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Why I'm changing from AQA to OCR


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#31 Roy Huggins

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Posted 17 April 2006 - 07:42 PM

Hi Terry,

The source based questions can take longer to complete with OCR, but if you follow the CCCJ guidance then both paper 1 and the coursework suddenly becomes a lot easier than AQA.

The big bonus is that there is less content to cover therefore you have more time. I currently estimate that my top set will finish before Christmas and my middle to bottom mixed ability set sometime around Christmas. However, I am still teaching the AQA Syllabus with my Year 11s and will hopefully finished sometime in the next two weeks!

Anyway, I'll get in touch and send you some resources to help inform your judgement. The best time to jump might be 2008. I had to make the decision to change last summer because I'd finally had enough of AQA Paper 1 at GCSE. When I used to mark for the board we were always told that the poor quality of questions was down to QCA inference. Well if OCR can get it right, why can't AQA? Unless of course, they are just trying to cover up for their own incompetence by blaming someone else? Then again, it might be incompetence on the part of my department? If I'm wrong, as I've said before I will admit to it online in this forum when the results come through next year!

However, if you teach in a comprehensive with the full spectrum of ability, just look at the reading level required for the sources and questions on OCR, and that alone will make you change your mind!

kind Regards

Roy

Edited by rhuggins, 17 April 2006 - 10:50 PM.

"Men are disturbed, not by the things that happen, but by their opinion of the things that happen." - Epictetus

#32 Neil DeMarco

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Posted 17 April 2006 - 07:44 PM

As for being too old and lazy, who are you trying to kid! Your textbook on the 20th Century is brilliant and I use it all the time with my students. Your experience, advice and insight on the edexcel syllabus could help a lot of history teachers who can then in turn help their own students .... History Needs You!

Roy


Thank you for those kind words, Roy. However, I'm not sure I would recommend Edexcel to anyone. While we like the topics offered (we do the Great War and Vietnam for source evaluation and USA 1941-80 and Cold War for the knoweldge-based element) the mark schemes are hopeless and the pupils have to second guess the requirements of the questions for the sources paper. That takes time to teach and get the pupils used to and we have just about the got the measure of the papers now...
"Lesson planning is best undertaken when walking from the staffroom to the classroom. More detailed planning, by walking more slowly."

#33 chrislowcock

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 07:13 PM

Hello Roy

Just been sat here for the last hour reading the 3 pages interesting stuff. I think the OCR coursework is defo much easier than the AQA but I love doing vietnam and so do the kids. I seem to be doing the opposite to you as for the last 10 years I have been teaching OCR and this year changed to AQA for a change more than anything else. I thought about waiting to jump ship until 2008 when everything will change. But in for a peny in for a pound! In fact I will propabably go back to OCR and do the pilot course if it gets the go ahead. Am currently doing the AQA with my year 10s. The reason for change was basicaly because i fancied one and 13 years of the liberal reforms which the students find deathly dull. But what I am writing for from you is any schemes or work you have for the AQA modernworld and if we could do a trade if you want anything. You mentioned in an earlier link that you had DVDs of stuff you are willing to burn and distribute. That would be really helpful.

We seem to be doing the opposite to each other. Like you I will tell you if it was the right decision in 2 years time. it will be interesting to see what happens!

Cheers

Chris

#34 Roy Huggins

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 07:40 PM

Hi Chris,

I know what you mean about a change. I've taught NEAB /AQA for 13 years so I supppose I'm also ready for a change. I'm surprised that you couldn't do Vietnam for your courseowork with OCR?

The big difference that you will notice changing from OCR to AQA will be the amount of marks awarded for contextual source analysis on Paper 2. OCR will often award at a Level 3 what AQA classify as Level 2!

I did have a third option which was to change our focus from International relations from 1900 to 1914 to 1949 - 1960 AQA. Avoid the 1900 - 1914 section like the plague. I'll be honest with you Chris, with a total sum of 69 years teaching history within my department, to a man we have struggled to understand what the AQA examiners have been looking for in some of their questions in the first section of Paper 1.

Most of us have marked for the board at some point in the past - I was graded 'A' 4 years ago and my old HOD 'A' last year for marking AS and A2. We are not fools, but the language and question type are so poorly written and thought out that it was time for a change. Who knows maybe the grass is greener, but we have become increasingly fustrated with AQA at GCSE!

