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Much lower score than expected for grade 8 online examination


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#1 Ahmed

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Posted 15 September 2020 - 18:33

I am a bit confused about how the scores for my grade 8 online exam were decided. I barely passed my scales (16), despite playing them completely correct/at the right tempo. The examiner wrote that it needed more "shape", but I feel that it is way too harsh to deduct 5 marks for, particularly looking back at my previous grades, where i completely messed up the scales but scored higher. I also scored lower than the mark given to me by my teacher in sight reading, despite having massively improved. Am I right in saying teacher input marks are just for show, and your real grades are just based off your previous grades score, because I feel completely short changed considering the amount of effort I put in for sight treading and scales, as well as my pieces, for which they just gave 20 for all 3. The examiner comments was just a barrage of negative feedback, and much of it felt more as if he was trying to justify the score by exaggerating and listing lots of little things, then genuine constructive feedback. Is it worth an appeal, or is ABRSM'S system just completely broken? 


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#2 EllieD

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Posted 16 September 2020 - 07:44

I'm sorry to hear that. As you passed, I doubt it's worth appealing, but since you presumably still have the recording, if you think the comments are actually wrong, perhaps consider it. I'm guessing from other similar posts from people who have taken online exams that the examiners are marking harshly. Perhaps this is to reflect that candidates can have several attempts at making a recording, and don't have the pressure of a formal exam situation? So the expected standard might be higher. Just a guess. 


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#3 ten left thumbs

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Posted 16 September 2020 - 08:15

... just another thought. Unless it's a very good recording *and* a very good playback (bearing in mind you have no control over what speakers/headset the examiner uses to listen), it's totally possible that the shape you put into scales, sightreading and pieces was absent from what the examiner actually examined.


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#4 dorfmouse

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Posted 16 September 2020 - 08:32

Well, I suppose that as it's recorded it should be easier to have the marks reviewed than in the traditional setup. However, look at the Performance Exams thread in the Teachers' forum for perspectives on how these online exams have so many built in technical problems, which could easily cause your performance to sound less musical in terms of dynamics, shaping, musicality etc than in real life.

As to how they say they treat the teacher assessment, that seems to be a disaster in the making if they are then going to "moderate" the teacher's marks compared to your previous exams. What if you've improved enormously since the last exam? And what about people who have not taken a previous exam for comparison? Sounds like a variation on the discredited algorithm mess up.

It seems you did pass? I personally would not waste any more money on appealing unless you need a certain mark for some reason. Maybe your teacher has a colleague who could give you an independent review on your recording or you could play for in a live lesson for some independent feedback?

Try not to dwell on results, think of how you have improved and developed by putting in the hard work to even attempt this level of performance. Use your money for good teaching and positive musical experiences I'd say!
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#5 HelenVJ

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Posted 16 September 2020 - 10:34

How very disappointing, Ahmed. Grade 8 is a lot of work and effort. This is exactly why I'm not going to be entering any students for online exams. 


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#6 Ahmed

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Posted 16 September 2020 - 16:53

... just another thought. Unless it's a very good recording *and* a very good playback (bearing in mind you have no control over what speakers/headset the examiner uses to listen), it's totally possible that the shape you put into scales, sightreading and pieces was absent from what the examiner actually examined.

But they never heard my sight reading. They just assumed I did not improve based on my grade 7, despite the huge amount of work I put into it and my teacher assessed grades. 


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#7 ten left thumbs

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Posted 16 September 2020 - 17:46

 

... just another thought. Unless it's a very good recording *and* a very good playback (bearing in mind you have no control over what speakers/headset the examiner uses to listen), it's totally possible that the shape you put into scales, sightreading and pieces was absent from what the examiner actually examined.

But they never heard my sight reading. They just assumed I did not improve based on my grade 7, despite the huge amount of work I put into it and my teacher assessed grades. 

 

Ah I stand corrected. My main point still stands. I'm sorry you're in this position. We are all human including teachers, examiners and even the humans in the AB. Humans that did not ask for covid and are prone to making mistakes. 


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#8 Clari Nicki1

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Posted 16 September 2020 - 21:58

 

... just another thought. Unless it's a very good recording *and* a very good playback (bearing in mind you have no control over what speakers/headset the examiner uses to listen), it's totally possible that the shape you put into scales, sightreading and pieces was absent from what the examiner actually examined.

But they never heard my sight reading. They just assumed I did not improve based on my grade 7, despite the huge amount of work I put into it and my teacher assessed grades. 

 

I had to give my pupil sight reading and aural marks and explain what I based it off?


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#9 Ahmed

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Posted 17 September 2020 - 13:30

 

 

... just another thought. Unless it's a very good recording *and* a very good playback (bearing in mind you have no control over what speakers/headset the examiner uses to listen), it's totally possible that the shape you put into scales, sightreading and pieces was absent from what the examiner actually examined.

But they never heard my sight reading. They just assumed I did not improve based on my grade 7, despite the huge amount of work I put into it and my teacher assessed grades. 

 

I had to give my pupil sight reading and aural marks and explain what I based it off?

 

Yeah my teacher said she did that as well and was very surprised about the mark I got back. I think that teacher assessed grades are not looked at/only play a minor role in deciding the mark you get. ABRSM were not clear from the start, but it looks like they just give the same score pretty much as the last grade you did. 


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#10 dorfmouse

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Posted 17 September 2020 - 13:39

If they really do that it's disgusting. Aren't you expected to improve?
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#11 ten left thumbs

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Posted 17 September 2020 - 14:49

I'm not justifying the mark, but surely the real point of working at sightreading is to gain the skills in sightreading, which you now have and no one can take away from you. If covid means that you don't get the number you feel you deserve, then at least you can sightread. 


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