Friday, 16 September 2011

The raven himself is a horse

It's just a brief note, to draw your attention to an interesting opinion article, written by the head of AQA's research unit, Chris Wheadon, for the TES, discussing the results of modularisation. It's likely to be a bit of a backwater of history, since the situation has been reversed and modularisation is on its way out for GCSE.

Of course even without modularisation there is no reason why students can't be entered early for the whole qualification - it's been customary in some places for years to enter some students for the whole of their English GCSE in November, which is a re-sit session: the reasoning goes that the overall standard of the candidature is lower, because it consists mostly of those who failed, so candidates who are expected to pass will look better by comparison. Also, as with A level marking in January sessions, it is often thought that the marking is better - because only 'good' markers (and there's a whole can of worms you can read about in my DPhil thesis if you must) are asked to return for those sessions which require many fewer markers, because there are many fewer candidates. It used to be official advice from AQA that candidates for the Editorial Writing module of A2 English Language should be entered early, so they could use the January exam as a 'mock' for the summer (and let's not get into the matter of exam fees on that one, eh?).

So does it demoralise and demolish fragile self-confidence? Is that a necessary evil for those getting through it with better marks, or getting a qualification at all? Have you taken any modules or qualifications at a different time than usual? How did it feel?