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#103476 Gove-Levels

Posted by Alex Ford on 16 September 2012 - 11:23 AM

Indeed - how can schools be told to stop failing pupils when the exam system is going to be set up to deliberately fail a percentage of each year group? If all you want is to rank kids then education turns into a vicious battle between schools where improvement can only happen at the expense of others.

What do we want GCSEs to tell us? For me I think the main indicators are: Grade C - a student has a basic competence in a subject - it is a "pass" - surely we want to aim for every student to achieve this! Grade A+ - shows a student has an aptitude for a subject - suggests that they would do well with continued study - a "distinction" - I am quite happy for this to be limited to certain proportions as this is more about appropriate choices post 16. We should therefore welcome a grade inflation at grade C, although the main reason for this at the moment is league tables - unless we remove this measure of "success" the Gove Level will be perverted and debased in exactly the same way.

There are 2 main problems with GCSE at the moment. GCSEs are not too easy (not in history at least) - most papers are actually too hard in History - an A* grade of 68% this year in AQA medicine suggests that 5% of students or less hit this mark. One major issue is that exam boards have not been accountable for setting good quality papers. UMS means that papers like the one above still produced the requisite normal curve but the raw mark conversions were laughable: A*=68%, A=60%, B=52%, C=46% etc. If good students were only getting around 52% on the paper then it was fundamentally too hard. Of course UMS means that this can be smoothed over. Compare those figures to A2 where an A grade was 83%, B was 73% and C was 63% and the difference is very stark. The worst part is that good students will be put off by badly made papers and weak students will find them almost wholly inaccessible. UMS is the rotten core of GCSE.

The other major issue is that teachers are still in many cases trying to guess the test and give kids technique. Now there is nothing wrong with teaching to the test IF the test is a natural extension of the learning and helps to develop core conceptual skills. We do this in KS3 all the time! The problem lies in the fact that externally set exams end up being tacked on to the end of a teacher driven course. An externally set exam cannot reap the same benefit as an exam which is designed into the course from the very start. Year on year teachers play "guess what the examiner was thinking". And year after year, good students are penalised by examiners who know less about the course than the students themselves. This cannot be right! There are alternatives - Queensland, Australia have a system of school driven, but externally moderated exams http://www.qsa.qld.e...ess_qld_sys.pdf. This radically reprofessionalises teaching and places examination back into the hands of teachers who can then carefully build it into their courses. Naturally, this has knock on impacts for teaching load and time but surely it must be a better way to assess. Universities of course always assess in this manner. If the issue is not trusting teachers, then more money needs to be spent on training and real pedagogical development, rather than pumping money into gimmicks and short term fixes.

The point of this rant? Gove's reforms are tackling a sick system of examination, but the medicine they prescribe will not and cannot cure the illness! Only a radical rethinking of examination will be enough to really put British examinations back on top of the world.

#97301 Lesson Objectives

Posted by Sally Thorne on 11 May 2011 - 10:27 PM

I've started having a learning objective for everybody, and then success criteria based on the levels, according to whole-school policy from this year. But instead of having the levels, I've started labelling them bronze, silver and gold. Everybody wants to go for gold! - whereas "Level 6" might be a bit offputting for lower ability and to a teenager trying to fit in, differentiating yourself from the herd by being "Some" is hardly ideal.

Here's an example from a lesson I did entitled "What did Gandhi think of the British Empire?" for year 8 -

Learning Objective:
I can answer the lesson question and am prepared to use that answer when we complete the unit assessment.
Success Criteria:
Bronze: I can describe who Gandhi was and what he thought of the British Empire
Silver: I can explain how Gandhi felt about the Empire and why he felt that way
Gold: I can explain how and why Gandhi's opinion might differ from a British diplomat's

I don't ever make them write them down, either, or stick them in. I feel quite strongly that this is A Bad Thing. But, I have the box with this info in on all my slides and refer back to it lots.

#91432 New AQA Exam style questions.

Posted by Craig on 31 March 2010 - 09:47 AM

I have a few examples here. Not all of them pretty but some should be useful, or at least modified into something useful

Let me know


Attached Files

#103497 Gove-Levels

Posted by Ed Podesta on 17 September 2012 - 08:46 PM

It's not grade inflation just because teachers and students get better at reaching the required standard...it's improvement.

#103473 Gove-Levels

Posted by Ed Podesta on 16 September 2012 - 05:49 AM

More worrying for me is the creeping acceptance of the idea that a cap on the proportion of students getting the top grade is indicative of 'rigour' when, in fact, it's indivative of an exam system designed to replicate and support a class system.

#103389 NQT needing help with A Level!

Posted by DaveStacey on 09 September 2012 - 10:11 AM

Once you've got your head around the next few lessons, it might be worth having a look through some of the seminars on the forum - I've put some potenially useful links below.

