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BalletBelle

RAD Ballet - exam results for graded exams

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This might seem like an odd question, but what sort of results are 'normal'?

 

I know that the RAD website shows proportions of distinctions, merits etc. but understandably it doesn't show whether those distictions are marks of 76 or 95.

 

My DDs go to a dance school where RAD Ballet exam marks are nearly all distinctions with just a smattering of high merits. Dancers (girls and boys) regularly receive marks well into the 90s. In fact, a couple of years ago, one dancer even achieved 100!!

How 'normal' (common, usual) is it for dancers to gain marks as high as this (I don't mean 100, I mean 90+)?

 

The reason I ask is that, having received a set of exam results yesterday, some of the dancers felt disappointed and upset to "only" receive marks of 82-85 - because their friends achieved marks of 94-97.

Dancing at a school where such high marks are commonplace every year, means that we all lose perspective over what is 'normal' and it affects expectations. There are very few dance schools in the area and we are the only one who do RAD graded exams (the others - still 10 miles away so not next-door, do ISTD ballet) which means that our dancers find it difficult to relate their marks to anything outside the bubble of our own dance school. 

 

I have no idea whether marks in the 90s are quite unusual and difficult to come by ...or reasonably commonplace and a significant number are awarded across RAD schools every exam session... 

 

My own feeling is that a score of 82 is a really good score - it falls well into the distinction category.

 

I am not complaining in any way - I feel very lucky to be part of a dance school that clearly teaches and prepares the children so well. I am just trying to improve my own knowledge and understanding.

Can anyone help put things into perspective? 

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1 hour ago, BalletBelle said:

This might seem like an odd question, but what sort of results are 'normal'?

 

I know that the RAD website shows proportions of distinctions, merits etc. but understandably it doesn't show whether those distictions are marks of 76 or 95.

 

My DDs go to a dance school where RAD Ballet exam marks are nearly all distinctions with just a smattering of high merits. Dancers (girls and boys) regularly receive marks well into the 90s. In fact, a couple of years ago, one dancer even achieved 100!!

How 'normal' (common, usual) is it for dancers to gain marks as high as this (I don't mean 100, I mean 90+)?

 

The reason I ask is that, having received a set of exam results yesterday, some of the dancers felt disappointed and upset to "only" receive marks of 82-85 - because their friends achieved marks of 94-97.

Dancing at a school where such high marks are commonplace every year, means that we all lose perspective over what is 'normal' and it affects expectations. There are very few dance schools in the area and we are the only one who do RAD graded exams (the others - still 10 miles away so not next-door, do ISTD ballet) which means that our dancers find it difficult to relate their marks to anything outside the bubble of our own dance school. 

 

I have no idea whether marks in the 90s are quite unusual and difficult to come by ...or reasonably commonplace and a significant number are awarded across RAD schools every exam session... 

 

My own feeling is that a score of 82 is a really good score - it falls well into the distinction category.

 

I am not complaining in any way - I feel very lucky to be part of a dance school that clearly teaches and prepares the children so well. I am just trying to improve my own knowledge and understanding.

Can anyone help put things into perspective? 

Gosh, you read my mind. Living in a small community and my DD attending one of very few providers of RAD exams I too was wondering the answer. I’ve researched the RAD website on multiple occasions and was unable to source any kind of answer. I will follow this thread with interest. 🙆‍♀️😊. 

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Those are high results. Average for dance schools are high merit with a few distinctions I've found. 

My daughter's original dance school was mainly distinction, as the teacher was a former Elmhurst tutor, and didn't put anyone forward for exams until she thought they were going to achieve their best possible marks (for their personal ability). However this meant most got distinction. 

The school we're in now averages high merits. And another local school is the same. 60-80 being normal. 

82 is fantastic. 

I'm waiting for my daughter's results at the moment. And I would be over the moon with that x

Edited by JupiterSmith
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Hello BalletBelle and welcome out of the lurking shadows!  Now that you've broken the ice I hope you will continue to join in.

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You can find a breakdown of the results on the RAD website. https://www.royalacademyofdance.org/achieve/exams/Results%2C qualifications and recognition/uk-results-statistics Overall about 30% achieve distinction across all grades although the % increases significantly in the higher grades. It doesn't answer  the question about the actual mark but it does show that a distinction is a real achievement. 

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I would say that merits are more normal but if schools focus strongly on exams (perhaps taking longer or not doing non syllabus work) they are likely to get Higher results than a school that only focuses on the syllabus for half the year with the rest of the time d voted to non syllabus/show work. 

 

Some schools will keep students  in lower grades if they are not likely to get a distinction whereas other schools will enter students they think are capable of getting a pass.  

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5 hours ago, JupiterSmith said:

Those are high results. Average for dance schools are high merit with a few distinctions I've found. 

