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Aural discrepancies- what to do?


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#1 BannerdaleMusic

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 21:48

Not sure whether I should contact ABRSM. A strong grade 4 piano pupil came back from summer break this evening, I had her certificate and talked through the write up. I noticed she'd only scored 13 on aural (passed with a secure merit - 124 overall), asked which bits went wrong.
My (bright and capable 12 year) old started off with "It wasn't like we practiced. There was no sight singing, and they asked me what had changed when I thought it was something to sing back. It was really confusing."

The write up on her sheet says "The rhythmic response was good but echoes were quite approximate. The change was not heard correctly, but musical details were clearly noted."
- but that doesn't tally with what we practicesd which was
4A - sing back melody played twice (not a series of echoes but 4 bars)
4B - sight singing (5 notes within small range)
4C - character about the piece played & a short clapped rhythm.

I'm using the 2011 edition of ABRSMs Specimen Aural Tests, and the pupil had been using the Aural Trainer app. she did her best in the exam but was obviously not was she was expecting?! She doesn't think they asked her anything about character either, but she seemed more hazy on what the last part was about!
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#2 jpiano

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 22:00

I would definitely contact ABRSM- I could be wrong but it sounds as if the grade 3 tests may have been given in error. An example of the problems with this new long length of time getting back mark forms from ABRSM as this is the last thing you want to be dealing with in the new term when you want to move on with a capable pupil.


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#3 Banjogirl

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 22:15

It definitely sounds like grade 3 aurals were asked.

 

My son was given a grade 7 sight reading in a grade 6 exam. He said it went really well and then the examiner realised and gave him a grade 6 one, which went less well. I hoped that in the circumstances the examiner would have given the mark for the better attempt!

 

I also once had an examiner (I was accompanying so was in the room) who said my son's pieces weren't on the syllabus. Luckily I had the presence of mind to ask if he had the right syllabus,. which he didn't. Useless. If my very shy son had been on his own I don't know what would have happened. I know they're getting through a lot of exams but he had written down what syllabus my son was using (it was a spring exam and he was doing the previous list). Similarly, there is' no excuse for giving the wrong aurals. It's all there in black and white, on the sheet for the pieces, and the mark sheet, and the aural tests.


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#4 BannerdaleMusic

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 22:17

That's what I thought, she scored 17/18 at actual grade 3, but obviously she was well prepared for that. Think even if this was grade 3 it wasn't what she was expecting, and therefore has responded badly. The echos would be particularly 'apporoximate' if you thought you'd finished after the first one! And listening for a change you're not expecting either...

Is a nightmare, I only got the forms this week as I've been on hols so had to chase via the post office. But it's too late for her to give me clear info as to what was asked of her, exact memories have disappeared.

I once had a grade 7 who got asked for a diminished 7th which he played, and the replayed twice more, until the examiner got down from his desk, and walked over to the piano... and proceeded to demonstrate a (as reported by pupil) dominant 7th in the middle of the exam. I was shocked and assumed my pupil had misundertood. When write up came he'd scored a distinction so I didn't bother complaining but it did say in comments 'incorrect diminished 7th'!! I guess I'll never know.
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#5 Banjogirl

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 09:28

As the comments on the mark sheet don't appear to fit the grade 4 requirements at all then I think you have solid grounds for a complaint. It's not your fault they're now taking so long to send everything out.


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#6 linda.ff

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 10:07

I had an adult student taking g3 singing years ago (long enough ago that we were still making entries on paper) and her aural was good. But when she came out, she said "the aural tests were an absolute nightmare - nothing like what we'd been practising at all!". The examiner had had to explain to her what was needed - I have no doubt she got it right all the same. It was only when we had got away from the centre and into the car that she described them to me in more detail, and I felt sure they were actually grade 4 or 5 tests. 

