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Urgent advice on exam board change needed!


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#1 Dafydd Humphreys

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Posted 04 September 2002 - 06:10 PM

Following on from the excellent advice about SHP's merits compared to Edexcel Modern World, I am thinking about an immediate radical change, not just for the new year ten, but the year eleven, half way through KS4.

My reasons are this - I was very disappointed with the last year eleven's results. The course is far too intensive for our lads, and the year 10 -> 11 will, I feel, struggle with the pressures of not only reinforcing the two topics and coursework already studied and two more and another piece of coursework, then of course revision time.

I have just taken over the reins of History, and have full backing from the deputy head and the asst head in charge of KS4 to do this if it means a rise in results. My colleague is also in favour of such a move.

We have studied in detail:
Germany 1918-39 (Weimar, Hitler and Nazi Germany)
Superpower Relations / Cold War 1945-1991
Jack the Ripper (recall coursework)
They are off on two weeks work experience next week.

Can anyone advise on a board which may have a more accessible examination, which includes the original topics we have done?

Tell me what course and modules you do and what you think of the exam.

Are there any short-course options leading to half a GCSE? They do RE short course and get very high results - the best in the school.

I am really serious about this and want to make a decision tonight!

I'm off to the examiners' websites to have a look.

Thanks in advance
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#2 Dave Wallbanks

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Posted 04 September 2002 - 06:49 PM

im afraid that I've just gone for Edexcel because it appears to be very easy for pupils to understand and I feel I can train my classes to answer the questions with confidence. I know that the questions are simply worded and well written so my pupils will understand the point they are being asked to respond to, whereas AQA was a lot of cocky examiners who appeared determined to show how clever they were, writing badly expressed questions and deliberately trying to show how clever they were.
Better to do Edexcel and know that pupils can be trained.
However the point that some would make is that I AM training them to answer them, not to be good historians and should any of them choose to do A level they'll struggle.
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#3 Stephen Drew

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Posted 04 September 2002 - 06:50 PM

One big question.

What are you going to do for the Year 11s after they come back from work experience?

Also, your biggest problem in making such an instantaneous and radical change is going to be fitting the courseworks in.

If you were thinking of longer term measures, I would advise either of AQA or OCR for SHP. You can keep the Nazi Germany and (I think you are a school in London?) the Jack the Ripper could be the Local Study coursework with a few tweaks (I expect).

You might be able to produce a modern world study coursework such as the Cuban Missile Crisis or The Vietnam War out of your students' studies on the Cold War.

Of course you would then need to choose either Medicine or Crime for the Year 11 Study in Development.

I am sure there are loads of us who would happily support you for this year in producing copies of worksheets / lesson plans etc. to enable you to do this.

And if your SMT are supportive, they should surely provide you with some cash for textbooks on the Medicine or Crime courses.

I teach medicine, and this seems to be the more common option, so I would advise that, but that does not make it the best.

I suppose we could say stop and think more rationaly, but you could be right.

If you want to discuss this further tonight Dafydd, you have my personal e-mail address, mail me and I will give you my phone number if that would help.

Good luck in whatever you decide to do Sir!

:o

Editing this after reading Dave's.

I trained kids to answer questions with AQA and did the same with OCR. I have no experience of Edexcel at GCSE so don't know if Dave is right.
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#4 Dafydd Humphreys

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Posted 04 September 2002 - 07:21 PM

Cheers for the speedy replies. I have to say I am very tempted by Stephen's option.

The SMT would certainly pay for a set of medicine or crime textbooks. Would the crime/punishment clash with the Ripper though?

We have done Cuban Missiles Crisis course work for years until last year, and know it inside out, with lots of teaching materials and reources about it. We could confidently do that. (Might have to delete the Football Coursework pages on the site now!)


My colleague has taught Medicine before, but felt it was quite dry, although we have the options of field-trips to London for either. I think the Ripper's questions certainly have a local study feel to them (we chose objective one - recall), as we have done a field-trip already around Whitechapel for it.

A further question re the study of devlopment (crime/medicine) - how does the exam work for that, being as the topic has a huge range - do you know which era/section to target in advance?

I'll take a proper look at the AQA/OCR sites now.
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#5 Dafydd Humphreys

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Posted 04 September 2002 - 07:55 PM

Okay - looking at OCR, the History Around Us coursework -

History Around Us will allow candidates to investigate the key features and characteristics of an historical site, and to set the site in the context of the key political, social, economic and cultural features and characteristics of the time;


I think the questions...
1. Describe law and order in London in the late nineteenth century. (15)
2. Why did the Whitechapel murders attract so much attention in 1888? (15)
3. Why were the police unable to catch Jack the Ripper? (20)
(taken from the specs on my Ripper page cover that.

