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Why I'm changing from AQA to OCR


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#46 Karen Miller

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Posted 31 August 2006 - 02:39 PM

Hi I was wondering how anyone who had swopped from AQA to OCR had done. My higher grades did go up with more As and Bs but the ones with weaker literacy skills still struggled a bit. Overall mine did as expected. I found the coursework a bit time consuming but straightforward. What did anyone else think? Does anyone know the grade boundaries as I don't have them?
Thanks
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#47 Roy Huggins

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Posted 31 August 2006 - 05:57 PM

Hi Karren,

This was our last year of doing AQA so I can't give a direct comparison. We saw a very similar picture to yourself with our own students. Our past rate increased by 20% with a better cohort, but our residuals only marginally improved. This was partly due to a long staff absense.

I've just finished adapting my USA in the 1920s & 30s AQA Scheme of Work to OCR. One of the interesting factors to the OCR version of the USA module is that you don't have to do the Quota Laws and they recommend that you only have to do one alphabet agency in detail. I've tried to hedge my bets by planning to do three AAA, NRA and CCC. At a push I might do TVA with a better group, with a weaker group I might only do two.

I've also spent all summer producing some PPs for boardworks on the USA with past exam questions from AQA and OCR. I am convinced that it is far easier to get a level 3 or higher with OCR than AQA. OCR also award higher marks for level two responses.

As soon as I get the examiners report and I've been on the OCR training course in November I'll feedback everything I have.

My job tomorrow and the weekend is to produce a coursework scheme of work for OCR on how the Nazis kept control. My honest evaluation is that it takes longer to do the OCR coursework, but again its easier for teh students to get higher grades.

Anyway, back to tweaking the USA. If anyone wants a copy then PM me with their e-mail address.

Kind Regards

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

#48 Andrew Field

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Posted 03 September 2006 - 08:32 PM

Roy has now posted these schemes of work in the Teaching Resources section - see http://www.schoolhis...amp;#entry56752


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#49 CD McKie

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Posted 04 September 2006 - 10:17 PM

Not wishing to sound like the harbinger of doom, but I completely disagree with you about AQA and OCR. Before arriving at my present school, I had taught OCR Modern World for 9 years and generally found that bright students had little difficulty getting to grips with the course. Upon starting my present job last September, I took over a department which followed the AQA course. Having now taught the course to both Years 10 and 11, I would argue that AQA is significantly easier than OCR. The main reason for this is the difficulty of the OCR Paper 2, where students are expected to display quite high-order source evaluation skills. The source questions at AQA are considerably more straightforward in my opinion. However, I suppose when the examination results come out this summer and next, I'll have a clearer idea about whether I have been right to stick with AQA. At this stage, however, I would argue that lower ability students will find OCR more challenging than AQA.

So far, so good. AQA Modern World still seems much more accessible than its OCR equivalent. I'd encourage teachers to make the change and escape from OCR to AQA. ;)
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#50 JohnDClare

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Posted 04 September 2006 - 10:39 PM

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#51 Roy Huggins

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Posted 04 September 2006 - 11:03 PM

Hi McKie.

To each his own. Which option have you gone for within AQA Modern World?

What did you think of the OCR Schemes of Work that I posted?

I still think that there is less content at OCR - abiut 40% less.

This year the OCR Paper 2 exam will be on The Suffragists / Suffragettes. I bet you have no idea what they will throw at you on any of the AQA papers? PLus you have to teach the whole of the USA and Germany in the 1920s and 30s. My option pick means that I only have to do USA 1920s and 30s and then three coursework questions on life in Nazi Germany.

Inaddition, I only have to concentrate on international relations from 1919 - 1939 with the option of expanding to the cold war if I have a good class - again a saving of between 30 - 40% content. The style of questions are also a lot easier .....

Finally, when will AQA be running their next GCSE support / coursework seminar?

Different horses for different courses.

Kind Regards

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

#52 CD McKie

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Posted 05 September 2006 - 02:26 PM

Hi McKie.

To each his own. Which option have you gone for within AQA Modern World?

What did you think of the OCR Schemes of Work that I posted?

I still think that there is less content at OCR - abiut 40% less.

