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New GCSE Specs - options for Certification???

Discussion in 'Science' started by MarkS, Feb 8, 2011.

  1. MarkS

    MarkS New commenter

    Hi all,
    I've just e-mailed the Edexcel Science experts about some concerns I have about their new spec and certification options. Basically, their Science spec implies that a unit score can only be used once to claim a grade ('certificate') - from page 66 of their spec:
    "Results of units will be held in Edexcel’s unit bank for as many years as this specification remains available. Once the GCSE qualification has been certificated, all unit results are deemed to be used up at that level. These results cannot be used again towards a further award of the same qualification at the same level."
    As I understand it, the AQA and OCR Specifications do not have this same restriction - section 5.9 of AQAs Science A draft spec states:
    "Unit results remain available to count towards certification within the shelf life of the specification, whether or not they have already been used."
    Anyone care to say if I'm interpreting this correctly? If so, is OFQUAL likely to let the specs go through with such big differences in certification rules? I like Edexcel's option of November/March/June exam series but these limitations on certification would be a pain in the ****!
    Comments please!!!
    Mark
     
  2. MarkS

    MarkS New commenter

    Hi all,
    I've just e-mailed the Edexcel Science experts about some concerns I have about their new spec and certification options. Basically, their Science spec implies that a unit score can only be used once to claim a grade ('certificate') - from page 66 of their spec:
    "Results of units will be held in Edexcel’s unit bank for as many years as this specification remains available. Once the GCSE qualification has been certificated, all unit results are deemed to be used up at that level. These results cannot be used again towards a further award of the same qualification at the same level."
    As I understand it, the AQA and OCR Specifications do not have this same restriction - section 5.9 of AQAs Science A draft spec states:
    "Unit results remain available to count towards certification within the shelf life of the specification, whether or not they have already been used."
    Anyone care to say if I'm interpreting this correctly? If so, is OFQUAL likely to let the specs go through with such big differences in certification rules? I like Edexcel's option of November/March/June exam series but these limitations on certification would be a pain in the ****!
    Comments please!!!
    Mark
     
  3. The OCR specification has similar rules about the 'shelf life' but this seems to relate to the coursework aspect only.For example,The new Y10 cohort (2011-2012) start the Science A syllabus and complete the three examinations and the coursework by Summer 2012 ... certificate. However, if a student resits one of these examinations in Y11 the coursework element needs to be done again as it's 'shelf life' is only for 2011-2012. They would have to complete the coursework element which is to be certificated in 2012-2013.Now, I understand the idea of this is to stop 'resits' but if students miss examinations due to illness (and other reasonable absences) they will have to redo all their coursework again .... never mind trying to fulfil their Y11 Additional Science coursework commitments! As everybody stated at the OCR meeting, it is going to be a complete logistical nightmare ... I've already booked the minibus for next year to round up students from their houses to make sure they sit the examinations in Y10.
     
  4. I was wondering how all the re-sitting would work. With OCR gateway, if it was the core 1 exam that let them down, but they had done it twice and certificated, what then? They would have to redo the coursework or core 2 exam too... These rules are rubbish!
     
  5. Edexcelscienceteam

    Edexcelscienceteam New commenter

    The general rules for awarding bodies state that (for example in the case of Biology) once a Biology 1 unit result has been used to certificate GCSE Science then that result can never be used to certificate GCSE Biology. These rules have been agreed between the awarding bodies. KathrynEdexcel Science
     
  6. So it isn't going to work like the current a-level, more like the one before? It is just a pain because most subjects just end at the end of year 11, but not core science...
     
  7. mm38

    mm38 New commenter

    which makes doing triple science all the more attractive an option!
     
