1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Ofqual try again on new science GCSE

Discussion in 'Science' started by gailrobinson, Jun 22, 2010.

  1. According to the latest issue of the TES the troubled saga surrounding the introduction of new science GCSEs continued this week as the exams regulator rejected the lastest versions of the qualifications for being too easy.
    Read the full story- Ofqual try again on new science GCSE
  2. According to the latest issue of the TES the troubled saga surrounding the introduction of new science GCSEs continued this week as the exams regulator rejected the lastest versions of the qualifications for being too easy.
    Read the full story- Ofqual try again on new science GCSE
  3. Gail, is there an official document from Ofqual that I can email to the department and SMT? (Not that I don't trust you... but they might not). Really grateful that you are keeping us abreast of this.
  4. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    So we just sit back and hope that something is decided some time, and that we might get a bit of planning time. Just tell us what to teach and we'll teach it for five years, and then you can give us something different.
  5. Thanks a lot shoopppoop!
  6. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Today, I received two glossy copies of the new draft specifications. What a waste of money, that will ultimately turn into higher exam fees. Our trouble is that unless it's very different, we've invested too much money in 21st century to change to anything else.

  7. You say you have invested 'too much money in 21C to change to anything else'. BEWARE - we thought the same thing but doing the maths, it would cost us about £9 000 per subject (so ~£27 000 for Phys, Chem & Bio) just to stay with 21C.
    * we need a new syllabus from September 2010 (Y9) and OCR 21C will still have an unstable syllabus then, plus no text books or teacher resources available until May 2011 (at 20% VAT).
    * the OCR changes are quite substantial. I have started to write a SOW for P1 & am scrabbling around in Physics For You text books + teachers resources that we have had for about 10 years, to cover the syllabus.
    * existing past papers are not going to be valid since the new style of questions has had to change so much - more written sentences / QWC questions (up to 50% of marks) plus many more quantitative answers.
    * the IGCSE syllabus is fixed, is accredited by the Govt now & will count towards league tables as well as being funded from September 2010. There are books + teacher resources available now at 17.5% VAT. In addition, there is healthy competition between publishers for the IGCSE text book market so books & resources are cheaper than OCR 21C where there is only one supplier of text books (as far as I know) - who charges unreasonable, monopoly prices!
    * IGCSE past paers exist, in vast quantities. So pupils can quickly get to grips with the style & requirements.
    ....... as you can see, we are looking at changing
  8. What about gateway? It didn't seem like it was changing much - am I wrong?
  9. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Schools don't pay VAT!
    Not my decision to change things anyway,
  10. I'd love for us to change things at our place; unfortunately I have a nasty feeling that our small test group (bottom end) who are going to be doing BTec will be the first of many. We're much more likely to be grade-whores than recognise the appeal of IGCSE. I'd love it - but I can't see our management ever accepting something that will lead to a drop in grades.
    Maybe when I rule the world...
  11. Thanks for that reminder phlogistron - I had forgotten the schools' VAT exemption. That helps with the costs, but not with the timescales problem.
    Gateway Science: I don't know how or whether the syllabus is changing. It is not on our radar!
    ...I expect we will stay with 21C, our HOD is very conservative & gets quite seasick if there is even a sniff of the boat being rocked.
    It is not my decision to change things either, but I like to look around ocassionally to see what else is available & do a bit of lobbying if I think we'd be better off with another option.
  12. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    It's very strange. When we did stuff back in the early years of the last decade I felt that the science was content heavy, that "How science works" was a charade and that the pseudo investigations called coursework were a pain.
    Now it all has a beautiful golden glow of fond reminiscence, everything was nice and clear cut and we all knew what we were doing. We did experimental science in those days!
  13. The trouble with the changes to Gateway are that some units that are at the moment only done by the triple scientists and are covered in the extra books with units 5 and 6 in them will now be in double award. I don't know about you but this will cause lots of problems as we only have a small number of the 5 and 6 books.
  14. Peterke

    Peterke New commenter

    I'm a bit hesitant to jump in here, as I'm just 3 days off finishing my PGCE, so dont have the experience of you guys. For what its worth though, today we had a talk from the head examiner at AQA and we discussed this lack of accreditation. His view was that the content would not change from the draft specs, it was how it would be assessed was where the big changes were...
  15. We can inform you that the main comments received by AQA were in the area of external assessment and the Controlled Assessment Unit. In response we are addressing some specific areas. There are also some alterations needed to the content in all of our draft specifications, however we anticipate that the changes will be relatively small. For more information see our update on The Science Lab.