This year the OCR Paper 2 exam will be on The Suffragists / Suffragettes. I bet you have no idea what they will throw at you on any of the AQA papers? PLus you have to teach the whole of the USA and Germany in the 1920s and 30s. My option pick means that I only have to do USA 1920s and 30s and then three coursework questions on life in Nazi Germany.

Inaddition, I only have to concentrate on international relations from 1919 - 1939 with the option of expanding to the cold war if I have a good class - again a saving of between 30 - 40% content. The style of questions are also a lot easier .....

Finally, when will AQA be running their next GCSE support / coursework seminar?

Different horses for different courses.

Kind Regards

Roy

I teach Options V and Y in Paper 1 and do the USA and Germany depth studies in Paper 2. Coursework is two assignments based on the Second World War.

I haven't yet had time to read your schemes for OCR, but I'll let you know what I think as soon as possible. Having taught OCR for many years in the past, you are correct there is less content to cover, although the topics have to be done in greater depth. I find it advisable with AQA to begin the GCSE Course in Year 9, so by the end of that year the students will already have covered the causes of the First World War and Life on the Western Front. By the end of Year 10, I'll have covered all Paper 1 topics and Year 11 is devoted to Coursework (material already covered in Year 10) and the two depth studies.

OCR's Paper 2 is indeed predictable and as you have indicated before, it is operated on a cycle. I cannot say I find the Liberal reforms, in particular, very interesting, although it was never as bad as I had originally feared. On balance, however, I find the Paper 2 topics covered at AQA more interesting to teach. The Home Front section is already covered in Paper 1 as I'm sure you are aware.

Below is what I currently do at AQA and in brackets what I did at OCR. There is more content at AQA, granted, but I think the AQA course is more interesting and there is always the option to start in Year 9. Don't forget that there is no requirement to cover the post-WW2 period, despite what it indicates in the syllabus. Every second year, there is a question on 1945-49 and if it is not covered in lessons, the students can still answer questions 1 and 2 in Section A of Paper 1.

1900-1918 Paper 1 (1900-1918 Coursework): same sort of timescale. I now cover this period for an examination, but used to do Coursework on the First World War. Starting the course in Year 9 eases the pressure in Years 10 and 11.

1919-39 Paper 1 (1919-39 Paper 1): slightly less detail required at AQA. A careful look at the syllabi will indicate that there are some areas, particularly in the 1920s, that can be skirted over at AQA, but not at OCR.

USA Depth Study Paper 2 (Britain 1906-18 Paper 2): same sort of timescale.

Germany Depth Study Paper 2 (Germany Depth Study Paper 1): more detail and longer timespan required at OCR. I used to spend an extra 3 or 4 weeks covering the material at OCR.

WW2 Coursework at AQA fits in neatly partly because I'd have saved some time on international relations 1919-39 and the German Depth Study. Don't forget that I begin the GCSE Course in Year 9.

If I opted to switch back to OCR, I'd lose a depth study (Germany or the USA) and gain Britain 1906-1918 in return. I'd rather not do that at the moment, but I may change my mind in the future. Of course, the OCR Paper 2 topic is predicatable, but there is a choice for candidates in AQA's Paper 2. I also happen to think that at OCR, students are required to have quite high-order source evaluation skills and I know that many of my less able have struggled with that in the past. That, of course, could be a failing in my teaching.

So, in summary, there is slightly more content to cover at AQA (but not as much as I originally feared), but the course has greater chronological coherence and is, on balance, more interesting to teach in my opinion.

Despite what I've written, I still enjoyed teaching OCR and would never rule out a return at a later date. Perhaps, we are both just glad of a change. I taught OCR for nine years and am just about to start my third teaching AQA at GCSE. Maybe in a few years I'll give Edexcel a go. :woo:

There are support meetings for AQA GCSE History B (Papers 1 and 2 in the morning and Coursework in the afternoon) running throughout November.

P.S. Roy, you can call me Chris. :)
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#53 Lesley Ann

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Posted 05 September 2006 - 09:13 PM

I have my feet in both camps....I have spent the last 4 years toiling blood and sweat over AQA MWH and have improved GCSE results each year.......I have now got my head so far into it I think I have nearly got it (with the help fo JDC) so I want to keep AQA

BUT I have moved schools where they do OCR...........so having never done OCR before I am quickly getting up to speed with the wonderful help of ROY (thank you).

