Grades are hard to understand

17th September 2004 at 01:00
While analysing GCSE results for French and German for the AQA specification A syllabus I discovered a very interesting if somewhat distressing anomaly in the mark schemes. Why is it that a student scoring 1935 on the German foundation reading paper attains the maximum UMS score of 59 marks while a student scoring the same number of marks on the French foundation reading paper receives only 37 UMS marks?

In effect, it does not matter whether students score 1935 or 3535, they still attain the same UMS mark. These discrepancies between French and German occur in all foundation papers. Why has AQA made it easier for a student to achieve a better grade in German than in French?

Students and teachers have had their hard work undermined by an exam board, which thinks it appropriate to move the goal posts. Is this done to fulfil some predetermined pass rates, or merely to compound public perceptions of languages being difficult subjects?

In addition, it is already difficult enough to judge whether students should take the foundation or higher paper and this clearly further confuses the issue.

John Coley

Head of modern foreign languages

High Tunstall school, Hartlepool

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a TES/ TESS subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
 
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today