like I'm finding out a poster is a GP and asking them about my dicky knee!! 😆

FabulouslyElegantTits Mon 20-Apr-20 20:37:57

Our mocks were January

MsAwesomeDragon Mon 20-Apr-20 21:25:02

Fabulous I don't think anyone can say. We don't know your child, we don't know the culture of the school, etc. I only know about my own subject at my own school, based on after school revision sessions happening at the same rate and attendance as previous years.

The best people to ask would be your child's teachers, but they won't be allowed to tell you much, if anything, at this stage. We've been categorically instructed NOT to share our grades and ranking with parents, as they may change, especially for those we place at the top/bottom of the ranking for each grade.

I'm sorry, but you'll just need to wait and see. It's an incredibly stressful time for all the (relatively conscientious) year 11s and their parents. We know that, and we sympathise.

Comefromaway Mon 20-Apr-20 21:32:51

It's quite rare to improve by 2 or more grades though isn't it?

Is it? Dd went from a 4 to an 8 in Physics and from a 6 to an 8 in several subjects. And she took her mocks very seriously.

Ds' did worse in his February mocks in some subjects than he did in his November ones, but better in others. His mocks were poor due to certain things not being in place and the school show.

Piggywaspushed Mon 20-Apr-20 22:07:36

I think grades in some subjects are a bit more 'volatile' than maths.

English can be affected by students leaving whole sections out, for example.

MsAwesomeDragon Mon 20-Apr-20 22:18:08

Yes, I suppose I'm thinking about maths because it's my subject and we don't have such long questions that can affect grades so hugely. It would be rare in my school to improve by 2 or more grades in any subject between the last set of mocks and the summer. Possibly because of the timing of the mocks and the way our schemes of work are set up.

I do appreciate that in other subjects it may be different and reading questions more carefully, making sure you do the biggest sections etc will make more of a difference.

Comefromaway Mon 20-Apr-20 22:58:36

Dd got a 6 in her maths mock and an 8 in the real thing.

In his Maths November mock Ds did 3 papers. In paper 1 he was just a few marks off a 6; paper 2 a secure 5 and paper 3 he had a meltdown and got 3 marks. In his Feb assessments he got a 5. He was predicted a 6/7.

So who knows!

likeafishneedsabike Mon 20-Apr-20 23:24:15

I’m not sure that you could call this system ‘teacher assessment’. Basically they want a rank order of students from each exam centre. They will then use the grade curve from the past 2/3/4 years to divide the cohort into grades. How the school determines the rank order is a big issue, but essentially a child will be awarded what a similarly ranked pupil from last year’s cohort was awarded. When you think about it like this, it’s not so much responsibility on our shoulders. Our job is to make sure that if pupils from our classes are in the WRONG rank order place, we fight to have them moved within the overall cohort rank order.
Am I making any sense? I tried to explain this to two non teachers today and neither got it.

Easilyanxious Mon 20-Apr-20 23:49:21

Going by my son can go other way as well took his gcse last year and would of rather he was judged on mocks and classwork etc as he did much worse in the real things
So for teachers think they just have to do there best but personally I think most teachers now what there students really abilities are prob better than a snapshot exam

CuckooCuckooClock Tue 21-Apr-20 08:21:46

It’s ranking the students that is the most stressful part, and we are to rank them, not on ability, but on how we think they would have performed in the summer exams. So students who we know a rubbish at exams will be pushed down to the bottom of the ranking.

I’m science and loads of really bright students fail their mocks. Its easy to have gaps that have not yet been addressed. We hadn’t even finished teaching content by the mocks!
fabulously I’m sorry I can’t offer reassurance. It must be a real worry for you. I have had parents contact me with examples of the amazing work their dc have done since school closed.
I know in the grand scheme of things it’ll all work out in the end but it feels stressful to me right now.

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Piggywaspushed Tue 21-Apr-20 08:36:46

Must admit cuckoo , I felt this was my opportunity to rank them on actual ability rather than a crystal ball as to how bad their anxiety might conceivably have been on tow days in June. I found that quite liberating.

Our school has also reminded us of exam concessions for each relevant student. We obviously can't know how much they would have worked but I have sort of added a couple of % in my head for those.

SansaSnark Tue 21-Apr-20 12:41:57

Our HoD has made a spreadsheet where we put in the percentage grades students got in their mocks and it told us what grade they would have got in the exams last year with that percentage grade. This isn't going to be used as our final grade, but it was really useful to see how some students go up quite a bit, but others (most the ones already near the top) don't seem to improve as much.

Obviously you need access to this data to make one, but it might be a useful tool for some people.

My biggest worry is that the DfE didn't really think through what they were doing when they announced this, and said lots of things that have since been backpedaled on by Ofqual. I think there will be quite a few people feeling mislead in the summer.

For parents looking to contact teachers, I actually suggest you don't. I know this must be really hard to do, but the current consultation says this could be treated as malpractice and might cause them to lose a grade altogether. The relevant section is "Students, parents and carers should not seek to influence the judgements made;attempts to do so maybe investigated by an exam board and found to constitute malpractice, which may result in sanctions."

Taken from here: assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/879627/Exceptional_arrangements_for_exam_grading_and_assessment_in_2020.pdf

It's worth reading and responding to the consultation, if you haven't already.

BlessYourCottonSocks Tue 21-Apr-20 12:50:33

I've not started yet as SLT are meeting this week to discuss all of this and what is expected of staff.

I'm a HoD who teaches all the Y11 cohort though, so at least I don't need to standardise with other members of the Dept.

I'm putting it aside mentally at the moment until I know exactly how I'm supposed to tackle it.

Piggywaspushed Tue 21-Apr-20 14:27:25

Interesting that sansa because we have proper data geek guy in our school and yet he has given us nothing like that level of data (he may well give it t HOFs when they interrogate the ranking I guess).

I'd like to know who 'typically' made progress and how much from mocks.

In my actual HOD subject it's just me so dead easy in some ways, but my school does keep forgetting that coursework subjects exist!

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