My daughter's original dance school was mainly distinction, as the teacher was a former Elmhurst tutor, and didn't put anyone forward for exams until she thought they were going to achieve their best possible marks (for their personal ability). However this meant most got distinction. 

The school we're in now averages high merits. And another local school is the same. 60-80 being normal. 

82 is fantastic. 

I'm waiting for my daughter's results at the moment. And I would be over the moon with that x

Hi, Can I just ask which Grade are you waiting the results for? 

DD has Grade 8 and Intermediate coming up, both exams squeezed in dayes between her GCSE's, not the greatest of timings but didn't have much choice, sadly. 

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Thanks all.

Our dance school does an annual show - almost the whole of the autumn term is dedicated to it. A lot of the dancers also compete in local festivals.

So there is a reasonable chunk of time devoted to non-syllabus work - although perhaps it helps the dancers get better scores for the performance elements of their exams?

 

General feedback, so far, seems to be that the school's results are comparatively high?

The teachers do seem to only put dancers in for exams if they are confident that they will get a distinction. Although progress doesn't seem to be especially slow to me....

DD1 has just turned 11 and will be taking her RAD G4 exam in June.

DD2 is 6 and will be taking her RAD Primary exam in June.

I just assumed they were pretty average ages to be taking the exams?

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I know a RAD examiner who talks in general terms about her tours, its more common for children to achieve merits than anything else! Therefore any distinction is a real achievement but I gather 90 plus is rare!

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Results at our dance school are generally high too - I know what you mean about the 'disappointment' of not getting 90... Which is crazy as a distinction is an excellent achievement. The dance school generally mention the names of the kids who get over 90 and there are maybe 8 - 10 of them. 

 

The age/level sounds about average to me - my DD is also 6 and sitting Primary in May and the girls sitting Grade 4 are generally 10 - 12. 

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Thank you!

 

From what I understand, please correct me if I'm wrong;

 

- DDs' dance school does seem to get very high results - higher than the 'norm'.

- But progress through grades doesn't seem to be any slower as the dancers are still at average age for their respective grades.

-Despite how our dancers feel about achieving marks below 90, their results are extremely good and higher than the national 'norm'.

 

Thank you for sharing your experiences and knowledge with me. As i said in my original post, sometimes it is really hard to know what goes on outside the bubble of our own dance school and so it's really easy to lose perspective.

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Our dance school has a policy that DC don't discuss what mark they got. The results are handed out in envelopes after class and most kids open them on the way home. We do hear occasionally about scores over 90%. I guess kids will talk, but my DD has never asked another student what mark they got. It's obviously important to each child individually to know how well they did, but exam marks only really show that a student has learnt the work and done a good job of presenting it. This year DD has said she doesn't want to do exams any more (she's doing Grade 7 and Adv Foundation classes), and that's fine with me. But I hear other parents complaining if their child doesn't sit an exam every year in each dance style their child does. I guess for some parents it's their only way of seeing progress?

At our school the girls are usually starting pointework at 11-12 so would be at IF by then. DD sat IF exam at almost 12 and Intermediate at almost 13. The girls auditioning for full-time training at the end of Year 11 have usually sat Advanced 1 at 15 so I assumed that was a fairly standard progression, but perhaps it varies.

Edited by Cara in NZ
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In our school scores get read out in class by the teacher - everybody knows everybody else's marks.

But that wasn't really a debate that I wanted to open up.

 

My query was really about what proportion of RAD distinctions awarded are for marks 90+,  and therefore how difficult are they to come by.

In our school they seem to be very common - the downside of which is that those with scores of e.g. 84 aren't as delighted with them as they might otherwise be... that led me to wonder where those scores of e.g. 84 might sit outside the small bubble of our dance school.

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When it comes down to it, RAD results are only a snapshot of a particular child on a particular day. My daughter is 12 and has passed both her RAD Grade 7 and RAD Intermediate exams with distinction (I can't remember the exact marks but both were in the 80s). Whilst obviously nice to know, it says more about the quality of the teaching and the opportunities she has had than it does about her absolute ability in relation to any other 12 year-old in the country.

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The examiner might have been tougher than average. (It happens - from my own personal experience - despite all the Awarding Bodies denials.) A distinction is a distinction at the end of the day. Beyond that, I would be more interested in knowing the exact place in the ranking order within the school, including the balance between the technique and performance marks, than the numerical mark itself. Since keeping the marks private prevents this very important comparison from happening, I am firmly opposed to that approach - it's just another part of the ridiculous "Snowflake Generation wrapping kids up in cotton-wool" thing that seems to have taken over nowadays. It would be a much better preparation for adult life to teach children from a young age how to deal with discovering that they are a long way from being the best at something, not keeping this knowledge from them in case it upsets them!

