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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Exams Results


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If your child did an exam and put a lot of effort in and then did ok but not brilliantly could it be an indicator of poor teaching especially if the technique assessment was very average.


Also do exam results really matter anyway for younger children? I am talking RAD exams by the way.


Just interested in opinions.

Edited by Topaz
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It certainly COULD be an indication of poor teaching but it could also have been just a bad day for the child, a tough examiner, the child being not quite ready etc. There are lots of possibilities so you really need to look further - was the child relatively young for the level of exam? Did they miss classes approaching the exam? How did the other children do? Does the school take children up to vocational level or get them into dance college?


Even if a child works very hard for an exam, if they don't have a natural dance ability/quality they will probably never achieve top marks so maybe that's something to consider too.


Exam results don't matter in the grand scheme of things, they don't count towards anything, they are really just an indicator.

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Thank you CDR for replying I appreciate every reply I receive. I have been a bit worried about the teaching, there has been a lot of chopping and changing with teachers due to things like illness etc leading up to the exam. The older students did very but the youngers ones didn't seem to. The examiner had a reputation for being tough.


I guess as a parent I am not sure what I should expect. The last thing I want is to put pressure on dd and if the results aren't flash is there any point doing them or should she just do dance for recreation.

Edited by Topaz
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Was it your dd first exam?otherwise you can always compare the results to her previous exam.If there is a big difference between the previous one and this one you can always ask her teacher what could have gone wrong.The changing of teachers is something that happens in my dd school too,but it never seems to have made a difference to the scores,I always thought that had something to do with the fact that RAD was so stricktly syllabus-working,that it didn't have that much of an influence when teachers changed,the class did always stay about the same.

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I would try not to worry too much. Coming from someone who has posted on a very similar topic! My daughter's exam results are normally excellent but there is a 20 mark difference between her lowest and highest. Same teacher, same child with the same ability, but quite a variation. If the results are really great enjoy, if not just move on as long as DD happy in her classes.

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I agree that exam results can vary quite dramatically from one to the next for all sorts of reasons.

Did your daughter get a report sheet that breaks down her result into marks for each of the sections? It might hold some clues that you could discuss with her teacher.


Edited by CoventGarden
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Thank you Heleen, Balletbroke and Covent Garden for replying. Yes it was the first one :) So probably just have no idea what to expect. I guess she can try again this year and see how it goes. :)

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  • 3 weeks later...

Ah.....one of my pet hates - the variation in marking between RAD examiners!! As previous posters have said there could be many reasons why the marks weren't what you were hoping for but the actual examiner could be one of them. We have experienced a huge swing in marks between different exam sessions and this was across all candidates in the school not just my dd which is an indication that it is more likely to be the way a specific examiner marks. I guess this is to be expected given ballet is a performance art and examiner preferences will come into play. On the plus side even when the overall marks were lower we still found that the relative scores in the different sections were what we were expecting ie examiner had awarded relatively higher marks for areas that teacher perceived to be dd's strength. It is a bit disconcerting for the children however to see their marks vary so enormously between sessions and whilst I know the RAD moderate/review the marks before they are issued I'm not convinced how successfully this is done. We had one little girl in our school whose result dropped by 15 marks from one graded exam to another. She still achieved a distinction but she ended up feeling disappointed by the result because the mark had dropped so much which was a shame. In my day (going back a while now!) we didn't receive a mark - just the overall result and some comments from the examiner. Part of me wonders whether for graded exams that wouldn't be a better way of deliveriing the feedback.

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  • 1 month later...

I think there are a lot of variables for RAD exams, one being neither parents nor teachers see what actually happened during the exam & we get no comments from the examiner. My own DD gets very nervous for RAD exams and her technique suffers because of it, lowering her mark.


I think RAD exams have good value but it's important to keep them in perspective. They're not the entire measure of your child's ability. If the entire studio does poorly on repeated examination sessions, I'd be concerned about the quality of the studio.

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Thanks Snickerboo. It was her first and she did ok considering all that. The older students did brilliantly but the younger ones not so good. So not sure what went on with that?

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It's certainly more encouraging for the older students to get excellent results than the younger ones. If only the young ones did really well you would wonder whether she had the teaching skills at higher levels but clearly she has. Younger students may not have done quite so well because they are not used to exams and were nervous, they perhaps didn't have the required performance quality which is often hard at a young age. Maybe the examiner expected more of them at the age they were at or perhaps the teacher prefers to enter children for exams quite early and then focus on technique etc when they are a little older. I really wouldn't worry about it.

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Hi Topaz,


have you received your DD's certificate and detailed mark sheet yet? That can be very interesting reading. For instance, my DD always gets 9 or 10 for musicality and rhythm, but usually gets 7s for performance, because she's very shy and while her technique is very good, she is so serious and shy that she has trouble "performing". The mark sheet gives you something to work on for next time so can be very useful.


That said, different examiners do mean different marks; some are tougher than others. Some children need time to get used to the exam situation so if this was your DD's first exam she may find it much less strange next time.


I always say to my DD that as long as she does her best, I'll be proud of her whatever result she gets. She's much harder on herself than I ever am on her :-)


As this was your DD's first exam, I wouldn't worry too much at all, particularly considering the older girls did well. As long as she enjoys it and wants to carry on, let her! You may find she gets a completely different result next time.

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  • 2 weeks later...

my dd does the RAD vocational exams and sometimes the results are strange. i think you can't compare them to others unless they took the same test at the same time. i noticed it matters who and how many others took the exam with you. the examiner may compare you to the other dancer/s instead of to the requirements. some examiners are great and others make you wonder what they were thinking.


the exams are a good way to get an idea of your child's ability but i think how they dance on a regular basis is more important. i would rather have my dd do well at an audition than get a distinction on her exam.


by the way i have noticed some go into the exam with panties showing, ribbons sticking out, seams on tights crooked, hair a mess,.... all i could do was mention it to them in a friendly way "did you notice your ribbons came undone..."

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