R066 - The Dreaded Pitch!
It's understandable that there are many questions about the professional pitch element of R066 for the Cambridge National in Enterprise & Marketing course; it's not too common for part of a Key Stage 4 course to include such a practical element for assessment purposes.
Learners must plan, practice, refine and deliver a 5 - 10 minute pitch for tasks 2 and 3 of their R066 coursework. This pitch should be delivered to a 'panel' who are acting as buyers for clothing stores and deciding whether or not to stock the hat product learners have been working on throughout R065 and tasks 1 - 2 of R066.
Who can watch the pitch?
The expert panel must include at least two adults that are not the candidate's class teacher. The witness statement must be completed with input from both members of the panel and signed by them too. I've seen some centres that get each member of the panel to complete a witness statement; I ask one member of the panel to complete the statement with input from both members - this ensures there's much more clarity when it comes to marking, rather than having to find a best fit between multiple witness statements. Class teachers (known as assessors, those who are ultimately marking and grading the coursework) can view the pitches alongside the panel, they cannot complete the witness statements aside from countersigning at the bottom. I've seen pitches recorded in some centres, a nice idea if class teachers cannot feasibly view the pitches because of other commitments. There have been some conversations recently about sixth form students viewing the pitches; a nice idea I thought, especially if they study 'A' level Business Studies, though the specification doesn't permit this. So, we're looking at members of SLT, other department staff, Teaching Assistants, business people from within the community and possibly even governors to form the professional panel.
What needs to be included?
I never give learners a checklist when they're planning their pitch; if I did they would ALL be identical! At my centre, the panel see upwards of 60 pitches over a number of days - repetitive content may make this experience less enjoyable for them and they may not return to complete the process next year! As a general rule, however, anything from R065 and R066 Task 1 and 2 should be included where appropriate within the pitch, apart from the cost to produce the hat and break-even point (buyers shouldn't be hearing this information). In addition, some candidates may also discuss why the hat product should be stocked in stores and what the future of the new brand may bring.
Grading the pitches
I came up with a formula to put each pitch into MB1, MB2 or MB3. This way, there was consistency across the marks awarded for the pitches - you may wish to replicate this when you assess R066, you may come up with a similar approach or you might think my system is crazy and choose to overlook it, no offence taken! Basically, there are 10 criterion on the witness statement and learners are judged in each as limited, mostly effective or well developed. I give each tick in the limited column 3 marks, each tick in the mostly effective column 7 marks and each in the well developed column 10 marks and quickly total them up to give a score out of 100; an overall percentage. I set my own boundary for each mark band - MB1 would be 30% and would mean all ticks were at the lower end.
I give each learner a time to go to their pitch, much like they get an individual time to attend a French oral examination and I stagger times so that the panel get an opportunity to discuss the pitch and complete part of the witness statement between seeing each candidate. I arm the panel with a stopwatch as the time of the pitch must be recorded on the witness statement itself. Candidates must use visual aids within their pitch and, for mine, this has always been a PowerPoint. Some also produce little handouts or posters to compliment their pitches and, if good quality, these additions do go some way to help secure their place in MB3 for their visual aids. The panel must ask some questions at the end of each pitch and I have produced a list of possible questions within different categories as a prompt sheet for anyone viewing the pitches who may not be au fait with the course or with business in general - these can be found by clicking here. The witness statement itself has also been queried recently; I ask the panel to complete both sides of the witness statement in as much detail as possible to reduce the chances of marks being queried - if you have been told that you just have to complete page 1, then I'm not here to argue with the advice you have been given, I'm just saying page 2 is there for a reason! The witness statement can be downloaded from pages 24 and 25 of this document.
This part of the course is actually quite enjoyable for most candidates! They like getting a whole task (task 3) out of the way without actually doing any writing (all the preparation is actually done in task 2). I know it can be a logistical nightmare getting them all done, but I think the overall experience is generally positive for learners and can, for many of us, tick lots of boxes with stakeholder involvement and building learners' cultural capital for later life.