No - just read that the Local Study must be the objectives 2 and 3 - source-based questions.
Nope, its optional. Eh?
Another problem may be the Modern World Coursework -

Assignment 2 should involve setting a current issue or problem from world events in the context of the past and must test Assessment Objective 1. The testing of Assessment Objectives 2 and 3 in this assignment is optional.


Could the American blockade of Cuba allow the 1962 crisis to be considered a 'current issue'?

I still don't get the optional/must bit of that directive.

Looking at the Crime and Punishment details, that course looks very interesting indeed.

The American West would be great if we hadn't already done the Nazis - they are all still obsessed with the Indians since doing it in Y8. We may even move to do this with the Year Ten group.

The Nazis content obviously is what we have already done with the current Y11 so that fits nicely.

I think the Ripper Local coursework WILL clash with Crime and Punishment -

These coursework units must not duplicate the content studied for either of the
question papers, for example, a History Around Us assignment on a local Museum of Medicine.


:angry:
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#6 Dafydd Humphreys

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Posted 04 September 2002 - 10:04 PM

I think I've come to a decision.

Continue Edexcel B (Modern World) with y11, but offer a short course option to those who are obviously struggling. This is obviously a special measure to those who otherwise will be in the E-F-G-U full course results.

The school offers RE as a short course, so with many pupils getting 4.5 A*-C grades, another short course will boost the four and a half to five.

The British History coursework is covered by the Ripper coursework. Those who struggled with that could choose to do the Football one perhaps and the best one submitted as a mark.

The full course students continue to study Vietnam. They sit the exam with the topics Nazis, Cold War, USA Div Union and Vietnam, with the 2 cwks, and the short course ones sit the exam with just Cold War, USA and submit one coursework.

Problem is they must do the coursework on objectives 2 + 3 , but have attempted the Ripper on Obj 1. They could of course attempt the source questions on the Ripper with more confidence now though having done work on it already.

As for the Y10s, introduce the SHP, with Crime as the development study, American West as the depth (again, y8 students excel at the Indians study so have a grounding in it), coursework on local study could even be believe it or not the school, its founding and influence on the area. (The school has special historical interest as has its founder). The modern world coursework could be something nice and compact perhaps like the Falklands War.

Advice on the courseworks would be appreciated to save me from insanity. :huh:
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#7 Stephen Drew

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Posted 04 September 2002 - 10:08 PM

The school in my village (Sawston, Cambridgeshire) does itself as its Local Study SHP Coursework! So this is not unheard of.

The address of the history department section of their website is:

http://www.sawstonvc...ulum/human.html

This is just an information site, but I suppose if you go to the homepage, get the contact details and speak to them, they might be able to offer some ideas!
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#8 Dafydd Humphreys

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Posted 04 September 2002 - 10:12 PM

Cheers - I will do.

Do you know whether a candidate can be entered for a short course at the same time as a full course? Sort of hedging your bets if you like?
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#9 Stephen Drew

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Posted 04 September 2002 - 10:14 PM

Not sure of the technicalities, but I believe that since they are two different exams this is not a problem.

At my previous school all Year 11s did the short course RE and some selected to do full GCSE RE. They were entered for both.

:rolleyes:
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#10 Dafydd Humphreys

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Posted 04 September 2002 - 10:22 PM

Thansks for your help and persistence on this one Stephen - really appreciated it. I'll formalise what I decided and tell the SMT. Still need to choose a nice uncomplicated modern world coursework for the obj 2 + 3 when we do SHP.

Now the decision is OCR or Edexcel?? (AQA don't do Crime and Punishment)
:lol:
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#11 Andrew Field

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Posted 05 September 2002 - 02:30 PM

Slightly related - i taught Edexcel GCSE and 'Entry level' to Year 11 last year. Three of the GCSE pupils were pulled from the GCSE and entered into the Entry level course. I don't know, but I'm pretty certain this was very late on. From my understanding Entry level is designed to act exactly in this way.

On another issues, Sawston, Cambridgeshire isn't getting too far away from my own school Neale-Wade. I'm certain we could do a local study as coursework that would also count as studying crime and punishment. :D


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#12 Dafydd Humphreys

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Posted 05 September 2002 - 03:59 PM

Stephen - my head teacher has asked for an action plan re the way forward from the results this year, and an analysis. This includes my consultations with other history departments. Would you mind if I included parts of your opinions you have given here? I'll change your name and details if you want.

I've decided to wait till spring term and then decide who goes on the short course and who goes on the full course. I think the head would prefer half a GCSE to an entry level certificate as it may bring some pupils over the 5 GCSE boundary when added to the half they get from RE or MFL.

With the Y10s, straight into American West/Crime+Punishment.
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