Oposiciones Profesores Inglés Part 1B for Secundarias, Escuelas and Primarias, is common to all the Autonomous Regions. As we know, everybody has to write on one out of 4 or 5 topics – or two for Primaria, and depending on the public call.
Where we are now
In some Autonomous Regions, the candidates have to then read aloud their topic essay (Part 1B) and the Language Exam (Part 1A). In other Autonomous regions, the members of the panel mark it directly to ensure the anonymity of the candidate.
Good move in Madrid 2017 & 2018
In Madrid this year for Secondary Education and Escuelas -and last year for Primary education- the candidates wrote both part 1A and 1B on carbon copies. They took the carbon copy with them and handed in the original to the board.
Why such low marks? Analysis of the situation
The general complaint this year was that the panels had been told not to cover all the available posts.
I am in no position to say whether this is true or false. I can only say that I asked a former Poppies candidate who was a member of one of the panels in Madrid and she flatly denied the accusations. No reason to question what she told me. Consequently, I need to look further into the matter to explain the low marks.
Too many panels or boards, so it’s tough for them to follow exactly the same criteria when marking
Yes, I do know they are given assessment criteria to follow. I am also aware that they are given guidelines for penalisation procedures. But having read some of the exams this year myself from the carbon copies candidates have shown me, I was able to see some strict and some lenient penalisation procedures.
In some cases, the penalisation was so strict that candidates got a zero. I have only seen one of those and, to be honest, I doubt that a different panel would have assigned such a mark to the essay. Not that it deserved a pass, but a zero? I do not think it did.
General comments on Part 1B
Marks 8 or over
So, in general, those who got a high mark (8 or over) in Part 1B did so because they wrote a well-structured essay covering all the contents. They also included updated, relevant information, did not make major language mistakes and used appropriate lexis and grammatical structures. Finally, the ideas were presented logically, flowing nicely from one to the next. As we have often mentioned in the face-to-face classes.
Marks between 5 and 7.99
Well, obviously it is not the same a 5 as a 7.99, and I am going to comment based only on what I have seen.
My impression is that some of you wanted to include so much that you didn’t have time for revision. Or you gave too many details about the context and not enough about the subject matter. In some cases I found statements which were not quite right. Or they were expressed in a muddled way, lacking clarity. And so you may have been penalised for mistakes you could have easily avoided. A name mistaken for another name, not explaining the connections between one section and the next. Fairly simple structures which do not show contrast or addition, consequence, etc. All those elements count and may explain why you did not get the high mark you were expecting.
Marks below 5
I know you feel bitter about the exam results and you may not like what I am saying here. Yet, as English teachers, we need to write well in English. You may or may not know that very much about the topic in question, but if you write well and express your ideas with clarity and follow a good structure, you may be able to get at least a 5. Consider the number of topics you have studied and the possibilities.
In general, I found that those who did not get at least a 5 in the topic
- had written on a different topic from the one they said they were going to write, or
- presented an almost illegible hand-writing, or
- the essay contained fundamental errors, or
- did not finish the essay or was badly written.
Sometimes we think we have done something well and then, when we re-read it we find we made serious mistakes. Be honest with yourself: did you really write a good essay and you failed this part?
If the answer is yes, I hope you have filed a formal complaint and have asked to see the correction and marking of your essay. I think that most of the times, the reason why we have failed this part is one of those expressed above. In which case:
My tips for the future
Write good paragraphs, as we say in the Poppies’ mini-course on study techniques and on this post at Grammarly
Have a look at the picture in the post: the key words are tips for you!
Should the exam for Oposiciones Profesores Inglés Part 1B change in the future?
After the results, candidates were questioning the exam. The general feeling is that it is not fair. That it rewards memorisation rather than whether the candidate is a good teacher or not. And I sympathise and partially agree with you.
Some were proposing a type of “objective” exam to make it “fair”. But, in my view, this is an oxymoron. The Oposiciones a Profesores de Inglés cannot, should not be a multiple choice test. This would turn the exam into something much more unfair than what it is now. People may get a pass just by pure luck, by randomly ticking the right answer without knowing what they are choosing. Think about it.
An essay of sorts in the Oposiciones Profesores Inglés Part 1B is necessary
The reason why I think there should always be an essay or, at the very least, some paragraph writing is that teachers need to teach their students how to write well in English. Consequently, they need to show that they can write well in English. So their writing should be assessed following clear assessment criteria
Your views on the subject
What are your views on this? I would like to hear from candidates and from members of panels. And from different Autonomous Regions. We want a proper open call, with open and clear assessment criteria and exam procedures so that we can learn and improve. We all need to take part in it. Please, take part! Comment here or send me an email with your views. I do already have some feedback from Catalonia. Thank you very much, Assumpta, for your contribution. And congratulations on your success.