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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


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#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.

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#103861 Classroom Learning Games

Posted by Anne Piper on 22 October 2012 - 02:43 PM

These look so good; I almost wish I was back in the classroom instead of in my farmhouse on Normandy!