Sunday 4 May 2014
I have just completeed another set of moderating for the Internal Assessment element of the course. It is really important to say that I am only a moderator and that I too am subjecto to moderation and my opinion on the interpretation of marking criteria and the natuire of work is just that, only my opinion. I thought it was worth sharing some thoughts though, just the same
In my view it would be more helpful if there was an obligation for teachers to make specific references to the work where they have justified marks. For example. For example, where you might write under criterion C '2 simple relevant correct processes and further process were used' where it would be more helpful to write 'The two simple processes were ..... and ..... which can be seen on page .... and so on.' This is not just born of a desire to make the moderators life easy, but the process would help teachers to check thoroughly for themselves if the candidate has actually completed correct relevant processes. This applies to all of the criteria.
Out of 88 projects seen, I only had one 'Non stats' project. I think the new criteria lend themselves more to non stats work than the older criteria did, but they still lend themselves much more to statistics. I don't have a problem with this. I think there are many possibilities to do useful project work with statistics and I saw a number of very interesting project topics. Statistics is a very applicable tool, especially for maths studies students whose interest probably lie outside of mathematics. In general, there was much less of a formulaic approach taken to project work than in previous years. I had a strong sense that students were allowed to choose and pursue their own areas of interest. The downside is that many students chose some very poor limited topics/ideas. The overwhelming majority of projects were base don primary data. Whilst this is fine, it seems a shame given the ever increasing wealth of availability of real relevant data on the internet. Data is the new oil and working with these large quantities of it is a real pursuit these days and so I would like to see more students doing this.
The new criterion A and B posed a few issues for me as a moderator. The fine details of both are to be applauded. Students need to explain the purpose of their planned approach and be concise and consistent in criterion A and in B they need to describe their data collection process thoroughly to get full marks. I found that very students had done this. As such the vast majority were awarded 2 in both of these criteria. This has an implication for future teaching. Again, I think these are great additions to criteria and will certainly be placing more emphasis on them in my own teaching.
The increased emphasis on 'relevance' and 'conciseness' is excellent, but definitely a challenge for teachers and students. I think it is important that students are exposed to numerous examples of simple, relevant and irrelevant applications of simple statistics and that there is a corresponding emphasis placed on this understanding in classrooms. I think this is a positive change.
I have enjoyed working with the new criteria, although it has been a challenge to make the subtle shifts from the old ones. I think the changes are positive and that the project work has become more purposeful as a result.