AQA certainly do not help the situation by not running any training seminars for the GCSE options. I suppose they got tired of listening to the complaints from the various centres! However, the opposite is true of their AS and A2 courses

Anyway, I'll happily trade resources later in the term once Year 11 and internal exams and report are over. I'll send you my e-mail address and attach my Schemes of work as an attachment.

Kind Regards

Roy

Edited by rhuggins, 18 April 2006 - 08:21 PM.

"Men are disturbed, not by the things that happen, but by their opinion of the things that happen." - Epictetus

#35 Guest_Nick Dennis_*

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 08:12 PM

For the last few years I have taught a revision course on OCR. Much easier to understand and it can be covered quickly - in the space of a year. I have some more model answers to go with the ones I have already on my site. I hope to upload them over the weekend.

#36 Roy Huggins

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 09:50 PM

Hi Nick,

I was told that OCR follow the same 3 topic cycle on Paper 2 so if you wanted to cut the course down even further ,I suppose you could just concentrate on what is supposed to come.

For example, last year was the Liberal Reforms so this year it is supposed to be the Home Front in FWW and next year the Suffragettes. However, its a gamble and I prefer to hedge my bets. I've been burnt too many times in the past, but if you had a challenging class or were in a hurry then it would make sense to focus.

What annoys me is that it seems so unfair that this sort of disparity exists between the exam boards. An AQA exam should be as easy or as hard to deliver as an OCR exam!

Kind Regards

Roy

Edited by rhuggins, 19 April 2006 - 11:57 PM.

"Men are disturbed, not by the things that happen, but by their opinion of the things that happen." - Epictetus

#37 Juana La Loca

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Posted 09 May 2006 - 08:06 PM

Right. Could someone just sit me down and talk quietly but firmly to me.

I have been teaching the OCR modern World GCSE syllabus since 2001. My colleague and I have been doing the British Depth Study, doing the USA Depth Study and Germany coursework AND DOING ALL SIX KEY ****** QUESTIONS for the International Relations unit - 1,2 and 3 in Year 10 and 4,5 and 6 in Year 11! From what I can gather from many of your posts and of course actually thinking about the choices of question on Paper 1...the rest of you are just choosing 123 or 456.

History GCSE at our school is timetabled for 2 x 55 minutes in Year 10 and 3 x 55 minutes in Year 11. Our seemingly self-imposed 'extensive' course is quite a challenge to finish but we have managed. I'm just thinking of all the 'fun' activities we could do with all that 'spare time' cutting down to 3 Key Questions would give us.

What do other people think?
Do I need to go and sit down in a darkened room?
Have I, unintentionally, overwhelmed generations of students?
Does anyone feel that by doing all 6 Key Questions, these students really do have a good grounding in MWH?
Has anyone tried teaching all 6 to one group and then concentrating on just3 to another, similar ability group?
Did it make a difference to results?
And where exactly does it say in the OCR syllabus that half of the International Relations Course is just fine and dandy?

Thanks,
a rather shell shocked Juana, who feels that she should get out more.

#38 Roy Huggins

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Posted 14 May 2006 - 02:43 PM

Hi Juana,

Everyone who I have spoken to have always taught OCR Modern World or have converted have done so in order to cut down the content that they have to deliver so that they can teach more creatively and interactively.

If you look back over your past paper questions you will see that there will always been two questions (1 & 2) on 1919 - 1939 or two questions 1945 - 1988 (3 & 4) will always be on the cold war.

However, as I am sure that you aware you will be limiting the questions that your students can cover, but that its what most centres appear to be doing.

I wouldn't kick yourself too much as we have been soldiering on for 5 years with AQA Modern World Syllabus since it merged with NEAB. I have only just finished teaching my Year 11s the AQA modern World Syllabus.

I hate the fact that we have to shop around and play the system to find the easiest exam board / paper. Wouldn't it be better if everyone was playing on a level playing field?

Roy

PS I would always recommend getting out more and consuming vast quanities of red wine!

Edited by rhuggins, 14 May 2006 - 02:46 PM.