  8. I wish my slt would get this idea!
     
  9. MarkS

    MarkS New commenter

    Thanks for that Kathryn Edexcel...I think!
    Can I ask you to clarify two points:
    (1) The one resit rule only applies until certification? That is, you can then resit again if you recertificate?
    (2) If you use modules to certificate (e.g. at the end of Year 10, you certificate Core Science - no resits), can you use those same module resulst to certificate core Science again as long as you meet the 40% rule (e.g. resit Biology 1 and CAU)?
    Thanks for your help
    Mark
     
  10. MarkS

    MarkS New commenter

    To clarify, this is the statement from the spec which worries me:
    "Results of units will be held in Edexcel’s unit bank for as many years as this specification remains available. Once the GCSE qualification has been certificated, all unit results are deemed to be used up at that level. These results cannot be used again towards a further award of the same qualification at the same level."
    Mark
     
  11. Edexcelscienceteam

    Edexcelscienceteam New commenter

    (1) That's right, the re-sit counter is re-set at certification.
    (2) Yes, you can use module results more than once, as long as it's within the same qualification.
    Exemplified by this scenario. Student sits:
    November Y10: B1
    March Y10: C1
    June Y10: P1, CA (40% - certificate)
    November Y11: B1, P1 (40% re-certificate, using C1 from March Y10, CA from June Y10, B1 and P1 from November Y11).
    Remember that because the terminal assessment 40% rule must be met, even if B1 and P1 marks in November Y11 are lower than the results achieved in Y10, they must be used.
    So re-using module results within the same qualification is fine. The problem comes when you try to use the module results to certificate a different qualification. So what would not be fine would be using a B1 result for both Science and Biology GCSEs. These are rules that all awarding bodies must adhere to.
    Hope that helps?
    Kathryn
    Edexcel Science

     
  12. Kathryn
    Many thanks for this clarification.
    Your example suggests that the student can certificate in November Y11 using June Y10 CA. Is this CA valid, since I thought each CA now only is valid for one year, presumably the same academic year. Would the student not need to take a new CA in Y11 since a new series of CAs would be valid.
    I am looking at the options for timetabling units and exams for Core and Additional. My school is not currently with Edexcel but is looking around for alternatives to coincide with the new specs. I guess I am not the only HOD with doubts about how to schedule most effectively. Perhaps others have ideas too.
    Trying to think everything through I have started to wonder whether myunit scheduling needs a radical rethink to accommodate the 40% rule for Core and Additional. Am I right to think, in a school which wishes to cash in both awards at the end of Y11, that I will need to do something like this:
    Sep 2011- Nov 2011: Teach Core Biology. Exam in Nov 2011
    Nov 2011- Mar 2012: Teach Core Physics. Exam in Mar 2011
    Mar 2012- Jun 2012: Teach Core Chemistry. Exam in Jun 2012 (towards 40% in 2013)
    Sep 2011- Jun 2012: No CAs since their shelf life expires in before Sep 2012
    Sep 2012- Nov 2012: Teach Additional Biology. Exam in Nov 2012
    Nov 2012- Mar 2013: Teach Additional Physics. Exam in Mar 2013
    Mar 2013- May 2013: Teach Additional Chemistry/ revise Core Chemistry. Exams in Jun 2013
    Sep 2012- May 2013: CAs in BOTH Core and Additional (only valid Series for 2013 cash in).
    Am I right in thinking I there is no point in students sitting all modules in Y10, if certificated in Y11? Equally, is there any point in doing CAs in Y10, apart from practice?
    Has anyone devised a simple route for Triple Science, in two years, bearing in mind the first availability of relevant examinations?
    Any ideas/ alternatives for Core/Addtional or Triple scheduling welcome.

    Kind regards
    Alex
     
  13. We are staying with gateway for triple, unless they change the weighting of the exams... The second exam is going to be worth 40% meaning that we can do two bits of coursework, one in year 10 and re-sit in year 11 and not need to worry about the 40% rule. Going to increase the admin burden on us though. I am trying to get more students doi g triple than double because finishing core at the end of year 10 will mean that we have very little time to get intervention right. They won't have as much time to pre-pare students for the one resit and they won't get another go at coursework!
     
