GCSE reform is finalised

Ofqual today (1st November 2013) […]) announced a revised timetable for the reforms, meaning new GCSEs in English language, English literature and maths will take priority and will be introduced for first teaching from 2015.

The Department for Education will today be confirming the subject content for these subjects, following a separate consultation.

Key features of the new GCSEs in England will include:

  • A new grading scale that uses the numbers 1 – 9 to identify levels of performance, with 9 being the top level. Students will get a U where performance is below the minimum required to pass the GCSE
  • Tiering to be used only for subjects where untiered papers will not allow students at the lower end of the ability range to demonstrate their knowledge and skills, or will not stretch the most able. Where it is used [this apparently applie to maths — AB], the tiering model used will be decided on a subject-by-subject basis
  • A fully linear structure, with all assessment at the end of the course and content not divided into modules. This is to avoid the disruption to teaching and learning through repeated assessment, to allow students to demonstrate the full breadth of their abilities in the subject, and to allow standards to be set fairly and consistently
  • Exams as the default method of assessment, except where they cannot provide valid assessment of the skills required. We will announce decisions on non-exam assessment on a subject-by-subject basis
  • Exams only in the summer, apart from English language and maths, where there will also be exams in November for students who were at least 16 on the preceding 31st August. Ofqual is considering whether November exams should be available in other subjects for students of this age.

Read the full statement from Ofqual.