I want to find out what my Y11 OCR have covered so I have designed a checklist for the OCR course (see below)

I also have checklists for AQA MWH

1a = Paper 1 section A: international history 1900-1949
1b = Paper 1 section B: Britain WWI
2 = Germany 1918-1939
2 = USA 1919-1941

so I hope the checklists help AQA people and OCR people.
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#54 Roy Huggins

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Posted 05 September 2006 - 09:17 PM

Hi Chris,

I agree about the need for a change. Movng to OCR has led to us reviewing all our schemes of work and resources which has to be a good thing. Plus I was able to use the change of sllyabus as an excuse to twist an extra £7000 in addtional funding for new text books - always a good thing!

One of the problems that we found with the old format of AQA Paper 1 - which changed this year - was that the format was so confusing that many of our less able completed the wrong sections. A similar problem currently exists with Paper 2. It doesn't matter how many times you tell students that if they do USA in section one they have to do Germany in section two, some will always forget under the stess of exams. The OCR papers are very simple and straight forward.

I've tried to have my cake and eat it with the coursework. I've tried to keep the life in the trenches, weapons and tactics by doing my second assignment on General Haig, the Butcher of the Somme. I've then chosen to do our first assignment on life in Nazi Germany so my students still get the opportunity to cover the best bits of the old AQA Germany course without having to do Wiemar.

On the USA front if you do AQA you have to cover the quota act as well as all the Alpabet Agencies in detail. With OCR you only have to cover them briefly. The OCR recommend that you do one in detail - to be on the safe side I do three NRA, AAA and TVA. Which is still a heck of lot better than having to do the other six ....

Ah well, as the old saying goes - keep the old for as long as its good and take the new as soon as its better ... I'm glad AQA have respond to our criticisms about the lack of support / inset training. Their website is brilliant, but sometimes you need things explaining to you - especially on a bad day!

Have fun this term.

Kind Regards

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

#55 Roy Huggins

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Posted 14 September 2006 - 08:28 PM

Hi Guys,

I've just posted some more resources on the Liberal Reforms and how to use a source sucessfullt at GCSE in the teaching resources and requests section of the discussion form. You'll find them in the same thread as the OCR Schemes of work

Both PP use the CCCJ model I've discussed above.

I'd welcome any feedback from folks on the schemes of work that I've posted.

Kind Regards

Roy

Edited by rhuggins, 14 September 2006 - 08:28 PM.

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

#56 Roy Huggins

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Posted 17 September 2006 - 10:31 PM

Hi Lesley Ann,

These OCR /AQA checklists are great. Many thanks for these resources. Definately food for thought. I might develop something similar for KS3 and KS5.

Kind Regards

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

#57 JohnDClare

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Posted 17 September 2006 - 10:39 PM

Hi Lesley Ann,

These OCR /AQA checklists are great. Many thanks for these resources.

Ditto that - thanks

#58 Roy Huggins

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Posted 14 November 2006 - 07:43 PM

OCR Exam board Meeting notes: 14th November 2006

Health warning: These notes have been produced for my own department and internal consumption. However, you might find them useful ....

Interesting Statistics

Paper 1: Grade C on the USA option paper was 38 out of 75 = 51% other options 50%
Paper 2: Grade C = 27 out of 50 = Coursework grade C = 54%
Coursework: Grade C = 32 out of 50 = 64%

As a rule of thumb students do 1 grade better at coursework.

The number of grade ‘C’s has tripled since the old ‘O’ Levels. Overall pass rate remains unchanged as we appear to have reached a natural ceiling.

Paper 1: Weakness of Students

•Limited awareness by some of what was required in Q1a and Q7 with regard to source evaluation
•Time wasted by students who copied out the questions
•Visual sources described rather than evaluated.
•Students not supporting their comments / points with source detail / content.
•Solution CCCJ or PEE

Paper 1: Strengths

•Time used well by most students who completed the paper
•Source interpretation continues to improve linked to good contextual knowledge.
•Well prepared candidates produced clear, concise answers that were well explained.

Paper 2: Weaknesses of Students

•Not supporting answers with source detail or content
•Not cross referencing or comparing sources to validate them
•Not using knowledge to evaluate sources
•Assertions about what a source ‘shows.’
•Not commenting on obvious bias in the tone of the language.
•Commenting on what a source does not show, rather than what is apparent – good students go OTT on this and waste time (Key diff with AQA)
•Especially in Q6, asserting a source agrees / disagrees without explaining or supporting evidence.