  14. Edexcelscienceteam

    Edexcelscienceteam New commenter

    Alex,
    There is a very clear distinction to be made here. The rule of 'one year shelf life' relates to how long the controlled assessment is available for moderation. In the case of Edexcel this will be a calendar year. So a controlled assessment for, say, 2012, will be available for moderation in June 2012 and November 2012. It does <u>not</u> relate to how long the controlled assessment is valid to be used towards a GCSE. As long as you submit your controlled assessment for moderation in the period in which it it valid, then you can hold that result in the bank until you're ready to certificate. It doesn't matter if it's gone out of date; as long as you submitted it for moderation when it was 'live', then it can count in future when it's needed.
    So in the case I described, yes, you would be able to carry forward the Y10 piece of coursework for certification in November of Year 11.
    In terms of your course plan you suggest, then, with the above rules in mind, you can use the controlled assessment at the end of Year 10. You can combine this with an external exam to hit your 40% terminal assessment rule and get the GCSE Science done.The way the new rules are set up mean that, for centres offering science/additional science, it is easier to complete Science in Y10 and certificate, before moving on to Additional in Y11. The plan you are currently contemplating involves students completing two controlled assessments in Year 11, and also completing an external assessment at the end of Y11 on content they studied in Y10; neither of which are ideal. For these reasons alone, I would suggest you consider the idea of certificating GCSE Science at the end of Y10. Some centres currently teach Science and Additional Science in parallel, as the 2006 GCSEs were conducive to this. However, the new Edexcel GCSE is designed as a sequential course. It promotes good progression between core and additional, with Additional Science building on ideas introduced in Science.
    Please note that we are releasing our controlled assessments to centres one year in advance of them becoming 'live'. So centres will have them for 2 years; you just need to make sure that you submit them in the window in which they are live. So in the case of a controlled assessment that you wish to submit for moderation in June of Y11, we will release it to centres in January of Y10.
    Edexcel has not implemented a 40% exam. This is to reduce the external assessment burden on the students at the end of the course. With the above rules in mind, we are assuming you would submit a controlled assessment task at the end of Y11 to make up part of the 40% terminal assessment anyway, with the other part of it being made up of a 25% external assessment.
    Hope that clarifies things further!
    Kathryn
     


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    Hi Kathryn




    You have no idea how useful your answer is! It has clarified so much for me. I have a couple more questions so I can move
    forward.
    You mentioned the availability of CAs in advance. So the current Y9s starting GCSE after Easter
    will have their Additional CAs moderated in Jun 2013 and the CAs will be
    available from Jan 2012. For the same
    students, when will the CAs for Core be released to centres if their Core CAs are
    moderated in Jun 2012?


    I would like to create a couple of scenarios using the
    example you used earlier:


    November Y10: B1


    March Y10: C1




    June Y10: P1, CA (40% - certificate)


    November Y11: B1, P1 (40% re-certificate, using C1 from
    March Y10, CA from June Y10, B1 and P1 from November Y11).




    In the Nov Y11 series could a valid alternative for the
    student have been:




    November Y11: P1, CA (40% re-certificate, using B1 from
    November Y10, C1 from March Y10, CA from June Y10, P1 from November Y11)?




    The above route would be for a student who has only to
    improve P1 (25%) and achieves 40% by combining with banked CA from June Y10
    (25%).




    If the above student then fails again can they continue
    doing this single resit plan, using a previously banked CA, in Mar Y11 or Jun
    Y11? (I am not suggesting this is a good plan but wish to establish if it is
    feasible).




    I can see the advantage of cashing in Y10 at the end of that
    study year. If my school insists on cashing in both awards in Y11 then I would
    need to complete the Core 40% with a single exam and CA (moderated in Y10) and for
    Additional 40% a single exam and CA (moderated in Y11).




    Final question on the Additional CAs: The first series can be moderated in Jun 2013
    and are released in Jan 2012. They will be dated Valid from Jun 2012 to May
    2013. Can pupils undertake them before
    the Jun 2012 or are they just for teacher reference between Jan and Jun of
    2012?




    Many thanks for all your help.




