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Differences between AAD and RAD grade marks??


Pointe-less
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Just wondering if anyone can help me out here, my dd takes AAD exams and teacher has told us that their exams are much harder than RAD and this is reflected in the grading requirements. For example dd last AAD exam was marked at 94 which is Honours whereas with RAD apparently 94 would get a higher mark such as distinction, meaning it's harder to get such high ratings with the AAD as the mark thresholds are higher. Dd has recently started taking RAD exams and I have no idea how their grading works, marks required for level of pass. So I was hoping someone could break it down for me. I'll post the AAD requirements below for anyone interested and this is all just down to idle curiosity, but would be nice to know what to expect from the grading system when she finally takes her RAD exam so a comparison would be helpful. 

 

AAD requirements-

Under 65 - FAILED

65-68 - PASSED

70-75 - PASS PLUS

76-79 - COMMENDED

80-89 - HIGHLY COMMENDED

90-95 - HONOURS

96+    - DISTINCTION

 

sorry if I've not explained myself very well or used the correct terminology, I'm sooo not a dance mom yet ?

Edited by Pointe-less
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all depends on the critiera  and the reference point of performance  for pass ...  (  as famously  demonstrated by those who fail to  appreciate why the pass mark in many UK  acdemic exams is 40 % )

US  systems seem to presume that a perfect mark is possible , UK systems often  make than perfect 100  almost unattainable  (  to get 100  in a  exam or essay based  HE module in the Uk would be  work  that is publishable as it stands ) unless it's solely  quantative answers  ( tests of recall or  'sums' type maths ) or  multiple guess 

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I've never heard of AAD, I gather it originated in the US. 

 

RAD exams are part of the UK accredited Regulated Qualifications Framework which means that standards are externally monitored. 

 

There are just 4 categories 

 

0-39 - Standard not attained (little awareness of technique, performance & musicality)

40-54 - Pass (basic competence)

55-74 - Merit (proficient , some areas stronger than others)

75 - 100 - Distinction (secure & precise technique, highly developed musicality, performance & communication)

 

 

 

 

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I must admit I had been unaware of the AAD until the start of this thread - after a short Google, I take it that the reference is to the Association of American Dancing?  And if you put "AAD" into the Search box at the top of the page, you'll find some previous mentions in Doing Dance. 

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I have to say, I don't think the mark required to get a certain grade necessarily indicates whether a course is harder or not. In my experience it's generally been the opposite. At my high school in Australia I put in a lot of work, studied hard, and I was lucky to receive mostly Bs with occassional As. The cut off for an A was 75% and considered very difficult to achieve. When I went to high school in Canada, I put in zero effort whatsoever and my lowest mark was 93%... But the cut-off for an A there was 86! Because the academic rigour was in my opinion not as high (though this is subject to a LOT of caveats and qualifications), far more people were able to achieve above 86% in Canada and therefore get an A. The same students, if judged by the standards of my Australian school, would have been performing at the same level but would have received a lower percentage mark. Not because the course was harder or the other students were smarter, just because one smart cookie decided that a good mark was 75 rather than 86. It's all rather meaningless when you look at it that way.

 

As Pictures has already posted the grade categories for RAD, this post was just trying to give a little anecdotal evidence on the general insignificance of number grades hahaha :) Percentages and grades are entirely arbitrary, they have meaning only in relation to other students within the same syllabus or as judged against several independent and external criteria. I am not familiar with AAD but I am sure it's just another way of training a child to the best of their ability, as equally valid as any other method. AAD or RAD or anything else doesn't really matter as long as your DD is supported and challenged and happy :) Though whether your DD is disappointed or ecstatic with her final RAD grade compared to her previous AAD grades, it might do to keep this discussion in mind.

Edited by Viv
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I would be inclined to have a chat with your DD and just explain that the exam set up is completely different. I doubt very much that AAD are harder exams - just different grade boundaries. You would probably still find that a student only just passing the AAD exam would probably also be only just passing the RAD exam too. And I doubt that AAD's Commended is the direct equivalent of RAD's Distinction.  It is probably still the same range of abilities with similar percentages of students failing or getting the top grades. RAD's statistics show that less than 30% of their students get Distinction in exams. I don't know any statistics for AAD but it would seem unlikely to me that 70% of their students fall into the failed,.passed ,passed plus categories which is what we would be saying if marks were a direct equivalent

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5 hours ago, Picturesinthefirelight said:

I've never heard of AAD, I gather it originated in the US. 