Paper 2: Strengths of Students

•Students were very well prepared by centers who were familiar with the broader context of the Home Front.
•Good clarity of understanding of the nature of propaganda
•Skill in analyzing sources CCCJ
•Ability to make logical inference
•Ability to write extended answers that sustained an argument that was backed up by the sources
•Appreciation of the need for a balanced argument in Q6 supported by source detail.

The course mainly centered on Paper 2. The following notes are tips / advice given by chief examiner

General Advice Paper 2

Formula answers limited students, especially top set students.

It is critical to teach students to identify the purpose and the big message of the source. EG Why did they say THAT then?

Best thinking / planning model remains CCCJ or Comment, Content, Context and Judgment for A to C.

PEE is good for E to C Point, Evidence Explanation

Students need to have a ‘bird’s eye view’ of the chronology of the Depth Study. Chief Examiner recommends Timelines or Continuums.

Weaker students do not quote or use supporting detail from the sources. You need to develop source analysis skills ‘PEE’ from Year 7 onwards to have an impact at GCSE. Year 10 & 11 is far too late.

Critical Advice for Q6

•If running out of time leave Q5 unfinished and move onto Q6 as it is easier to pick up more marks
•The best way for a D/C student to achieve a good grade for Q6 is to PEE each source in turn and try to evaluate at least two sources.
•In order to achieve a good level students must write a balanced answer or quote from sources which support either side of the statement.
•Students who grouped the sources together at the start of their answers tended not to quote or use supporting detail from their answers. This limited their grades.
•Some students made the mistake of wasting time in the exam by summing up in their conclusions to Q6.
•In order to achieve the high grades students must make a judgment that evaluates and expresses an opinion either way. For example, sources A, B, C and D agree, but D & E disagree. However, there is more reliable evidence to support …
•Students receive up to two extra marks for source evaluation.


General Advice for Paper 1

•Get the students to under line the command statements in the questions.
•Far too many students do not address or answer the question.
•Students must be taught to explain their answers if they want to get a Level 3 or higher.
•Students doing the Nazi Germany paper made the mistake of including information on Nazi Education whilst explaining how the Hitler Youth indoctrinated young people.
•Many students were very weak at answering questions on the work of the special agencies of the League of Nations.
•USA – Students must cover at least 3 Alphabet Agencies in detail.
•Schools can still choose to concentrate on International Relations 1919 – 1939 or 1945 onwards.
•However, this will end in 2009 when the three periods will most probably be 1919 – 1939, 1945 – 1988 and post Cold War – War on Terror

Edited by rhuggins, 14 November 2006 - 07:46 PM.

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

#59 Derek Bos

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Posted 14 November 2006 - 10:36 PM

I am still keeping with the devil I know , AQA Modern World History. I attended a AQA exam meeting in Leeds a fortnight ago. This was attended by two of the chief examiners and they went through the changes in the paper and how they will remain in place until 2009. They also pointed out that this would be the last of these such meetings until the new specifications come out. I have written up my notes for my students and will share them with anyone interested, the file is called GCSE History for Dummies. The examiners did suggest that this information would be available on the website, I haven't seen it yet.

Attached Files



#60 Roy Huggins

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Posted 14 November 2006 - 11:13 PM

Hi Derek,

I've had a quick look and it looks very interesting and I shall have a good read tomorrow.

However, you've raised a very interesting point, AQA are not prepared to run another support meeting until 2008/9. I personally feel that its a terrible that they are preapared to treat teachers in this way. Don't get me wrong, the AQA Syllabus is very detailed and their online support is very good, but having been on the front line trying to deliver their syllabus for 15 years in challenging circumstances, I've had enough.

So far I've been to two support meetings run by OCR and I've found them to be really friendly, approachable, supportive and the advice they've given spot on. My Year 11s will sit the OCR exam for the first time next summer. I've taken a gamble and we may yet have teething problems, but the support that I've had from OCR has been first class and reminds me of the good olde days with NEAB.

However, I must add that the A Level support, syllabus and guidance from AQA is brilliant.

Kind Regards

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




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