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AQA English A and English Lit A GCSE

Sarah Sheldon

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I am attempting to mark my first pieces of coursework under these specifications and would be grateful if someone could please clarify an issue for me. The mark schemes have General criteria and Specific criteria (and Skills Descriptors and Content Descriptors); am I correct in thinking that I use the General criteria to select the band in which the candidate's work best fits, and then refine the mark within the band's mark range using the Specific criteria? For example, if using the General criteria for EN2 I decide that a candidate should be in the D band (marks 25-30), do I then look to see how well they have met the Specific criteria in order to see which mark in the range 25 to 30 should be given?

Also, I have been looking at the forms to be filled in for the exam board (and I know that I don't need to complete them yet, but I just want to gain an understanding!) and am somewhat confused about what happens if the folder is incomplete. On the EN2 record form, EN1 record form and Candidate record form, does one use the reduced mark or the initial mark for EN1, EN2 etc?

I would appreciate any clarification given.

Many thanks


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Guest Andrew Moore

Hi, Sarah,

Help us to help you.

Is this GCSE or GCE or something else? Looks like GCSE.

And what exam board and specification is it?

Most exam boards have inter-school assessors appointed who can give guidance on the teacher's assessment.

If you refer to the assessment criteria, using a best-fit approach, you should not go far wrong.

The spec I know best (AQA A) gives no marks (in the relevant assessment objectives En2 and En3) for missing written work (and, indeed, none in En1 for missing spoken work). But if there is a short piece of a low standard, it might get a mark at a low grade - which makes a huge difference to the maths, since the mark for the low grade is a lot better than zero. But that may not work in other specs from other boards.

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Guest Andrew Moore

Ha. I see now - it is AQA spec A.

Your suggestion about how to do it is right.

In completing the forms that show the marks (I used a spreadsheet and simply transcribed to these) the idea is (or certainly used to be) to arrive at a mark for En2 that is the mean (average) for the tasks that include this assessment objective (Shakespeare and prose study) and the same for En3 (media, original writing). If any piece is missing, then the average is going to be half of the mark for the other piece that qualifies. For instance if the Shakespeare piece is a notional D+ (30) and there is no prose study - then the folder mark for En2 will be 15 (30/2).

The same principle would apply to lit, save that here there are three categories, so one missing leaves the total mark as 2/3 of the sum of the other two.

These cover sheets are mostly for your use and the school's. The only ones that go further are those on the sample sent to the inter-school assessor.

The real marks for all candidates are sent separately - used to be on a paper list, but I hope by now it's a data file.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you for your help, Andrew.

One more issue on which further clarification would be greatly appreciated, relates to the 'best fit' advice on the mark scheme for AQA GCSE English A and English literature.

To mark EN1 coursework, I assume that I would firstly look at the general criteria for a best fit. If however, the candidate does not clearly fit into any band, but has some of the criteria from band G, some from band F and some from band C, do I need to put the candidate into the G band, on the basis that 'each successive grade description assumes the continued demonstration of qualities described in the lower grades', as per the mark scheme?

Then when I have decided on the G band, I would then turn to the specific criteria in order to see how well the candidate has met each criteria, and thus determining a mark from 7-12. Is this correct?

I apologise if I am asking an obvious question, but this is a new specification for me, at a new school and due to staff illness, school is not very helpful at the moment! I really want to make sure that I understand the mark scheme before I attack a huge pile of coursework over half term.

Many thanks for any help given


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