A recent Linksintolanguages meeting brought over 50 concerned teachers out to a meeting at Norton Hill school near Bath to discuss all aspects of the new GCSE controlled assessments. Gosh, we are a worried bunch and real attempts at assessments are not lessening our worries.
Peter Spain MFL Advisor for BANES spoke in the Plenary and then we broke into Exam board groups.
Discussions covered the how, when, how long and wherefores of the process we deal with now. We are all struggling with the design of Assessment topics, although I feel we are doing it well. The main angst is caused by the slightly bizarre rulings on management of preparation time - those of you in the middle of Year 10 assessments will know exactly what I mean. Teachers don't like to be rendered incompetent by so much change!
Peter and the team at Norton Hill very kindly put his and other presentations on the BANES wiki - here is the link http://baneslanguages.wikispaces.com/Current+news
The only road to comfort if you are picking up a new class in September is to make sure you understand the importance of teaching the class to build up a bank of useful material as they go along including good paragraphs which you have marked for them. They need to know that everything you cover is important for them but without you betraying what the eventual assessment task will be - "prepare yourself for something you don't know about yet " - it feels very odd but it's the only way to do it.
Our stronger pupils will cope as they always do but I feel that the new GCSE will make life on the C/D borderline very much harder and lower ability pupils are not coping at all. Do you agree?