"Men are disturbed, not by the things that happen, but by their opinion of the things that happen." - Epictetus

#39 bobspeight

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Posted 14 May 2006 - 09:10 PM

You certainly can get away with just doing inter-war period as I have done this year and then focusing on Germany and USA for Depth Study and coursework. They all overlap and reinforce each other a lot. The main reason I have done this is that I have had to get my Year 11s through the course in a year at two hours per week as they didn't have a teacher last year, just a stream of supply teachers who started them off on various bit of crime and punishment, american west and basque separatism or whatever it was they fancied teaching before being chased out of school by our Year 9s!

With my Year 10s starting in July, I feel am really looking forward to the 'extra time' and looking at the post-war world (ie questions 4, 5 and 6). As they have covered the first half of the century in Year 9 (I've run out of time for much else), albeit in a rather more KS3 way, I feel it makes sense to carry on chronologically before starting again with the British Depth Study and the rest of the course from next January.

I don't know what I would do if I had a completely clean slate. Part of me thinks that a Modern World History GCSE cannot really stop at 1939, but I understand those departments who opt for this as the course allows it and it gives you time to really get into the topics and have a bit of fun (a word my year 11s no longer recognise!).

Juana, do whatever you think would work best for the students you end up with. As long as your lessons are stimulating, the kids are making progress and enjoying the history, it doesn't really matter exactly how many questions they are able to answer on the final exam... I would imagine some kids (and teachers!) would get a bit bored of the tighter content focus for two years (although it would allow time for more 'exciting' lessons), whereas for others it would be preferable.

Good luck!

#40 Roy Huggins

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Posted 27 May 2006 - 09:22 PM

Hi All,

I agree with bob, but would go further and say that once you have completed 1919 - 1939, I would then cherry pick the best parts of 1945 - 1988.

However, if I had a mixed or low ability GCSE group I would definately opt for focusing on 1919 - 1939 on the international section. If I have time I might charge ahead with my top set class, but not with my other group. You know your kids and what they are capable of.

My guiding principle since my chat with a HMI inspector: 'Kids enjoy history, but they also enjoy getting good exam results.' Until OCA sorts out the differences between exam boards we all have to play the system!

kind Regards

Roy

Edited by rhuggins, 27 May 2006 - 09:24 PM.

"Men are disturbed, not by the things that happen, but by their opinion of the things that happen." - Epictetus

#41 Juana La Loca

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Posted 30 May 2006 - 10:32 PM

Thanks Roy and Bob for your thoughts. This has given my colleague and I something to talk about, which is a 'good thing'. Our History sets tend to be mainly academic types as we are in an option block with 'sexy' subjects like Drama and Textiles. I suspect we'll be keeping up the pace (As my Yr 10 comes to an end, we've 'done' the British Depth Study,Key Questions 1,2 and 3 of the Core and half of the USA Depth Study. We increase from2 to 3 x 55minutes a week next year) but we'll not get so hung up on 'making sure we finish everything'.

Juana

#42 Roy Huggins

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Posted 02 June 2006 - 06:02 PM

Hi Guys,

I have just been given some brilliant resources by Chris Lowcock. I've been beavering away at this end and sometimes new ideas pass me by, but Chris has developed a series of innovative revision IPOD Casts for the OCR Modern World History Course. Having listen to them I would like to say that they are not only a brilliant idea but the resources that Chris has put together are excellent.

Many thanks Chris! The only problem facing me now is how to get these MP3s to my existing Year 11s before their history exams next week and the week after!

Kind Regards

Roy
"Men are disturbed, not by the things that happen, but by their opinion of the things that happen." - Epictetus

#43 Roy Huggins

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Posted 11 June 2006 - 03:52 PM

Hi Guys,

Having looked at various other threads today I feel its important to note that AQA have tried to improve the organisation of their Paper 1, but I still feel that there is still far too much content to have to cover on AQA and that the style of questions are a lot harder.

