GCSE Reform - 6 Changes You Need to Know Now

December 7, 2015

GCSE Reform:  6 Changes You Need to Know Now

It’s all change with the GCSEs.  Are you up to speed?  Here are 6 changes that you need to be aware of for 2015:

1. What Has Changed?

The UK government and Ofqual, which regulates exams, has decided that from this September 2015, new GCSEs will be taught in English literature, English language and Maths.  There will be new content, the exams will be graded differently and they will be assessed differently.  This is one of the most important and key changes to be aware of.

2. New Grading

How has the GCSE grading system changed in the reform?

Subjects - in the main - will now be assessed by exam only.  Students will be given one of nine grades, numbered from 1 to 9.  

This will replace the old ‘letters’ system.  As was the situation previously, anybody who fails to reach the minimum grade will be given a U.  The strategy behind the changes in grading is to provide more contrast and differentiation between students who are achieving the middle grades and higher grades and to really try to set them apart fairly.

3. No More Coursework 

One of the most significant reforms is that there will no longer be coursework.  There will be much more focus now on the actual exams.  This will be decided on a subject-by-subject basis and coursework will only be introduced if it is agreed that it is absolutely necessary to judge how a student is performing.

4. New Moves on Maths

Maths will now be fully assessed with an exam.  This increased focus on maths has led to many schools introducting additional maths lessons to cope with the additional demands on students.  

There will be an additional focus on solving problems and in particular current topics and issues that are relevant to the modern business and financial world.  There will be new modules, for example, on ratio and students will now need to know their formulas off by heart.

5. New Subjects 

There will be a range of new subjects introduced as GCSEs now and this will start from as early as 2016.  These new subjects will include modern languages, science subjects, History and Geography and it is a good idea for students and parents to research these changes in more detail to help with decision making and choices.

6. English Exams

English has changed the most in the GCSE reforms

English literature will now no longer be compulsory.  However those that do decide to opt for it will need to study a Shakespeare play, a Victorian novel and there will also be modern fiction included.  Poetry will also get much more of a focus in GCSEs from now on and pupils will need to study at least 15 poems by at least 5 poets.  In English, pupils will be encouraged to read much more widely as there will be no particular set texts.  There will be a bigger focus on spelling, grammar and punctuation with 20% of marks set aside for this in the English exams. There have been many changes and developments to the GCSEs but the 2015 reforms look set to be the most significant.  

Are you prepared?

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