 

RAD exams are part of the UK accredited Regulated Qualifications Framework which means that standards are externally monitored. 

 

There are just 4 categories 

 

0-39 - Standard not attained (little awareness of technique, performance & musicality)

40-54 - Pass (basic competence)

55-74 - Merit (proficient , some areas stronger than others)

75 - 100 - Distinction (secure & precise technique, highly developed musicality, performance & communication)

 

 

 

 

I'm not sure where they originated to be honest but I seem to recall being told it was a British examination board started by the a group of tap dancers like Grace Kelly and Fred Astaire. Their headquarters are U.K. Based, if you google AAD dance their website comes up (I may have to go and have a read up myself actually!) 

 

I am truely surprised by how many people haven't heard of them, they seem massive to me and hold an annual awards day at the winter gardens in Blackpool and there are always hundreds of dancers involved!!

 

Thanks for the breakdown of the RAD grades, and I've found this thread really interesting so glad I started it now!!

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Another person here who has never heard of AAD and I've been in the dance world all my life.  I think to try and compare exam boards is pointless and good teaching can be found anywhere as can bad teaching.  Try and find out how many senior students from AAD get on at senior ballet school auditions.  Might be a better way to compare the rigour of the training. 

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There are a lot of AAD schools in our locality. There does seem to be some regional variation regarding popularity of different examining bodies. I don't know of any BBO schools in our area for instance, but it's obvious from reading this forum that there are lots in other parts of the country.

Regarding the original question about exam marks, obviously I'm only basing my comments on a very small sample, which may or may not be representative of the bigger picture, but from my observations, I wouldn't say that AAD exams were harder. Over the years that my DD attended an RAD school in our area there were a few girls who moved from neighbouring AAD schools for various reasons, and certainly those that became friends with my DD all commented that the RAD examiners were "pickier" than they were used to. Whilst they all did pretty well, they were, at first, disappointed not to be getting the sky high exam marks they had been previously used to.

My (again, very general) observation was that the students moving over were not as "technical" as their peers who had been in the RAD school all along, but they all had lots of performance ability, and were particularly good in group work. I don't know whether this is just a reflection on the style of the particular schools in question or if it reflects a different emphasis between the two syllabi, but it's definitely something I've observed in our area.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 7/1/2017 at 10:37, Pointe-less said:

Just wondering if anyone can help me out here, my dd takes AAD exams and teacher has told us that their exams are much harder than RAD and this is reflected in the grading requirements. For example dd last AAD exam was marked at 94 which is Honours whereas with RAD apparently 94 would get a higher mark such as distinction, meaning it's harder to get such high ratings with the AAD as the mark thresholds are higher. Dd has recently started taking RAD exams and I have no idea how their grading works, marks required for level of pass. So I was hoping someone could break it down for me. I'll post the AAD requirements below for anyone interested and this is all just down to idle curiosity, but would be nice to know what to expect from the grading system when she finally takes her RAD exam so a comparison would be helpful. 

 

AAD requirements-

Under 65 - FAILED

65-68 - PASSED

70-75 - PASS PLUS

76-79 - COMMENDED

80-89 - HIGHLY COMMENDED

90-95 - HONOURS

96+    - DISTINCTION

 

sorry if I've not explained myself very well or used the correct terminology, I'm sooo not a dance mom yet ?

Sorry if my response is a bit late but I've been wrapped in end of academic school year straight into summer schools.

 

Just to add a foot note to the exam marks. RAD is broken down in to 10 different categories and each one is marked out of 10 thus giving the final mark 

ie Technicality,  knowledge of syllabus etc. A pupil maybe marked low on one section but pick up extra marks for another. It is truly hard to compare one exam board to another. Each must be really taken on their own merit. The syllabus will also vary between AAD and RAD just like ISTD Ballet. 

 

I would like to see another mark within RAD Distinction like a * (similar to the old academic GCSE grades) to indicate a high Distinction. There is a massive difference in a pupils ability from a 75 to a 95 for example. Application forms for Vocational schools and colleges never ask for the mark only the Grade.   

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