As well as the exam board inset I would also try and get on a 'teaching at A Level' inset. I went on a couple by a company called dragonfly when I was in my first couple of years of teaching and they were very good. I'm sure other people will suggest others they found useful.

A final suggestion would be to go and observe teachers around the school who have a reputation for good A Level teaching. Ask your Mentor to suggest some people, and also ask if the school would provide cover for your lessons to facilitate this.


AS/A2 History Teaching

The Student As Teacher

Essay Writing Skills at AS Level

History Post -16

One final thought - if you try and do everything at once you will become overwhelmed and do nothing well. I know the temptation to try and 'get it perfect' - in the end though an overly stressed teacher is an ineffective teacher. PIck one thing. Try it, evaluate it, adopt, adjust or ditch. Then pick the next thing.

Good luck!

#103384 NQT needing help with A Level!

Posted by stephanie on 09 September 2012 - 08:50 AM

Try not to think about it being too 'different'... the techniques that you use for learning across KS3 and 4 work brilliantly at KS5 as well! You'll find that getting sixth formers to 'learn independently' will be your biggest challenge! (In my admittedly limited experience, I'd never taught A level either, I don't think many people do when training). So try to focus on building in the skill of independent learning as you go... maybe ask them to prepare lessons for each other (ie not just standing at the front reading from notes!). Maybe preparing a textbook page or a lesson for a much younger student.

But focus on lots of games, and fun, and role play, and group activities, just as you would at any other stage.

You might find that they like the security of lots of 'notes' - but I always found that I could get round this by printing sheets of 'notes' for their folders for them so that we could do more active stuff.

Above all though, just teach in a way that suits you to start with, and that you can cope with, and you'll find that as your confidence grows and as you get to know your students more, your teaching will evolve to 'fit' them.

Of course you feel out of your depth - you've never done this before! So just concentrate on the two steps ahead of you and don't worry about the whole journey.

There is a brilliant book about teaching history at A Level, the name and author escape me - and I've lent my copy to someone! I'm sure someone on here will remember. I'll post back when it pops into my head as it's sure to do :)

#102450 New version of the forum

Posted by Geoff Thomas on 17 June 2012 - 02:16 PM

it looks even more like a dating site.

You mean (gulp) History isn't about dates?

#102394 Book and film advice

Posted by Mark H. on 14 June 2012 - 07:39 PM

For the Cold War I would recommend '13 Days' about the Cuban Missile Crisis (50th anniversary this October). It's a long film but in my view one of the best (and generally most accurate) 'historicals' ever made. Contrary to popular belief Kevin Costner does not play JFK! He portrays his aide, Kenny O'Donnell. JFK is played, very well, by the Canadian actor Bruce Greenwood, and the rest of the cast, especially the actors who appear as Bobby Kennedy and Robert McNamara, are excellent.

#101392 KS3 History National Curriculum Levels

Posted by DHartley on 27 March 2012 - 03:17 PM

This is great stuff - well done.

I have also attached a KS3 grid I have been using for the past few years which goes in each students folder of assessed work. By shading in what they get for each piece of work, it visually displays their achievement over the key stage.

Attached Files

#104347 Ensuring students are working at Level 6/7?

Posted by Stewart Hogg on 19 December 2012 - 03:47 PM

For Level 8 its about them doing the work almost totally independently bar beinng given the assisgnment brief - Ive never had a Level 8 but my current Year 9 top set are working towards completing their assessments for after Christmas and am expecting them to possibly achieve that given the raft of 7's in their first assessment in October.

#104343 Ensuring students are working at Level 6/7?

Posted by Louise OG on 19 December 2012 - 09:39 AM

Agree with all of those Lesley (and am just adding them to my ideas!)
We also say for Level 6 that we need to hear the voice of the student, so their opinions based on their research.
Level 7 would also be arguing for a point of view that they don't hold using research.

Does anyone have anything about Level 8? Am struggling a bit to tell my (few) level 7 students who are above target what they should do next!

#104341 Ensuring students are working at Level 6/7?

Posted by Lesley Ann on 18 December 2012 - 10:53 PM

I plan lessons & expect work from the following:

For me Significance skill is key for level 6/7: At end of topics I get students to answer C Counsell's 5 R's or the GREAT significance criteria.

Also explaining why in detail with good knowledge.

Looking at interpretations. Questioning & evaluating sources.

Basically I set y9 work I would expect grade C/B year 10 could do in explaining, evaluating & interpretating.

#104308 Assessment For Learning

Posted by Roy Huggins on 15 December 2012 - 08:40 PM

Hi Foks,

I've just created the attached pupil dialogue sheets to go with my AFL Booklets.

