Now as school children in England finished their GCSE exams and are waiting for results in August, we wanted to write about GCSE reform. GCSEs are being reformed in phases between 2015 and 2019. Here is a summary of the reform:
- A new grading scale of 9 to 1 will be used, with 9 being the top grade. 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 and more demanding content, which has been developed by government and the exam boards.
- Courses will be designed for 2 years of study; they 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.
- Resit opportunities will only be available each November in English language and maths.
Changes are coming into effect in phases. New GCSEs in English Language, English Literature and Mathematics have been taught in schools in England from September 2015, with the first results issued in August 2017.
The ‘phase 2’ GCSEs are ancient languages (classical Greek, Latin), art and design, biology, chemistry, citizenship studies, computer science, dance, double science, drama, food preparation and nutrition, geography, history, modern foreign languages (French, German, Spanish), music, physics, physical education and religious studies, which will be first taught in September 2016 and the first exams will be in June 2018.
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