Language policy & practice in the UK
Language policy & practice in the UK
Languages show a dramatic rise in number of entries
The Joint Council for Qualifications released the following statement today (22/08/13):
Following years of decline, this year’s results show a dramatic rise in the number of entries for GCSE languages. Entries for traditional languages (French, German, Spanish) are up 16.9 per cent compared with last year (French up 15.5 per cent; German up 9.4 per cent; Spanish up 25.8 per cent). Of the three, only Spanish increased last year. French remains the most popular language taken by students with 177,288 entries.
Other modern languages rose by 5.1 per cent compared with a rise of 13.7 per cent in 2012. The most popular other modern languages are: Italian 5,136 entries; Urdu 4,519 entries; Polish 3,933 entries; Arabic 3,607 entries; and Chinese 3,042 entries.
You can read the full JCQ press release here
The Telegraph reports:
Ofqual is to launch an investigation into “variations” in the number of A* and A grades awarded in traditional sixth-form exams, it was revealed.
In a report, the regular said the proportion of top marks differed significantly between subjects each year.
It raised particularly concerns over modern foreign languages such as French, German and Spanish, with warnings that examiners award “relatively few” elite A*s compared with other disciplines.
Over the next year, the watchdog will evaluate the way subjects are graded “so that standards are as comparable and consistent as possible”, it emerged.
It is believed that the proportion of good marks will fail to rise for the second year running following a Government crackdown on “grade inflation”. In 2012, some 26.6 per cent of papers were awarded at least an A compared with 27 per cent a year earlier.
But Ofqual suggested that students’ chances of securing top grades depended on their choice of subject.
According to figures, 28.6 per cent of further maths papers were graded A* last year, while the number stood at 17.4 per cent for maths, 13.1 per cent for art and design, 10.7 per cent in the classics and 9.9 per cent in physics.
However, the proportion was as low as 2.4 per cent in ICT, 3.3 per cent in business studies, 3.7 per cent in drama, 6.3 per cent in geography and 6.8 per cent in English.
Only 6.8 per cent of French exams and 7.9 per cent of German papers gained A* despite the fact that languages are normally the preserve of the brightest pupils.
The Government has already outlined plans to overhaul A-levels with tougher questions and a greater focus on end-of-course exams.
Ofqual said it did not plan to “recalibrate” A-level standards when new courses are introduced in subjects such as English, science, maths, history and geography in 2015.
But Ofqual added: “There are two features of performance standards at present that we plan to address.
“First, relatively few A* grades are awarded in modern foreign languages when compared with other subjects with a high proportion of A grades. Secondly, there are variations in the proportion of A* to A grades awarded at A level each year in subjects.
“We plan to evaluate both of these features and to make improvements so that standards are as comparable and consistent as possible.”
The corporate plan – outlining Ofqual’s priorities over the next three years – also suggested that pupils were sitting too many exams, saying that it wanted to develop approaches to education “that do not assume that everything that should be taught should be assessed and contribute to the student’s grade for the subject”.
It also announced plans for a national sampling test for 16-year-olds that will be used to benchmark the difficulty level of future GCSE exams.
LINK DELETED: http://ofqual.gov.uk/news/ofqual-sets-out-plans-to-drive-qualification-improvement/
LINK DELETED: http://ofqual.gov.uk/files/2013-08-09-corporate-plan-2013-16.pdf
A breakdown of the latest results revealed a big increase in the numbers taking maths and science subjects. The take-up of languages on the other hand, continues to decline. Although Spanish increased by 4.1 per cent, entries for French and German declined by 9.9 per cent and 11.1 per cent respectively.
This year science accounted 17.8 per cent of all subject entries – compared with 17 per cent last year. In maths and further maths, the figure went up from 11.5 per cent to 12 per cent.
The Telegraph and the Independent both led with articles on the disappointing take-up of languages:
The subject content and assessment objectives for new GCSEs in Modern Foreign Languages and Ancient Languages were published on 11th June. These are the criteria that Ofqual will use to regulate and which the awarding organisations will use to create exam specifications. So they are the proposed basis for the specification that schools will finally receive.
Content for Languages GCSEs is being issued now, while the timetable for first teaching remains September 2016, with first examining in 2018.
The Government wishes young people to have access to qualifications which match and exceed those of the highest performing jurisdictions and the Department is now seeking views on the proposed subject content and assessment objectives for these new GCSEs. Proposed subject content for reformed GCSEs in English language, English literature, mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, combined science (double award), history, geography, modern languages and ancient languages, as well as the Reformed GCSE Subject Content Consultation document are available here on the Department’s website. The consultation will run from 11 June until 22 August.
In parallel with this consultation Ofqual are consulting on the revised regulatory requirements for the reformed GCSEs. The Ofqual consultation will be available here.
Venue: Europe House, 32 Smith Square, London SW1P 3EU
Date: 12 July 2013
With the arrival of talking pictures in the late 1920s, film industries in Europe and America faced a new dilemma. Silent films had spread easily round the world, needing only the simple exchange of one title card for another in a different language to be fitted for foreign export. But how could companies hold onto their foreign markets once characters in their films started talking? Primitive soundtrack dubbing was tried, also subtitling, but the method that took hold, if briefly, was multi-lingual production, with the same film issued in different language versions. Britain set the ball rolling in the summer of 1929 with Atlantic, made in English and German. Greta Garbo in Hollywood made her talkie debut in English and German versions of Anna Christie. Marlene Dietrich, in The Blue Angel, did the same at Ufa’s Neubabelsberg studio outside Berlin. Neubabelsberg was the world’s bastion of multi-lingual production in the early 1930s, with troops of actors, German, English and French, following each other onto the same sets in numerous musical comedies and dramas, including the popular Congress Dances and the futuristic spectacle F.P.1.
Film historian and music critic Geoff Brown will examine the joys and headaches of multi-lingual filming and cross-cultural exchange, with the emphasis on Britain’s participation in Ufa’s output during the turbulent last months of the Weimar Republic, just before Hitler came to power in 1933. The technical problems, the culture clashes, the political ramifications, the drama of an elderly British character actor found on the pavement bleeding from his head: all will be revealed in a presentation combining film clips, images, and documentary evidence.
For more information contact: Angelique.Petrits@ec.europa.eu
Polish is officially the second language of England with 546,000 people naming it as their mother tongue in the 2011 Census. This was followed by Panjabi (half of one per cent, 273,000) and Urdu (half of one per cent, 269,000).
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