On 26 September, Ofqual launched a consultation into the implementation of reforms to GCSEs in England.
This is an important consultation on the future of GCSEs. We encourage you to find out more about the changes and timescales proposed and to give your feedback to the regulator by reading the full consultation.
This consultation closed on Friday 4 November 2011.
What are the key changes proposed?
There are three key changes being proposed:
- Making all GCSE assessment linear to ensure that GCSE examinations are taken at the end of the course
- Restricting the availability of examinations to the summer only, removing the potential for resitting units. There will only be retake opportunities in November for GCSEs in English, English Language and Mathematics.
- Awarding additional marks for Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar for GCSEs in English Literature, Geography, History and Religious Studies.
Proposals for making GCSE assessment linear
These changes will apply to all GCSE subjects.
For GCSEs awarded after summer 2013:
- candidates will have to enter all the assessment units at the end of the course, at the same time as they enter for the subject award
- the GCSE examination series will be restricted to May/June
- a November examination series will be available to provide a retake opportunity for English, English Language and Mathematics
- candidates will not be allowed to carry unit results forward from one examination series to another, except:
a. where those units have already been used to count towards a GCSE single award and a candidate wishes to reuse the unit result for a double award in the same subject; or
b. where a candidate wishes to carry forward the result from one or more controlled assessment units in order to retake a whole qualification.
Awarding additional marks for Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar (SPaG)
These changes will apply to GCSEs in English Literature, Geography, History and Religious Studies. The changes affect written and externally assessed units available from September 2012.
There are no proposed changes to controlled assessment. Centres may continue to schedule controlled assessments at their discretion, as far as this is permitted by the specification. The proposed changes do not mean that controlled assessment tasks must be taken at the end of the course. However, controlled assessments can only be submitted at the end of the course.
Controlled assessment unit results may be carried forward if a student wishes to retake the qualification.
The changes to Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar do not apply to controlled assessment tasks.
What are the proposed timescales for these changes?
- For all two-year GCSE courses starting in September 2012, all examinations will be sat in May/June 2014. This also affects three-year GCSE courses that have already started in September 2011.
- For all students completing modular GCSEs in English Literature, Geography, History and Religious Studies in summer 2013, external assessments taken from January 2013 will include additional marks for Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar.
Our response to the consultation on GCSE reform
We very much welcome Ofqual’s commitment to ensuring that there is no unacceptable risk to students in this implementation, and its recognition that teachers need to have appropriate time to revise their teaching plans and strategies.
• We want to keep any changes to a minimum, but we will provide centres with full support to implement these reforms
• We have no plans to change the subject content of our specifications*
• We have no plans to change controlled assessments*
*This is subject to the outcomes of the consultation and the accreditation of our revised GCSE specifications by Ofqual.
Over the coming weeks, we will be further considering these GCSE reforms, as well as your feedback, and publishing our own response to the consultation.
Share your views on the proposed changes
Please do read the Ofqual consultation, share your views on the proposed GCSE reforms, and join in the discussions on our subject communities: community.edexcel.com.