For example: Paper 1 last Friday AQA:

Section A
Question1a =Alliance system (3marksO
Question 1b = How accurate is the view that the causes of WW1 were all
Germany's fault? (6 marks)
Question1c = Describe the assassination of the Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand. (6
marks - a bit of an odd question, that is the question word for word.)
Question 1d= what is most important in explaining the causes of WW1 - naval
race or Schlieffen Plan (10 marks)

Question 2a = describe the territorial changes made by the TofV (6 marks)
2b = Source based question - what can it tell us about Hitler's aims in his
foreign policy? (3marks)
2c = How accurate the Neville chamberlain Speech in our time quote at
explaining the decisions made at the Munich agreement? (6 marks)
2d = which events made war more likely
Abyssinia or re -miniaturization of the Rhineland. (10 marks)

Question 3a basically out line difference between communist and capitalist
(3marks)
3b = Describe the decisions made at Yalta and Potsdam (6 marks)
3c = cartoon of Stalin flicking switches of countries to make communist. -
how accurate is this view of Soviet Policy (6 marks)
3d = which is most important as a reason for the development of the Cold War
- Truman Doctrine or the Berlin Blockade? (10 marks)

Section B
1a - source explaining what empire soldiers did and question asking what can
you learn from it about the contribution played by empire soldiers.
(3marks)
1b - recruitment poster - why was it published during WW1? (6marks)
1c - Photo of a trench at imperial war museum and question being how useful
it to a historian studying the trenches. (8Marks)
1d = "Civilians working in a factory making uniforms, guns, munitions, tanks
or ships had every right to feel they had contributed to the nations victory
as much as a man with a gun"
How far do you agree with this interpretation of why Britain won WW1? (8
marks)

Look at what appeared in the OCR paper on International relations as opposed to AQA:

OCR Paper 1 2006:

Section A - Road to WW2 cartoon Chamberlain pushing the world and why did Hitler want to take over Czechoslovakia other one on glasnost etc and collapse of Communism

Section B T of V land lost, why Germany punished and how satisfied big three with treaty
L of N structure of League, social work, and how successful was the League

Early Cold War Yalta, Marshall plan and spread of Communism 45-49
"Later" events leading up to Cuban crisis, Bay of Pigs, How successful US in dealing with crisis

Section C is either on USA or Germany 1920s / 1930s.

Baring in mind that the Home front in the FWW is due to come up in Paper 2 OCR this year and that you can choose to concentrate on international relations 1919 - 1939 as opposed to international relations on AQA 1900 to 1949 - which paper was the most straightforward?

In addition, I would point out to anyone considering whether or not to change syllabuses to think about the following:

1. Can we trust AQA after the cock ups that they have made in the past?
2. Is there still too much content to cover at both Paper 1 & 2 AQA Modern World History?
3. When did you finish teaching the content? January or May?
4. The OCR Modern World Syllabus would allow you to finish teaching at Christmas - less content to teach - more time to revise ....
5. How predictable are the AQA questions? I think that the Home Front come up in paper 2 this week and next year it will be the Suffragettes and Suffragists. I wonder what AQA will throw at us?

Of course there is a down side which means that you have to drop either the USA or Germany for Paper 1. However, you can select to do your favourite part of of the 1920s or 30s for coursework ..... we are going to do the essay assignment on How did Hitler keep control and miss out Wiemar Germany!

I am of course slightly biased, but I'm still willing to accept that I'm wrong if my exam results do not improve dramatically next year. There was no reason why my students couldn't have had a good crack at the questions that cam up this year. Next year my first cohort of students will have completed the transfer from AQA to OCR so I will ve able to compare the residuals and let you know.

Kind Regards

Roy

Edited by rhuggins, 11 June 2006 - 04:00 PM.

"Men are disturbed, not by the things that happen, but by their opinion of the things that happen." - Epictetus

#44 Roy Huggins

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Posted 20 June 2006 - 08:48 PM

Hi Guys,

I felt that the AQA Paper 2 wasn't too bad this time around, but I'm glad that I've made the change.

If you look at my threads above you will see that I predicted that the Home Front would come up on thw OCR Paper 2. It did! Next year it will be the Suffragettes and Suffragists - go on make the change and escape from AQA!

Roy
"Men are disturbed, not by the things that happen, but by their opinion of the things that happen." - Epictetus

#45 Roy Huggins

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Posted 20 July 2006 - 04:33 PM

Hi Guys,

I don't suppose amyone has an OCR Scheme of work for their coursework assignment on life in Nazi Germany?

Roy
"Men are disturbed, not by the things that happen, but by their opinion of the things that happen." - Epictetus




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