 

So I rang the board, and they said the first thing to do was to check if she had actually been entered for grade 3 or 4. I said "well, she sang grade 3 songs" and they told me she would have been allowed to sing them as she'd worked on them. They then confirmed a couple of days later that she had been entered correctly for grade 3, the examiner freely confessed she had made a mistake, and when the mark sheet arrived she had full marks for aural and the comment was "all tests accurate and very prompt responses" rolleyes.gif


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#7 The Great Sosso

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 12:52

Is the pupil disappointed with her mark?  Personally if this were me, I think I'd drop it.  She got a good merit and if she is ready to move on, why spend time on this when it doesn't materially affect anything?  Aurals are out of 18 I think, so she'd still only get a merit even with full marks for aural.

 

If she is feeling aggrieved, then I'd go ahead and complain but otherwise I don't think I'd bother.

 

TGS x


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#8 BannerdaleMusic

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 13:52

She's not unhappy with her mark (124 overall) It wouldn't change her band, she's not failed her aural, but I would have expected 16 or 17 as she was strong on what we'd worked on. She's unhappy because she worked really hard for something - her grade 4, and wasn't given full credit for what she had achieved. I think an official recognition and apology would probably suffice... but...

I contacted the board who email replied to say because I hadn't contacted them within 7 days, and it was an 'on the day issue' they couldn't formally investigate.
Which has made me cross! As until I got the mark sheet I couldn't have been sure what happened on the day. The pupil only said 'It was confusing, I'm not sure what happened' after her exam. She was concerned she did badly, and was upset as she had worked hard. I told her not to worry (as you do!) and said we'd look when the mark sheet arrived. Which it has... and now apparently it's too late.... examiners make mistakes, it happens. But they need to apologise (preferably in writing) to the candidate involved. And ensure it doesn't happen again.
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#9 maggiemay

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 14:28

That is ridiculous, BannerdaleMusic! How on earth can you get back within 7 days, when you've had no feedback at all by that time?

Poor show, AB.
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#10 BabyGrand

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 14:39

That is ridiculous, BannerdaleMusic! How on earth can you get back within 7 days, when you've had no feedback at all by that time?

Poor show, AB.

agree.gif   Yes, that's completely ridiculous, and frankly not good enough.  sad.png   


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#11 jpiano

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 14:40

Another argument against this changed system of certificates and mark forms taking so long to arrive. Without the comments it can be impossible or very difficult to work out what went wrong. If the comments forms could go online or be sent straight out as Trinity's generally are it would be much fairer. 


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#12 Aquarelle

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 09:07

 

That is ridiculous, BannerdaleMusic! How on earth can you get back within 7 days, when you've had no feedback at all by that time?

Poor show, AB.

agree.gif   Yes, that's completely ridiculous, and frankly not good enough.  sad.png   

 

I couldn't agree more. A very, very unsatisfactory attitude. I wouldn't let it rest there. I would complain again - and again! Consumer Association - sollicitor's letter?  A bit over the top perhaps but we are all entitled to the service we paid for.

 

Less important  complaint but I too have a complaint for something irritating.   A certificate arrived with a mistake - Grade 1 when the boy passed Grade 2. I sent the certificate back with a polite request for a new and correct certificate.   I got a mail back asking me to scan the report form and mail it to them to prove that he had passed Grade 2. I think this is rather rudely making me do their work. They must have somewhere a record of the fee paid and the blue duplicate of the examiner's comments. It  is their mistake. I expect them to check and rectify. That is not my job. The parent paid a hefty  fee  for their services - and I am now being asked to do their job.; Being a very busy person I haven't had time yet  to do it but when I do they will get my accompanying comments.

 

 

I have edited this post as  typing error cause confusion.


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#13 jenny

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 09:20

I don't understand. What was the mistake on the certificate? 


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#14 Bagpuss

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 09:42

Totally agree that this is utterly unacceptable by ABRSM.

I wrote to them a few months ago airing my displeasure at the then proposed changes to the wind syllabus (plus a couple of other grumps) which they didn't even acknowledge let alone bother to reply to.

Must go now - I have an appointment with my life coach.....read into that what you will....

Cross-on-behalf-of-the-OP-Bag (and self!) x

 

 


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#15 linda.ff

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 10:02

 

Must go now - I have an appointment with my life coach.....read into that what you will....

 

Magical Mystery Tour? smile.png


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