Getting an A grade in A-level languages just became easier

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Asolare
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#1
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Sixth-formers stand a better chance of scoring a top grade in A-level languages courses this summer after an adjustment was made to grading.

As part of an attempt to help non-native speakers, England's exams regulator Ofqual has asked exam boards to alter the grade boundaries for A grades and above by one percentage point.

The move, which has been welcomed by school leaders, applies to French, German and Spanish. In a letter to headteachers earlier this summer, the regulator said: "We have recently published research on the effect of native speakers in A-level French, German and Spanish.

"The evidence is not conclusive, but it does suggest that the proportion of native speakers taking these qualifications may have increased in recent years, as the overall entry has declined. "Informed by this research, we believe there is a case for making a small upward adjustment to the predictions used to set grade A, and we will implement this for the summer 2017 A-levels."

The decision means, for example, that, all things being equal, if an exam board predicts that around 25% of German A-level students would be expected to get a grade A or above, the awarding body should be looking at around 26% of candidates achieving this result.
https://www.aol.co.uk/news/2017/08/1...became-easier/

This is fine, but I'm being pessimistic here and saying I don't think it's a good enough response really. This has primarily come about because Ofqual investigated and found out that there were a lot more native speakers doing A-Level languages than thought (e.g. German was around ~20% estimated native speakers) and raising the boundary by 1 percentage point isn't going to do much at all to remedy this.

I would have expected more now that they are aware of this (growing) problem as fewer English students take up foreign languages.
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username3441700
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(Original post by Asolare)
https://www.aol.co.uk/news/2017/08/1...became-easier/

This is fine, but I'm being pessimistic here and saying I don't think it's a good enough response really. This has primarily come about because Ofqual investigated and found out that there were a lot more native speakers doing A-Level languages than thought (e.g. German was around ~20% estimated native speakers) and raising the boundary by 1 percentage point isn't going to do much at all to remedy this.

I would have expected more now that they are aware of this (growing) problem as fewer English students take up foreign languages.
This is definitely true ,1% isn't good enough. My school enters everyone (that speaks a first language that isn't english) into A Level exams for that subject. Therefore making it harder for the people learning the language from scratch to achieve higher grades. The grading isn't fair whatsoever. Perhaps it might be a better idea to have a first language paper for native speakers and a second language paper for people learning the language? I dunno how this can properly be solved tbh
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Asolare
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(Original post by Boredom101)
This is definitely true ,1% isn't good enough. My school enters everyone (that speaks a first language that isn't english) into A Level exams for that subject. Therefore making it harder for the people learning the language from scratch to achieve higher grades. The grading isn't fair whatsoever. Perhaps it might be a better idea to have a first language paper for native speakers and a second language paper for people learning the language? I dunno how this can properly be solved tbh
I mean my solution might seem 'unfair' but I would just completely ban native speakers from the course, they have absolutely no need to take it. Only those who are 'native speakers' but who didn't speak the language a lot as a child and can't speak it well should be allowed as an exception.

Universities won't even count it. If they see it's from a native speaker of that language they will dismiss it, so it is absolutely pointless in them doing it.

It is very unfair knowing you have to sit a language exam in which 20% of everyone doing that exam has been speaking the language for ~16 years.
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username1801813
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Damn my chances of getting an A in Spanish just went up 1% lmao.
I'm glad they're doing something though it's not fair we have to compete with natives
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Zereux
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The only reason I'm completely 100% put off of taking a language at A-Level is because of the amount of native speakers taking the A-levels and raising the grade boundaries. I love languages, and would definitely take one at A-Level, but I'm not going to a **** university just because native speakers stole all the top grades.
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Gerry-Atricks
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I think native speakers should take a special A level for themselves which is harder and has higher boundaries and they only compete with other natives.
Only works if schools know for a fact who the native speakers are
call it an advanced language A level or something and if it's harder it'll count more as unis don't really consider language A levels impressive when candidate is native.
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Blue_Cow
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(Original post by Dwarf-Shortage)
I think native speakers should take a special A level for themselves which is harder and has higher boundaries and they only compete with other natives.
Only works if schools know for a fact who the native speakers are
call it an advanced language A level or something and if it's harder it'll count more as unis don't really consider language A levels impressive when candidate is native.
There are syllabi for "First Language" students, but clearly, the native speakers prefer the easier "Second Language" exams.
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Asolare
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(Original post by Blue_Cow)
There are syllabi for "First Language" students, but clearly, the native speakers prefer the easier "Second Language" exams.
Is this for all exam boards? I do not believe this is the case for AQA and a google seems to suggest it's only for CIE, but I could be wrong
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Gerry-Atricks
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(Original post by Blue_Cow)
There are syllabi for "First Language" students, but clearly, the native speakers prefer the easier "Second Language" exams.
Makes sense. Then schools should force the native speakers to take them (if they can prove they're native)
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Blue_Cow
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(Original post by Asolare)
Is this for all exam boards? I do not believe this is the case for AQA and a google seems to suggest it's only for CIE, but I could be wrong
Damn, I keep forgetting state schools don't make students sit IGCSE exams anymore - thanks for pointing that out!
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Reality Check
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(Original post by Asolare)
I mean my solution might seem 'unfair' but I would just completely ban native speakers from the course, they have absolutely no need to take it. Only those who are 'native speakers' but who didn't speak the language a lot as a child and can't speak it well should be allowed as an exception.

Universities won't even count it. If they see it's from a native speaker of that language they will dismiss it, so it is absolutely pointless in them doing it.

It is very unfair knowing you have to sit a language exam in which 20% of everyone doing that exam has been speaking the language for ~16 years.
I totally agree with this. I wonder how many of those taking Chinese, Urdu and Arabic at A level are actually native speakers. It's entirely unfair on those who are actually learning it as a MFL.

I know unis usually discount an A level taken in a second/native language as a MFL, but I don't quite know how they work out whether it is or not.
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zlwarner24
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i'm pretty happy reading this, really would like an A in German and this makes it seem more realistic 😅 but yeah, i think its not very fair for native speakers to take these exams. at my sixth form, there were about 6 german native speakers in the AS class, which was about 1/3 of the entire group!
hopefully either the grade boundaries or rules on native speakers will change in time, but i'm just happy something has been done ☺️
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Reality Check
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(Original post by zlwarner24)
i'm pretty happy reading this, really would like an A in German and this makes it seem more realistic 😅 but yeah, i think its not very fair for native speakers to take these exams. at my sixth form, there were about 6 german native speakers in the AS class, which was about 1/3 of the entire group!
hopefully either the grade boundaries or rules on native speakers will change in time, but i'm just happy something has been done ☺️
Exactly. When I did A level French, I and the rest of us worked our arses off to get the highest grades, but there was a student who was bilingual in French and English. Result - he did pretty much zero work safe in the knowledge he'd get a top mark and spent that time instead concentrating on his other A levels... whereas we had to divide our time equally between the four or five we were taking. So unfair...
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physicsamor
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This is one step but still more needs to be done because honestly the grade boundaries are ridiculous for a - level languages. I'm hoping that 1% helps me in my results for spanish this Thursday. But 1% isn't much.
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