The Government has introduced a significant amount of curriculum reform recently, and all subjects are now following new specifications at GCSE.
The Government has introduced a significant amount of curriculum reform recently, and all subjects are now following new specifications at GCSE. These changes affect the content of qualifications but also the assessment structure. Has this made them harder? The short answer is yes because the Department for Education has deliberately required exam boards to make exam content more “challenging”. The way the questions are set out in maths, for example, is very different from what has come before.
A new grading scale of 9 to 1 is now used, with 9 being the top grade. The view is that this will allow greater differentiation between students.
Assessment will be mainly by exam, with other types of assessment used only where they are needed to test essential skills.
There will be new, more demanding content, which has been developed by government and the exam boards.
Courses will no longer be divided into different modules and students will take all their exams in one period at the end of their course.
Exams can only be split into ‘foundation tier’ and ‘higher tier’ if one exam paper does not give all students the opportunity to show their knowledge and abilities.
Note: a grade 4 is roughly equivalent to an old-style grade C and is now referred to as a ‘standard pass’ and a grade 5 as a ‘strong pass’; a grade seven is roughly the equivalent to an A grade, a 9 equating to an A**
Finally, in light of significant changes to Key Stage 2 (KS2), the removal of levels at KS3 and the changes to the grading system for GCSEs we have developed a new system of assessment that allows us to effectively track students’ progress from the end of Year 6 to Year 11. Details of this system will accompany every snapshot report that you receive at the end of each quadmester.