    Alex
     
  16. Edexcelscienceteam

    Edexcelscienceteam New commenter

    Well spotted! If we're releasing our controlled assessments a year in advance, the ones for calendar year 2012 should have gone out in January 2011. Without accreditation we were unable to do this. Now we are accredited (hurray!) we are re-planning our timelines and are looking to get them out asap. I can't confirm as yet exactly when this will be but can update when I know. After the 2012 set, then everything will conform to the normal pattern of one year in advance.
    In your scenario, as you've submitted the CA for moderation already in June Y10, the rules state that you shouldn't submit it again. Remember, you've always got to fulfil the terminal rule by using assessments sat at that time (be it an exam sitting or a moderation), in the same way that you couldn't bring a C1 result from March Y10 forward to say November Y11 to make up the terminal assessment, you couldn't do the same for controlled assessments.
    We're doing a calendar year (not academic) live period for controlled assessments. In
    your scenarios, in November of Year 11 the controlled assessment you
    submitted in June Y10 would actually still be live. What you could do is have it ready and make a decision in June not to submit for moderation, and instead to hold it back for November if you're thinking you may need to re-sit some modules with that particular student. Of course that's a risky strategy. Terminal rule has to count so you're banking on the student doing better in their external exam re-sit in November. When you get to March of the following year or June, then that's no longer possible as the controlled assessment has gone out of date.
    For your certification of core at the end of Y11, the same logic applies. If you want to use a controlled assessment for your terminal 40%, you have to submit it for moderation in that session (so it would be one that was 'live' in that calendar year). You could complete one that was live in Y10 and submit it for moderation in Y10 and it would sit in the bank, but it couldn't then be used to make up part of the terminal 40%. In that scenario, students would then have to complete two external exam at the end of Y11.
    If you do want to submit a core CA at the end of Y11 with an external core assessment, then you need to make sure it's the one valid for that calendar year. You'd have it in your centre in January of the students' Y10 year.
    Hope that hasn't confused matters.
    Kathryn
     
  17. Edexcelscienceteam

    Edexcelscienceteam New commenter

    Just to clarify this point in case I confused matters:
    'in the same way that you couldn't bring a C1 result from March Y10
    forward to say November Y11 to make up the terminal assessment, you
    couldn't do the same for controlled assessments.'
    You can use the C1 result from March Y10 for certification or re-certification at a later date as once you've got the result it sits in the bank. The only thing you can't do is use it to form part of your terminal 40% at a later date.
    Kathryn
     
  18. Hi Kathryn
    Again, many thanks. On a Sunday too!
    I have just started as HOD and Sept is crunch time. We merge two schools on one site then. Reduce down from 10 to 6 labs (with 9 F/T teachers). New specs. Start Triple for first time. Move to separate science GCEs. Etc, etc. !!! So need to get it all right in planning.
    You mentioned CAs are live for calendar year. So the vailidity dates on the sample papers (Jun-May) on the website should now be Jan-Dec?
    Your last email did help clarify the point and I can now see the distinctions. I just need to get SLT to agree to Y10 Certification. The case is strong.
    Many thanks
    Alex
     
  19. Edexcelscienceteam

    Edexcelscienceteam New commenter

    Alex,
    Sure, no problem.....
    Yes, we changed our controlled assessments from academic year to calendar year. So on the initial samples where it says June to May, it will now say January to December.
    In the scenario you outline, yes if the student did a CA in Y11 and a chemistry to fulfill the terminal assessment rules, they could then pick the best Biology and the best Physics from their attempts, regardless of which one was in the first terminal assessment. However, in this case, if you request certification at the point at which they fail (June Y10) then they will get a grade and the resit counter will re-set to zero. You could then go on to take another Biology or a Physics module which could be used towards a re-certification (where again, as you said, you must once again fulfill the terminal rule).
    Kathryn

     
  20. Edexcelscienceteam

    Edexcelscienceteam New commenter

    Yes, these are general rules so the same would apply across subjects. You can certificate and then go on to re-sit modules which you'd already re-sat before certification. You just have to remember to fulfil the terminal rule each time you wish to re-certificate.
    Kathryn
     

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