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F965 OCR Coursework


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#61 Giles Falconer

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 04:01 PM

Just to reopen this - has anyone any idea about the cumulative word counts? My poor students are now considering doing each page of their essays as separate documents just to fit in with this ridiculous demand. There must be an easier way?


In word you can highlight each page cumulatively and note the word counts for page 1, then 1 + 2 etc., then add each as footnotes. Probably other ways to do it too...

#62 stephanie

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 06:14 PM


Just to reopen this - has anyone any idea about the cumulative word counts? My poor students are now considering doing each page of their essays as separate documents just to fit in with this ridiculous demand. There must be an easier way?


In word you can highlight each page cumulatively and note the word counts for page 1, then 1 + 2 etc., then add each as footnotes. Probably other ways to do it too...


Yes, it's not so bad - we're using a header that says 'page word count' and then hand-writing in the word count for each page - word does that for you (we just add them up!).

@_miss_moss_


#63 Mark H.

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Posted 22 March 2011 - 06:47 PM

Not that I'm continuing my anti-OCR rants or anything, but why on earth are they so hung up about word limits ('We will stop marking after 2,000 words...if you don't put a running total on each page YOU WILL ALL BE EXTERMINATED' etc) , when the other major exam boards aren't? The Kafkaesque nature of OCR's marking and administration of their coursework is the principal reason why we , and several other centres I know about, have deserted them for other exam boards. They seem to have learned nothing from the debacle of the externally-marked coursework on the old Spec. Are the same people still in charge? Are they vaguely-human History teachers or actually three-headed inhabitants of the Planet Zog?

Edited by Mark H., 27 March 2011 - 08:04 AM.

In memory of my boyhood hero Jim Clark (1936-1968): 'Chevalier Sans Peur et Sans Reproche'.

#64 SiobhanT

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Posted 24 March 2011 - 03:51 PM

Thanks for this. I was aware of how to do the word count, it just wasn't very clear how OCR actually wanted the students to write it on the coursework. I contacted them and they said either handwritten or typed on was fine. They also said they'd had no other complaints about this new rule so were surprised by my query. Maybe if more of us complained they'd get rid of it! Just seems like unnecessary adminstration to me.

#65 Mark H.

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Posted 14 April 2011 - 12:30 PM

Well, everyone I've spoken to at our school and elsewhere, teachers and students alike, thinks that it is utterly stupid! As I say, OCR appear to be the only exam board who have this wild-eyed obsession with exact word counts, claiming that they are following QCA instructions and everybody else isn't.

Edited by Mark H., 14 April 2011 - 12:31 PM.

In memory of my boyhood hero Jim Clark (1936-1968): 'Chevalier Sans Peur et Sans Reproche'.

#66 stephanie

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 05:22 PM

I actually can kind of understand it, having spent many years working in an industry that demanded research/reports of exact word counts with many an executive with plenty of time/inclination to throw said report back at you if were under/over requested length! I guess it's good prep for that sort of thing, plus the word count of uni essays/dissertations also...

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#67 Simon Ross

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 08:17 PM

I actually can kind of understand it, having spent many years working in an industry that demanded research/reports of exact word counts with many an executive with plenty of time/inclination to throw said report back at you if were under/over requested length! I guess it's good prep for that sort of thing, plus the word count of uni essays/dissertations also...


I was speaking recently to a tutor from a well respected university who informed me that an undergraduate thesis only requires a single word count, and that as long as it is not blatantly over the limit, word counts are accepted at face value! I find OCR's demand for a page by page word count a little bizarre and somewhat bureaucratic. A student determined to fake a word count will just as happily fake the word count on each page. I know of one school where the teacher did not receive the message from the exam board, and is now faced with the puzzle of how to add the page by page word counts to the completed essays!

Given the complexities of the mark scheme for this unit, wouldn't it better if we spent our time focusing on how the students measure up to that, rather than manually cchecking whether word counts are accurate?

#68 stephanie

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Posted 23 April 2011 - 06:49 AM

Blimey, yes, I very much doubt I AM going to be manually checking their word counts!!

I marked my lots' investigations yesterday - I did feel I should be giving those who managed a '2000' word count some sort of bonus points (most were at 1998 or 1996) :lol:

@_miss_moss_


#69 Giles Falconer

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Posted 23 April 2011 - 09:44 AM

Blimey, yes, I very much doubt I AM going to be manually checking their word counts!!

I marked my lots' investigations yesterday - I did feel I should be giving those who managed a '2000' word count some sort of bonus points (most were at 1998 or 1996) :lol:


Snap!

