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A Level English Assessment Advice

Beth Kemp | Tuesday April 09, 2013

Categories: Hot Entries, Teaching Ideas & Skills Development, KS5 Archive, AQA A Level, AQA A Level Generic Skills, AQA A Level Skills Resources, EDEXCEL A Level, Edexcel A Level Generic Skills, Edexcel A Level Skills Resources, OCR A Level, OCR A Level Generic Skills, OCR A Level Skills Resources, WJEC A Level, WJEC A Level Generic Skills, WJEC A Level Skills Resources


What follows is a small set of samples, exemplars and resources that is intended to suggest ways of providing meaningful feedback advice to students in a time and effort efficient way – as well as helping students to make good use of it.

It’s all too easy to assume that the only way we can help students with coursework drafts, or with mock exams, is to correct everything we can get away with (and in some cases, more than that) and therefore to show them the ‘right’ way. At the same time, we know really that getting the students to work on improving their work is the only way for them to learn how to produce better work. The exemplars are focused on A Level work for the Language and Literature (combined) course, and the Language A Level, but the basic principles will translate into other units and courses.

This is a system constructed of several ways of simplifying marking without losing value to students (in fact, possibly gaining learning value). Personally, I use all of these methods together on major practice essays or mocks and on coursework, but it’s a system that evolved over time for me, so don’t assume this is an all-or-nothing thing. I find this way of marking less labour-intensive than completing a ‘full’ mark of a class set of essays, but at the same time, I think it’s more effective in terms of achieving improvements in students’ work, largely because it makes their contribution explicit.

There are four key components to this:

  • rapid marking of work using highlighters to indicate where AOs are being met
  • use of a cover sheet to indicate main areas for improvement
  • an ‘examiner’s report’ style handout summarising typical errors, uncertainties and gaps
  • class time to focus on marked work, to plan improvements and to check understanding

The ideas do require setting up ahead of time, in that cover sheets need to be produced, but this is a task that genuinely will save time - and in the immediate term, never mind the long. An...

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