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Concourse 2

The external assessment for Delta Module Two: frequently asked questions

external assessor


important

How important is the externally assessed assignment?

Very.
Although it's not a completely hard-and-fast rule, you have to pass both parts of the external assignment to pass Module Two overall.  To get a Merit or Distinction, you have to get a Merit or Distinction in the externally assessed lesson and pass the Background Essay.


who are the assessors

Who are the assessors?

They are ELT training professionals.

  • Most are or have recently been Delta tutors
  • All of them have also been externally assessed in the same way (so they know how it feels)
  • They are drawn from a wide variety of backgrounds and have worked in a range of teaching settings
  • They are all English Language Teachers
  • They are all humans

observe

What are assessors looking for?

External Assessors are looking for exactly the same things as centre tutors look for in all other LSAs.  They use the same forms and are standardised in the same way.  There are no secrets.
There are guides on this site to meeting the criteria for the Background Essay, the Lesson Plan, Teaching and the Reflection and Evaluation.  Make sure you remind yourself of the important data in those.
For an example of the Delta5a form, click here.


paperwork

What paperwork do assessors need?

Make sure you have available, preferably in two or three separate folders:

  • Your Background Essay
    This should have:
    • Been word-processed with a standard font and font size, proofread and checked (twice)
    • Page numbers
    • A cover sheet setting out who wrote it, the centre number, your candidate number, the word count and its title
    • A footer containing the title, your name and your centre / candidate number like this:
      Helping low level learners to express past experiences, J Bloggs, XX000/004
  • Your complete, properly ordered lesson plan
    This should contain
    • A cover sheet and footer as above
    • All the materials the students will get or you will use in the lesson in the order you will use them
  • Your Reflection and Evaluation including a cover sheet and footer as above.  You send this, via your centre, to the assessor within 48 hours of the end of the lesson

electronic

Do I also send paperwork electronically to the assessor?

Yes but via your centre.  All the paperwork for your assignment must be available in electronic format.
This is how it is transferred to Cambridge except in unusual circumstances.

If the assessor has explicitly told the centre or you that it is in order he or she may not require hard copy of everything on the day but it is as well to have it available.


day

What happens on the day?

Here's the procedure:

assessment procedure


chair

Where should the assessor sit?

Classrooms vary but if possible:

  • Place a chair and a table (or seminar chair) at the back of the room
  • Make sure the assessor can see the whole class
  • Make sure the assessor has a clear view of any aids (boards, projector screens, flipcharts etc.)
  • Keep the assessor behind or to the side of the learners so eye contact is minimised
  • Put the assessor's place near an electrical supply for a laptop if needed
  • Make it somewhere comfortable (out of strong sunlight, away from fierce heat etc.)

assess

What do the assessors do in the lesson?

They watch, listen and assess.  Assessors may:

  • Move around if they need to see what learners are doing / writing
  • Seem to be doing nothing – they are thinking
  • Read – they are probably checking your plan and seeing where the timing is and what the aim of a stage is
  • Type on a laptop.  Some assessors hand-write notes, some type a list of thoughts, some type directly into a Delta5a form and edit it later.

Assessors do not:

  • Get involved in the lesson
  • Interrupt you
  • Talk to the learners if they can avoid it
  • Make eye contact with the learners or you
  • Grimace, groan or grin (usually)

if

What happens if ...

Here are a few of the usual questions following the What happen if ...:

... I need to change the date or time of the assessment?
This shouldn't happen and can be a real problem if the assessor is travelling a long way to see you.  If it is unavoidable, you must go through the centre to make a new arrangement and you must do this as soon as you can.  If you know another candidate who is being assessed in the same session and swapping times would solve the problem, suggest this to the centre but do not just do it!
... I don't have enough learners in the group?
The minimum number is five (there is no maximum).  If this number are not present at the beginning, the assessor can wait 15 minutes for more to arrive (or be found from other groups).
There may be exceptional circumstances, such as industrial action cancelling public transport, terror alerts, unusually severe weather and so on, and the assessor has the discretion to go ahead with the assessment in any case.  Note that a learner being ill or unable to attend because of work commitments etc. do not count as exceptional circumstances.
... I need to cancel the assessment and rearrange it for another time / session?
This will incur a cost and you will be liable for it.
... my lesson overruns?
The assessor may be able to stay up to 15 minutes beyond the scheduled end time but not if there is another assessment to follow on, of course.  Making sure it doesn't happen is a better way forward.
... my lesson for the assessment forms part of a longer session so I want to do the introductory, scene-setting work and the follow-up free practice before the assessor arrives and after she leaves?
Do not do this.  The assessor has to see a complete and self-contained teaching unit.  It is sometimes an unnatural constraint but that's how it is.
... I want the assessor to tell me if it was all OK?
Don't ask.  Assessors may not discuss the lesson with you at all.
... I want to comment on the assessor's behaviour?
There's a form for this which your centre can let you have.  The centre tutor needs to countersign it and send it to Cambridge.
... I have noticed a silly error in my materials / the lesson plan / the background essay and want to give the assessor a revised version after the lesson?
You can't.  The assessor is required by Cambridge only to accept materials given in before the lesson.  Don't let it happen.
... the assessor has asked that an assessor-in-training accompany him?
You can, if you want to, refuse to allow this.
... I do not want the assessor to use a laptop during the lesson?
You have to notify the centre of your wishes and these will be respected.
... I want to contact the assessor?
Don't.  It's not allowed.  All contacts with assessors are the centre's responsibility.
... I have a potentially disruptive student in the group and I want to explain the problem to the assessor?
This should be in your lesson plan both under the profiles of the learners and the group and in your anticipated problems and solutions section.
... I was not feeling well on the day of the assessment and think this may have affected my performance?
The centre (not you) can send a notification of Special Circumstances to Cambridge and it will be considered at moderation.  The assessor will not take this into account.  You will need some medical evidence, ideally.

cambridge

What happens next?

All the paperwork ends up in this building in Cambridge.  It is here that it all comes together for the first time and comparisons are made between the results of the external assessment and your internal coursework portfolio.
For more of what happens to it there, go to the guide to Delta terminology and systems.


tortoise

Why are results so slow in arriving?

It depends slightly on when you take the external assessment.

Moderation of Module Two results happens three times a year only because it is impractical for Moderators to work together more frequently than that.
This means that reports from external assessors are held until the next Moderation meeting and you may be unlucky to fall just after one so there will be a delay.
Quite a lot has to happen at Moderation (follow the link above to see what it involves) and lots of effort is put in to making sure the result is the right one and truly reflects your performance.
It's worth the wait.