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 Post subject: Controlled Assessments
PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 3:19 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:01 pm
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Location: Herts
What has been forum members experiences of these so far? They seem to be putting a lot of stress on the teachers. Do people think they are proving to be better than coursework? Thanks. DG


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 4:20 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2010 12:20 pm
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The experience that we have had so far of Controlled Assessments is very mixed. The teachers do not seem to know what they are doing and there have been discrepancies between teachers as to how the Assessments have been done. For instance, a class of students were allowed to take their notes home whilst the other two classes were not. This has happened on a couple of occasions where the Assessment was split over a few days. I was under the impression that notes were not allowed home.

We had another Assessment where my daughter was not given the allocated time and she was told to revise the wrong subject area. I could go on and list a good four or five other errors but I think you get the picture!

The only good thing, in my opinion, about Controlled Assessments is that you study that particular topic and then you do the exam soon after. There is no trying to remember things several months down the line.

I think that Controlled Assessments and modules are very confusing and we have had very little explanation of these from the school. I also think that the teachers are equally as confused.

I feel that my daughter's year group have been 'guinea pigs' in an experiment that has not been very successful.

I think they're being scrapped now which will be too late for my daughter but good news for my son who is yet to embark on this journey.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 4:33 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 3:23 pm
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Location: Warwickshire
I agree with the comments - they are stressful for the teachers for two reasons firstly that they are new and knowing how much "support" they can give and secondly and most significantly all the loss of teaching time. The most extreme example of this is GCSE Geography the project that used to be done mainly at home as coursework (DD1) was a controlled assessment for DD2, they lost weeks of lesson time as so much detail was needed, including graphs, drawings, maps etc. All geog lesson time was taken up doing the controlled assessment for about 1/2 a term. Not surprisingly there was a big rush and panic to get through the syllabus with extra lessons laid on at lunchtime etc. My DD's school has now chosen to mainly move to IGCSE ... so it will be a different experiece again for DD3.

The one thing I would say is controlled assessment was less stressful for parents as there is no option to get involved!


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 1:08 pm 
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CA? A complete nightmare. I agree with everything that has been said so far, except for the bit about parents not being able to get involved. I have certainly seen CAs where it is perfectly possible for the student to get outside help - so, these aren't even 'cheat-proof'. And the varying levels of input offered by teachers, from the downright obstructive ('We can't mark that work, that would make it too easy' - at a point when they absolutely were permitted to mark the work), to the, shall we say, over-helpful, means that there simply isn't a level playing-field out there. And the loss of teaching-time!

By the way, I've heard nothing to suggest that CA is on its way out - there seems to be some confusion that's arisen because of the removal of modular exams. This just means that all exams have to be sat at the end. I think that for CA it means the teacher submits them at the end, but they can still be sat at any time during the course.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 1:51 pm 
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The school I teach at and the school my DD attends have different policies on CAs. Her teachers will not give any input at all and she gets very little guidance, though she gets cross because she feels the lower sets do indeed get help. I am slightly ashamed to admit that where I teach, the children get masses of 'support' - not on the actual CA question, but on a practice one so similar it might as well be the real thing. Because I work 1-1 or with small groups, I have ended up pretty much spoonfeeding some of my students. I can live with this as I work with children who largely have no other advantages, may have a learning disability or some other issues which are barriers to learning, and in many cases no parental support whatsoever, so I see myself as helping to level that playing field myself. But it can sting a bit when my own DD is struggling and can't get any help at all. (And no, I have never helped her...she would turn it down even if I offered it, being 15).

On a similar subject, the lack of uniformity over the Science ISAs is also an annoyance to me, and lack of transparency into what is actually going on with those. DD's school and several others I know of do not give out actual marks for either CAs or ISAs because of some unfortunate moderation which took place a couple of years ago and brought everyone's grades down, so these children go into final modules not knowing what they need to get for a particular grade. I just tell DD that she needs to aim as high as possible anyway, and to be fair, she does, but some other schools give children much more information so they feel they know "I need to get 60UMS on that to get an A*" or whatever. Actually I am not sure if this is an advantage or not, but it shows that some teachers/schools are prepared to give away more than others. It is the lack of consistent policies which annoys me, almost as much as the inherent stupidity as some of those policies.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 3:00 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2010 12:20 pm
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Amber wrote:
Actually I am not sure if this is an advantage or not, but it shows that some teachers/schools are prepared to give away more than others. It is the lack of consistent policies which annoys me, almost as much as the inherent stupidity as some of those policies.


I agree with this. I feel that there is definitely not a 'level playing field' with regard to how Controlled Assessments are carried out and this could either advantage or disadvantage a student.

Maybe it was wishful thinking that I thought these were being scrapped. I can only hope that, when my son sits his exams, teachers will have a much better idea of what should and shouldn't be done.


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