Welcome to the first in a monthly series of blog posts about OCR’s support resources and training services. Every month I’ll be talking all things support, giving you an insight into how we make the things that we do as well as the opportunity to let me know if you’d like us to be doing things differently.
This month I’ll be talking about examiners’ reports.
As you know, after every exam series we publish examiners’ reports, which offer constructive feedback on student performance in an exam series. We know that these are vital to your understanding of an exam series, including your students’ performance and the assessment criteria. We also know that they are very useful in informing your planning and teaching.
Our reports are written by the principal examiner responsible for a particular unit. They are then reviewed by our in-house subject experts and designed and produced by our creative and production teams, to ensure that the reports reflect everything related to an exam series that might be useful to you and that the content is presented in a format and style that allows you to make best use of our assessment expertise and knowledge.
The reports are also very useful to us internally and, after publishing them, we produce further candidate exemplars and develop support resources and training events that focus on the common areas of misconception identified by the examiners. Watch this space.
We’ve been thinking about examiners’ reports a lot over the last year, as well as speaking to teachers across the country. In particular we’ve been thinking about the different ways in which an examiner’s report is useful to you and how we can best tailor them to suit your needs.
Based on our findings and your detailed feedback we made some changes to a selection of reports from the 2018 summer exam series.
As in previous years, the reports discussed in detail how candidates responded to the questions, tasks and assignments for each unit of assessment.
But this year they also provided an overview of how students performed, making suggestions of useful resources and training courses and highlighting common student misconceptions, exemplified with real student exemplars where relevant.
We published these on results day, because we know that’s when you need them the most. Our download stats and your feedback suggest that you really appreciated the new release dates and report functionalities.
Below are some extracts taken from the new-style reports showing the sort of feedback you’d be likely to see from an examiner in the report.
This isn’t the end of our examiners’ reports journey and we’ll be continuing to make improvements in line with your feedback. From next summer, all reports will be in the new style and published on results day. But what can we be doing better? What elements of our assessment expertise do you value most and when? And what did you think of our new-style reports?
This short survey will help us to get to the heart of that and to tailor our support accordingly. The survey has been designed to capture feedback on all resource types, so just enter ‘Examiners’ reports’ in Question 4: what exactly do you need/what do you use examiners’ reports for? When do you need different parts? Are there better ways for us to communicate assessment insight and examiner feedback to you?
Your feedback is invaluable to us and anything you say will be taken into account as we prepare for next summer’s examiners’ reports.
As well as producing and releasing examiners’ reports from the November exam series, along with preparations for the recent January series, this has been a busy few weeks for us.
We published more than 75 resources in November and December, across a spectrum of qualifications, from exemplar candidate work on ‘Crime and punishment c. 1250 to the present’ (J411 GCSE History B (Schools History Project) to a guide to teaching Alexander the Great (J198 GCSE Ancient History). We’re also especially proud of this new resource (see here under Topic Exploration Packs) on the structure and function of the skeletal system (J587 GCSE PE).
This month, I’ll be combating those January blues by attending two conferences: the Association for Science Education Annual Conference in Birmingham (9–12 January) and the Education Show in London (24–5 January). You’ll find me at the OCR stand (A48 and G41, respectively) and, if you’d like to talk about resources, please do come over and say ‘hello’.
If you have questions, then submit your comments below. You can also sign up to Subject Updates and receive email information about resources and support or follow us on Twitter: @OCRexams.
If you have any immediate questions about anything you have read in this blog, please e-mail me at Resources.Feedback@ocr.org.uk or call our Customer Support Centre 01223 553 998.
Tom Stottor is the commissioning editor for support resources and services at OCR. He’s responsible for making sure that the type of resources we make and the training services we offer best suit teachers’ needs. A large part of his job (and the one he enjoys the most) is speaking to teachers and he’s always keen to do so more. Send him an e-mail if you’d like to chat.