Key Stage 4 Curriculum Changes
Changes in English
- Coursework and Controlled Assessment (previously worth between 40% and 60% of the GCSE) has been removed.
- This is the first year of the 1-9 grading for English
- Speaking and Listening is no longer assessed - it used to be worth 20% of the GCSE in English Language. It is however still a requirement of the course as is recognised as an endorsement.
- There are now 4 exams instead of 3. They are longer in duration - up to two and a half hours.
- The 2 literature exams are now closed book. This means students will need to learn quotations from 1 Shakespeare from 1 Shakespeare play, 1 19th Century Novel, 1 modern text and 15 poems.
- The English Language exam will present students with very challenging unseen texts from 19th, 20th and 21st century.
- Each question has a very specific focus and teachers must be teaching exam skills explicitly. Many of our students will struggle to respond to these texts and will need finely tuned exam strategy.
- Exam content will be completed by Christmas.
Changes in Mathematics
- Greater focus on problem solving with multi-step questions that have no scaffolding.
- Requirement to provide clear mathematical arguments linking different areas of mathematics.
- New added content at both Higher and Foundation level.
- Fewer mathematical formulae provided.
- Exam board - moved from Edexcel to AQA
- Higher expectations of student's basic numeracy skills.
- Intervention needs to take a more sustained approach over the year. Last minutes intervention is no longer a viable option.
Changes in Science
- No mixed tiering and no retakes for GCSEs.
- Greater emphasis on questions that link to new command words, such as plan, plot, choose, design, determine, predict, sketch, which appeared previously in ISAs.
- No more Controlled Assessments, which did count as 25% of each Science GCSE.
- Old GCSE assessments are 6x 60 minutes in duration (for 2 Sciences). New assessments are either 6x 105 minutes in duration for Separate Sciences or 6x 75 minutes in duration for the Double Award equivalent.
- Less that 10% of assessments will be recall. Assessments will now include skills previously assessed in Controlled Assessments.
- Content of assessments for the new GCSE will be more demanding, students will have to analyse, interpret and evaluate information.
- Mathematical skills have increased in importance, in all 3 Sciences.
Changes in Geography
- The UK has a much greater focus and separate exam questions explicitly based on it.
- Greater extended writing with move from more basic command words such as 'describe' and 'explain' to 'evaluate' , 'assess', 'to what extent'.
- No more Controlled Assessment (coursework)
- Fieldwork - changed from on fieldwork day at Key Stage 4 to at least 2 in contrasting areas and these will be assessed in an exam rather than controlled assessment (as above).
- More credit for factual knowledge, and the use of this knowledge to deepen understanding.
- More complex understanding needed od he core geographical processes and interactions that underpin human and physical environments. Greater emphasis on the application of this understanding.
- GIS and numeracy skills have increased importance.
Changes in History
- More credit for chronology and factual knowledge. Must be accurate.
- Greater extended writing.
- No more Controlled Assessment (coursework)
- Use of sources and evaluation of evidence needs to be linked to the period - can't be formulaic.
- Interpretations (historians' writing) is now a separate Assessment Objective.
Changes in Modern Foreign Languages
- Linear GCSE exams at end of course, removal of Controlled Assessments (previously worth 60%) and no mixing of Higher / Foundation Tiers across all 4 papers.
- Now equal weighting of 4 skills
- AO1 Listening 25% (previously 20%)
- AO2 Speaking 25% (previously 30%)
- AO3 Reading 25% (previously 20%)
AO4 Writing 25% (previously 30%)
Some exam questions are in the Target Language (TL).
- Greater emphasis on Spontaneous Speaking (describing pictures & role plays now part of GCSE exam).
- Greater emphasis on Spontaneous Writing (without dictionaries).
- Understanding and respond to a rich range of authentic material, including (adapted/abridged) literary texts.
- Reintroduction of translation to and from English.
- Significant increase in GCSE cohort sizes (one school has gone from 30 to 120 students in 3 years) resulting need to fosters positive attitudes towards the subject and raise the profile of MFL and amongst a broader range of students.