#70 Matt Spring

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Posted 24 April 2011 - 05:11 PM

Were this an ordinary essay, I would agree that the word count was sensible. However, the requirement to stack up 'evidence' on a particular issue from various sources, and then evaluate it using one's 'own knowledge' (in itself an odd concept, to my mind), makes it hugely difficult to discuss anything of consequence within the 2,000 word limit. It's been very difficult preventing the kids from writing what are, esentially, summaries of different books / articles.

Moreover, the idea that teachers and moderators across the country will all consistently place esays within the same bands of the mark scheme appears to me to be highly optimistic at best.

What with this and GCSE controlled assessment, I have to say I rather resent OCR's having turned me into an unpaid marker.

Not a happy easter bunny. :(

Edited by Matt Spring, 24 April 2011 - 06:15 PM.


#71 Giles Falconer

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Posted 24 April 2011 - 06:39 PM

What with this and GCSE controlled assessment, I have to say I rather resent OCR's having turned me into an unpaid marker.



Whilst I have no remit to defend OCR, I seem to remember it was the government of the day (Labour) who introduced compulsory coursework for the A Level, and decided that, unlike to previous A Level coursework, teachers should mark it...

#72 Mark H.

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 06:48 AM

You're quite correct Giles. However it should be pointed out that coursework (or a 'controlled assessment' equivalent) was compulsory on the old OCR Specification. This was externally marked and, as various threads on this forum going back years will testify, the results were a complete lottery and the subject of numerous centre complaints. With AQA by contrast, the coursework was optional and there was an alternative written exam undertaken by about 1/3 of centres. The AQA coursework unit was internally marked (i.e. by teachers) and externally moderated, as of course all A-level coursework now is. There were apparently very few problems with this unit, and supposedly it consistently had amongst the fewest number of centre complaints/requests for remarks etc of any AQA module in any subject. It did help that the mark scheme was vaguely intelligible and that the Assessment Objectives were realistically achievable by candidates. Make of this what you will.

Edited by Mark H., 25 April 2011 - 06:50 AM.

In memory of my boyhood hero Jim Clark (1936-1968): 'Chevalier Sans Peur et Sans Reproche'.

#73 Jenjane

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Posted 27 April 2011 - 04:15 PM

Even though we have greater control now than ever before I still think that OCR are going to be inconsistent with coursework moderating. My proof is this:
I teach in a consortium of 3 schools, each student's work is therefore sent from their 'home school' rather than the school they are taught at. This results in very often the students in my class being marked by 3 differrent people as the papers get sent to 3 different markers. Almost every year it is possible to spot a pattern eg this year I feel the marker for my school was very generous, whereas for the students from school B were marked very harshly (remember that they have all been taught by me, in the same class) Last year we had students from all 3 schools in the year 13 cohort. I marked all of their work, but did moderate with another. Moderator's feedback:
for my school they praised the marking, nothing changed but next year I might not want to be so harsh on the lower grades
for school B they changed nothing, all fine. Wrote me a nice, yet incomprehensible A4 sized essay on what to do next year.
For school C they said I was too generous and reduced the marks by 7.
Jane

#74 Mark H.

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Posted 27 April 2011 - 05:36 PM

As you know, Jane, I have steadily lost all confidence in OCR's ability to mark and moderate coursework on anything like a consistent basis. I too received extensive Moderator (and Re-Moderator!) feedback last year which to be honest we have found of very little practical use. As with the Examiner's reports for the old Spec's dreaded Unit 2592, parts of the advice seemed vague, contradictory or frankly unachievable in an essay of only 2,000 words. In the second year of marking F965 I still feel that I have little real idea of what OCR are expecting students to produce, and I have nearly 20 years coursework marking and moderating experience. More worrying still, I'm not sure OCR understand it themselves, which could well be the nub of the whole problem! I sometimes get the distinct impression that the combined talents of A.J.P. Taylor, G.M Trevelyan and Geoffrey Elton would struggle to compose a piece of coursework which would meet OCR's exacting (or perhaps Kafkaesque) standards.

Edited by Mark H., 27 April 2011 - 05:37 PM.

In memory of my boyhood hero Jim Clark (1936-1968): 'Chevalier Sans Peur et Sans Reproche'.

#75 JohnP

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Posted 27 April 2011 - 06:24 PM

The guidance I've always received from OCR was 'don't disadvantage your students'. I therefore pay little attention to the word count providing it comes in at around 3500 for the investigation. They've not criticised me yet and I don't expect them to.




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