The idea of the first page is that students draw a line across the graph to plot their target grade. They then plot their achievement and fill in the chart.

I've then designed a different pupil dialogue sheets for 4, 6 and 10 point questions for the International Relations Questions for OCR. They tick each the levels they have achieved and then write a summary from their peer and / or teacher assessment of their next steps.

It works. I've also designed one for the source based paper which I think I've already posted. There are lots of flaws, but I've not been able to tweak things up as we have just come out of Special Measures. However, I would like to add that I was observed 6 times and graded outstanding each time using these AFL resources. The HMI and Ofsted inspectors oved them.

Anyway, have fun and please keep on sharing. I'm pretty burnt out at the moment but I'm looking forward to getting back to life without Ofsted!

Roy :jester:

Attached File  AFL Pupil Dialogue Records 2.pptx   112.57KB   213 downloads

#104238 Who uses MAD time and what for?

Posted by John Perkins on 06 December 2012 - 12:28 PM

Great ideas Lesley. I do enjoy your posts as they always point out how easily things can be implemented. I am going to pinch the peer assess one to use with my year 7 plus it is now an agenda item for my meeting tonight.
This forum is what keeps me fresh and challenges my work. Everytime I feel I am coasting or running low I just check here and it gives me that bit of inspiration.

#104225 NUFC history day

Posted by Geoff Thomas on 04 December 2012 - 10:05 AM

Dogs born in stables are not foals.

#104222 NUFC history day

Posted by Chouan on 03 December 2012 - 02:56 PM

I am not taking such abuse from a smoggie!

Dave, although I love you to bits, I cannot let that stand, I'm born and bred Stockton-on-Tees, birthplace of the railways, John Waker, Will Hay and Big Ben.
Smoggies are soft southerners from Middlesbrough, Yorkshire rejects, who want to be part of the beautiful Land of the Prince Bishops, but will be forever outcast, who have a thick failed copper for mayor who has systematically stripped the heritage from the town of Port Darlington.

Sadly, both of my sons are from N.Yorkshire, the elder being born in South Cleveland Hospital and the younger in Guisborough.

#104209 NUFC history day

Posted by Chouan on 28 November 2012 - 09:40 AM

That would be worse. Perhaps as punishment?

#104173 Website extended to cover KS3 and 4 resources www.andallthat.co.uk

Posted by Alex Ford on 24 November 2012 - 11:34 AM

Hi all,

Just to let you know that I have expanded my website to cover KS3 - 5 so you should now find:

* Topic blogs for units at A Level with links to current news, videos, podcasts and articles
* Topic blogs for GCSE Modern World and SHP
* Teaching Resources for all year groups (these are not specifically stand alone lessons as they use books in some cases, but they may be adaptable )
* Departmental Resources eg. Schemes of work, posters, mark schemes etc.
* University transition advice and materials

Find all of this on www.andallthat.co.uk

Stay up to date on the latest blog posts and content by following @AndAllThatWeb on Twitter.

Thanks for all the feedback so far and for everyone who has checked the site out. Continued feedback is always welcome


#104155 The Middle Passage Simulation Game

Posted by Chouan on 22 November 2012 - 12:09 PM

Last year, I was a bit stumped about how to create an engaging active lesson for my class on this topic in a way that still respected the awfulness and enormity of the topic.

Have you looked at the TEACH report - http://www.history.o...source_780.html

I am currently looking at this aspect of teaching History with the IOE, we are looking how The Holocaust is taught, and the role of the teacher in framing moral judgements, there is debate, but we feel that the topic should be taught in History as an Historical topic, with rigorous Historical aims and objectives, the moral aspects and lessons can be implicit, and as Chouan implies, the moral aspects can be dealt with with the help of the RE department. This is just a view, and it depends upon how good your cross curricular links are, but I feel this applies to the topic of slavery as well as wars, Genocides and The Holocaust.

I personally feel there is too much focus on the Middle Passage, but also understand the contrasts and comparisons that can be made with other events, but we should remain conscious that we are looking at the experiences of real people, thus I usually focus on the utility of middle passage accounts,

There probably is. The Middle Passage seems to be the part of the slave trade that attracts the most odium, for whatever reason, and the most attention. The actual capturing of the slaves seems to be largely ignored, even in textbooks, which seems curious. There's interest in how the slaves were transported across the atlantic, but little interest in how the slaves arrived in the barracoons in the first place.
Similarly, there seems to be interest in the process of the Shoah, and the anti-semitism that led to it, but little focus on the events that led to the Shoah becoming an acceptable option. The increasing brutality of the "Wild East" that made the Shoah possible seems to be of limited interest, yet without such things as the Commissar Order, the organisation of the Final Solution may have seemed inconceivable.