 

 

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Of course the other thing to bear in mind is that exams to a degree measure a students "exam technique" as well as their knowledge of the syllabus/skill etc. Some people are naturally better at dealing with exams and some teachers will coach their pupils in exam technique more than others. For example, I passed all my professional exams first time very comfortably, but a colleague who worked just as hard as I did and had at least as much, probably more knowledge and skill than me, had a real struggle and multiple attempts to pass the exams. The difference was exam technique. We were pretty closely matched in the real world, but our exam results suggested something very different.

Also people have different learning styles. My DD learns quickly, reaches a decent standard pretty fast but then slows right off. Spending too long on anything tends to put her backwards if anything. Whereas others may start more slowly but continue to improve steadily for longer.

Of course it's great to get a distinction, and I think a mark in the 80s is something to be proud of, but on the whole I think it's not worth worrying about the details too much.  Most exams are just gateways - you need to get through them to move on,and at the time they are very important but in the future, the significance fades. In the same way as now nobody is interested in my A level results because I have done many more exams since then, the significance of a mark of 84 vs 90 will soon be forgotten. All anyone can do is do their best and learn from their experiences. If a student is doing that, then in my humble opinion, they can be proud of themselves, whatever the mark.

 

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I am for ever saying exams are stepping stones. Each exam leads on to the exam or adventure in the individuals life. As Pups said some people are better at taking exams than others, this doesn’t mean they are the best. 

I am not taking away the fact that getting a distinction is a fantastic achievement however there is so much more to dance ( music, drama, GCSE, A levels etc ) than the end result. I also have a DD who if too long is spent on the grade/ syllabus she goes backwards, having said that she took her GCSE Music two tears early and got an A* despite never getting a distinction in all her music exams. So much can depend on the day but as long as the child feels they have done their best the result is irrelevant 

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On 25/04/2018 at 20:09, balletbean said:

Hi, Can I just ask which Grade are you waiting the results for? 

DD has Grade 8 and Intermediate coming up, both exams squeezed in dayes between her GCSE's, not the greatest of timings but didn't have much choice, sadly. 

Grade 2. The whole school did exams so all grades for that examiner x 

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On 27/04/2018 at 12:56, BalletBelle said:

In our school scores get read out in class by the teacher - everybody knows everybody else's marks.

But that wasn't really a debate that I wanted to open up.

 

My query was really about what proportion of RAD distinctions awarded are for marks 90+,  and therefore how difficult are they to come by.

In our school they seem to be very common - the downside of which is that those with scores of e.g. 84 aren't as delighted with them as they might otherwise be... that led me to wonder where those scores of e.g. 84 might sit outside the small bubble of our dance school.

 

Reading marks out in class? 😯😯😯

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1 minute ago, sarahw said:

 

Reading marks out in class? 😯😯😯

This is what Northern Ballet School used to do. In front of all the parents too. It was always on the last day of term, when parents were allowed to come in and watch the class. At the very end the Principal, Patricia McDonald, would come in and read everyone's results out. In order. EG, those with Commended were called out first, then those with Highly Commended , then finally those with Honours at the end. We went up to her to receive our certificate while everyone applauded. Most people got Honours in every exam, except for Senior Grade, when only my name was called out with it.  There was always one girl who thought she was the bees knees. She got Highly Commended. You should have heard her mother saying to my mother afterwards how her daughter had been unwell on the day of the exam. Funny how she never said anything to anyone including the teacher on the actual day. Pathetic really. But I suppose in their defence, it might have spurred people like her daughter on to work harder next time around, I don't know.

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1 hour ago, Lisa O`Brien said:

This is what Northern Ballet School used to do. In front of all the parents too. It was always on the last day of term, when parents were allowed to come in and watch the class. At the very end the Principal, Patricia McDonald, would come in and read everyone's results out. In order. EG, those with Commended were called out first, then those with Highly Commended , then finally those with Honours at the end. We went up to her to receive our certificate while everyone applauded. Most people got Honours in every exam, except for Senior Grade, when only my name was called out with it.  There was always one girl who thought she was the bees knees. She got Highly Commended. You should have heard her mother saying to my mother afterwards how her daughter had been unwell on the day of the exam. Funny how she never said anything to anyone including the teacher on the actual day. Pathetic really. But I suppose in their defence, it might have spurred people like her daughter on to work harder next time around, I don't know.

