An Overview of Recent and Upcoming Changes to GCSEs

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We’ve all probably heard that the GCSEs are currently undergoing a lot of change. Just to get everyone up to speed I want to run through the changes.

Changes that came in before 2015:

Big changes have been made to the GCSEs and came into effect at the beginning of this academic year (2015), and I’ll go into these, but the changes had already begun in 2012.

In 2012 GCSEs moved to linear syllabuses (meaning modules in subjects were scrapped), and the last modular exams were taken in June 2013. At this point controlled assessment was still being used to assess students alongside exams.

Changes introduced in Sep 2015:  

The bulk of the changes came into effect in September. Controlled assessments were scrapped in most subjects which means that students will be assessed wholly by exams. (Even in English Language, where there is a Speaking and Listening assessment, the assessment is now ungraded).

The grading of exams has now changed. The exams of the students who started their GCSE course this September will be marked using numbers, 1-9, with 1 being the lowest and 9 the highest, instead of the letter system- U to A*. Related to this, tiering has been scrapped in many subjects, apart from in Maths and possibly the Sciences and Languages (though the latter two are still to be decided), meaning students will take the same exam in many subjects.

The actual content of the GCSE curriculum has changed in English and Maths, generally becoming more challenging. And accurate spelling, punctuation and grammar is now more important. In English Language it will take up 20% of the overall grade and in English Literature 5% of the overall grade.

Changes to come in the future :

The GCSE syllabus is undergoing extensive change. As mentioned, this has been completed in English and Maths, and the modified subjects started being taught this academic year. The rest of the GCSE subjects are in the process of being changed and will be ready for teaching next year- September 2016.

Follow this link for Maths GCSE Tutors.

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