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Advice on changing exam board to take FC GCSE in one year

Discussion in 'Religious Education' started by evedarwood, Apr 17, 2012.

  1. I am a subject leader for RE at a school which has, until now, done AQA SC in year 10 then topped up to FC in year 11. My school is now planning to offer GCSE RS in one year (FC) with 6 lessons a week teaching time. I am considering whether it would be better to change exam boards - perhaps to OCR. It seems that there are more topics with OCR but each one needs to be covered in less depth compared to AQA. Any thoughts?
  2. We've got 2 option groups starting next year & I spent some time looking over the specifications to figure out which was best for our students. Here are my thoughts on them:-
    I've previously taught Edexcel 'Religion & Life' & 'Religion & Society'. I didn't find these units to be that inspiring, plus we teach Edexcel Citizenship & I wanted something that was clearly a different subject, but this is a popular choice in my area.
    I found the choice in OCR tempting (can't remember which spec now, A or B) but the exam paper didn't look as student friendly for a wide range of abilities. I felt our lower ability students wouldn't do so well on this spec. I'm not completely sure but I think some of the exam papers might be different structures as well?? (Might be confusing this, so don't trust that 100%!!)
    So, I've gone with AQA spec B, 'Religion & life issues' & 'Religion & Morality'. I like the content & the layout of the exam paper.
    If I was in your shoes I think I'd stick with what I know & add another AQA unit to make FC. The 6 mark questions seem 'friendly' enough, & are easy to teach the skills for with condensed teaching time.
    There's the WJEC but I'm personally not a fan, although it is popular.
    Just to put this into context, we're not a faith school and a comp. And of course, I've not taught it yet!!
    Hope that helps,
  3. Hi Evedarwood, this has been my experience of OCR and AQA:

    I prefer the more philosophical approach to OCR questions- there is more scope for building on pupils higher level thinking skills and their own opinions. I have introduced it to my school in place of AQA which I find less academic and less 'rational-dare I say it!' I work in a 'very good' comprehensive school with motivated pupils.

    My experience is a little different as we start the GCSE in year 9 and now we will finish it in year 11. I agree that some of the weaker students find the amount of questions initially confusing but we are working hard on focusing them at the start of assessments and most of them enjoy the longer 'opinion' based part 'E' questions.

    I'm not sure if I'd agree about the 'less depth'. I think with OCR there is more focus on concepts and beliefs than AQA, which over time, pupils understand and can relate to each topic.

    Do message me if you want any resources/further help.

  4. pete14

    pete14 New commenter

    Personally as post 2 says, I would stick with what you know and do not make un-necessary extra work in what will probably be a busy time. The AQA course seems quite straightforward and accessible but I guess most people say that about the one they are most used to!
  5. san38

    san38 New commenter

    I would say the AQA course has much less depth and the exam paper is certainly more student friendly. Lucky you - we are teaching full course to everyone with just one hour a week over 2 years!

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