Marking the end of coursework in most subjects, pupils will be able to retake GCSE modules to improve their grades, under new criteria unveiled today. Pupils will be allowed to re-sit an exam unit if they are not happy with their mark first time round. Education experts warned that modular exams would lead to better grades, but not necessarily an improvement in the education of pupils.
Controlled assessment will replace teacher-marked coursework in most major GCSE subjects in Obviously nothing can be done to prevent candidates thinking about the activity outside the classroom but no disc or work can be taken outside the classroom and should be collected at the end of each lesson.
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Guidance is provided by the Awarding Bodies on the level of help and support available to candidates. Teachers can offer general guidance but not specific information about the content of a candidate's work. For example, they can make suggestions about general timing such as when it is necessary to start to write up their work. Awarding Bodies provide guidance on the use of research methodology, materials from other sources and the preparation for final production of the work to be assessed and clearly outline the level of teacher support allowed and which should be recorded.
For example, Edexcel state that research can take place in groups but that the writing up must be an individual activity. Guidance is sometimes available to the candidates; for example, in History B Modern World for OCR, for each of the four options - the role of the individual, a thematic study in 20 th century history, a modern world study and a study in depth there is a set of hints focused specifically on the question being asked. As with current coursework, the candidates' work is internally assessed with a requirement for internal standardisation followed by external moderation.
The usual date for the submission of Controlled Assessment marks is May each year. Entry for the right examination. This involves more than the right specification.
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Because tasks are changed each year, care is needed to ensure that candidates are doing the tasks set for the right session. Resits are likely to involve a new task. How this fits into whole school policies.
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With a number of subjects doing Controlled Assessment, schools need to consider the logistics and timing. If every subject wanted to do the tasks at the same time, there could be major problems.
Whole school policies are also needed on aspects such as what to do if students are absent, additional time, strategy for SEN students etc. Ensuring that changes to the generic shell question s are not so substantial that they fall outside of the acceptable boundaries. This should not happen if formal approval is obtained from the trained consultants so it is essential that this approval is obtained before starting the work.
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Getting approval is likely to be a fairly quick process but it can be seriously delayed if the centre's proposals lack sufficient detail of teaching programmes, the precise wording of tasks, details of resources to be used etc. A formulaic hoop-jumping process. Controlled Assessment does provide the opportunity to do something a bit different. At the same time, it must allow candidates to demonstrate their historical skills so the tasks do need to be such that they are accessible and suitably challenging to all candidates.
Such issues should be picked up via the vetting process. A possible danger is the use of a narrow range of sources so that candidates are constrained by the specific resources provided by the teacher.
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The suitability of the teaching programme. This should not cover the assessment activities although there may be benefit in dry runs on a different question. The teaching programme should cover the wider context whilst also introducing a range of resources such as text and topic books, sources etc. There are benefits in terms of manageability in having source booklets as part of the teaching programme but they should not be selected in such a way that they are linked to the specific question s for the Controlled Assessment. Preparation for the evaluation, analysis and writing up stage.
Candidates are allowed to take in materials that are defined by the Awarding Bodies.
These rules need to be followed and, in most cases, represent sensible practice to provide both a level playing field and manageability. AQA allow research notes and it is important, therefore, that candidates notes are orderly. OCR recommend one piece of A4 preliminary planning but candidates can also bring in elements such as exercise books. Students study the Titanic to find out what it can teach us about Edwardian society. We also complete an in depth study of the Holocaust which we teach thoroughly and sensitively.
In the summer term students consider international events of significance from the second half of the 20th century such as civil rights or the impact of terrorism. One of the most successful activities run by the department at KS3 is our modelling club.
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Over the last 8 years the club has produced models of several significant battles including Waterloo, D-Day and Rorkes Drift. Currently students are working on a Battle of Britain dog fight as well as their own individual projects. Take up for GCSE is very strong with history continuing to be one of the most popular option subjects. In paper 1 we study Germany and the Cold War In paper 2 we study a thematic course on British history from AD to the present day looking at migration and the development of empire.
In the final unit of paper 2 we complete a depth study on Restoration England For the last two years we have taken nearly 90 students which is the largest trip run by Balcarras School. This trip provides an excellent opportunity for students to understand the modern courses we study in an active and engaging way.
We visit a variety of places in and around the city including Sachsanhausen concentration camp, the Reichstag and many other sites of importance. Recruitment at A level is also strong. We currently have over students studying the subject at A level.