    We still hope to have accredited specifications available during September. We understand your concerns and are working hard to address the issues by Ofqual to achieve accreditation as quickly as possible.

    To keep up-to-date on progress and to support you through these changes please register for our e-mail updates.

    Regarding resources we will be providing an extensive range of free online teaching aids for our new specifications, you can watch our demo to find out more and how this tool will assist you in your daily planning, teaching and assessment of the new specifications.

    We hope you find this information useful.

    AQA GCSE Sciences
  16. Edexcelscienceteam

    Edexcelscienceteam New commenter

    <font face="Trebuchet MS">Ofqual has asked all awarding organisations to increase the rigour of their draft GCSE Science specifications which were submitted in April. They have expressed the hope that accredited specifications from awarding organisations will be available before the end of 2010. </font><font face="Trebuchet MS">For Edexcel, they commented on:</font>
    • <li style="margin:0cm 0cm 0pt;color:black;tab-stops:list 36.0pt;" class="MsoNormal"><font face="Trebuchet MS">Specification content</font><font face="Trebuchet MS"> &ndash; The comments on specification content mainly concern requests to show &lsquo;How Science Works&rsquo; opportunities more clearly, and to include increased opportunities for both mathematical skills and a wider range of practical work.
      </font><li style="margin:0cm 0cm 0pt;color:black;tab-stops:list 36.0pt;" class="MsoNormal"><font face="Trebuchet MS">External assessment</font><font face="Trebuchet MS"> - The comments on the external papers mainly concern a need to ensure that the demand of questions is increased to allow better differentiation at the higher grades. Related to this was a request to alter the wording of some types of specification statement to make it clear that a range of questions - for example, on application - can be asked on relatively simple aspects of theory.
      </font><li style="margin:0cm 0cm 0pt;color:black;tab-stops:list 36.0pt;" class="MsoNormal">Controlled assessment

  17. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    OCR going to post anything then?
  18. p1j39

    p1j39 New commenter

    Do you think they will say anything different or more helpful?
  19. We&rsquo;re issuing a letter which should be with you soon - we&rsquo;re addressing feedback received and we&rsquo;ll re-submit to Ofqual as soon as possible. It is perfectly normal for specifications not to be accredited on first submission, so we&rsquo;ve not got cause for concern. Ofqual has made an announcement that GCSE sciences are expected to be accredited by the end of December 2010, but we&rsquo;re working hard to ensure that you have approved specifications and specimen assessment materials (SAMs) before this.
    Most of the comments we&rsquo;ve had relate to the demand of the SAMs, both examination papers and controlled assessment tasks and we&rsquo;re reviewing these materials to ensure that the demand is appropriate.
    • Examination papers - we&rsquo;re increasing the number of questions requiring candidates to write extended answers and also raising the demand of questions that test mathematical skills.
    • Controlled assessment &ndash; the tasks will be less structured, giving learners more opportunities to make choices and plan their own work.
    You can download the current draft specifications and SAMs and find other relevant information at http://www.gcse-science.com
    Year 9 teaching
    Some of the comments from the Regulator are about the content of the specifications, but none of these will require substantial changes to the draft specifications.
    We&rsquo;re aware that many of you will need to start teaching these new specifications from September 2010, where learners are starting a 3 year course, leading to certification in 2013.
    After we&rsquo;ve made the necessary revisions, we&rsquo;ll ensure that the updated versions of the content of the first 2 teaching modules for each subject area are available on our website by the end of July.
    You can base teaching on this material until fully accredited versions of the specifications are published.
    We will not however publish revised versions of the SAMs until specifications are fully accredited. There will be no examinations until January 2012 and you should check the specifications (Section 8.1) for details of availability.

    If you want to know more about OCR's science GCSEs, including available support, details are available at http://www.ocr.org.uk/news/2010/item_050.html

Share This Page