I think this sort of thing was deemed "character building" until fairly recently. The result mechanism for my professional exams was like some kind of bizarre game show. At the end of the day, all candidates had to reassemble in the hall and someone came to the front and said "I will now read out the numbers of the successful candidates". If your candidate number was called you had to walk to the front of the hall, through a door into another room where they checked your name against your number and then left you to make small talk over sherry with the examiners. I had a recurring nightmare for a few years in which I got through the door only to find I had misheard the number and actually hadn't passed. Fortunately it never happened in real life! They have stopped doing it that way now thankfully, and put the numbers on a noticeboard now, which is not quite as bad.  I don't think public humiliation helps anyone, and the stress experienced even when you are successful is hideous. I suppose it's over quickly though, better than waiting for weeks for a letter.

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3 hours ago, sarahw said:

 

Reading marks out in class? 😯😯😯

To be fair. Whilst initially it sounds shocking this would be no different to a school teacher handing back acdemnic work and calling out grades/marks as they go 🤨. It’s just not that a common practice in the world of dance. 

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6 minutes ago, balletbean said:

To be fair. Whilst initially it sounds shocking this would be no different to a school teacher handing back acdemnic work and calling out grades/marks as they go 🤨. It’s just not that a common practice in the world of dance. 

 

Except that doesn’t happen in any academic schools I know of these days either. 

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5 minutes ago, Picturesinthefirelight said:

 

Except that doesn’t happen in any academic schools I know of these days either. 

Still happens at both my children’s different schools. I think their mindset Is that it stops unnecessary whispering and chatter ‘what did you get?’ Around the room. Certainly encourages hard work as no one wants to be the one at the bottom. Whether that’s good or bad I’m not too sure 😉

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There’s no way it would happen either in the academic or dance school my children attend - it seems such an outdated concept.

 

To be fair though, it hasn’t been that long since it was common practice to publish results openly. When I was at university in the early 2000’s our marks were published openly on large boards outside the exam hall - that had changed to email by the time I got my finals results in 2004.

 

My ballet exam results (in the 1990s) also used to be written out by hand by the teacher and shown in a list on a large wooden board outside our studio. Cringing at the thought of that now!

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Yes not acceptable at academic school either.

 

It's not about being afraid of not being number 1; all kids know someone will do better than them at something. It's a personal battle for each to achieve their potential and publishing results for kids is not necessary. 

 

 

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My GDD is almost ready to take Advanced 2, she's 15 and has almost always had marks in the high 80's and 90's. Will it get her a job, NO. Will it make any difference at all, why would it? It's maybe just a pointer to getting an audition, what do you think? 

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15 hours ago, Waverley said:

There’s no way it would happen either in the academic or dance school my children attend - it seems such an outdated concept.

 

 

Unfortunately! The ridiculous "Snowflake generation" thing where teachers aren't allowed to correct spelling mistakes in red ink any more in case it upsets the poor little delicate flowers!

 

In my day the mark sheets were pinned up on the notice board so everyone & their parents could see exactly what they got in comparison to everyone else - it is ridiculous that this no longer happens!

 

The whole point is to see that for example "I got the same mark as X but she scored high for technique and lower for performance, whereas I was the other way round" or "I came about halfway down the list, which is fine".

 

Yes it is (or should be) character-building - it is terrible that many dancers' first (devastating) experience of rejection is at an audition, because up until then they had no idea of their relative standard in relation to their peers and went in with unrealistic expectations. ALL children should be given many, many opportunities to experience (and deal with) failure as they grow up, so that they know how to cope with it as adults.

 

(The failure itself is not the problem, it is the way it is handled by the adults around them that may cause any trauma.)

 

i.e. the strong message "If at first you don't succeed, then try & try & try again" together with examples from the adult of times they had failed and how it had spurred them on to greater things, NOT "That examiner didn't know what she was talking about, of course you are an amazingly talented dancer!"

 

 

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16 hours ago, sarahw said:

Yes not acceptable at academic school either.

 

It's not about being afraid of not being number 1; all kids know someone will do better than them at something. It's a personal battle for each to achieve their potential and publishing results for kids is not necessary. 

 

 

Absolutely, in my mind an exam (ballet or otherwise) is about doing the best you possibly can, just you. It shouldn't be a chance to compare yourself against others in the class, not least because each of whom may be approaching whatever the subject of the exam is in an entirely different way. My daughter is about to sit primary ballet - she dances a few nights a week and even at this age it's a big part of her life, others are doing one 45 minute class a week, so even at this early stage the approach is totally different and each of them should be rightly proud of whatever marks they get (if they're happy with how they did of course, and if they're not then they can discuss with parents/teachers how they can personally improve). It's not about comparing themselves against each other. 

 

I'm no snowflake parent either, not for a minute, and we'd be the first to ensure our kids know they're not the best at everything they do. I'm very much of the "If at first you don't succeed, then try & try & try again" mindset as well, but success or failure isn't measured by how you scored in comparison to the rest of the class, it's about you doing the best that you can and recognising that. 

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