Some days I feel old beyond my years. Last weekend when I remarked to my husband that the driver of the coach that just went past us ‘didn’t look old enough to be able to drive something that big’ was one of the moments. That time I asked my students whether they remembered where they were when Princess Diana died, and one kid looked at me disdainfully and said ‘Miss, we were only two’ was another. The third was when I started thinking about the move from modular to linear qualifications, and it dawned on me that many teachers would be faced with this change not only having never taught a linear course, but also not having been a student following a linear course either. Unitised A Levels, where the end of year 12 AS exams counted towards the final grade, were first taught from September 2000, so effectively, anyone under the age of 34 has been a student of the modular era.
With that in mind, I make no apology for taking some time to go back to basics and point out some considerations for teachers moving from modular delivery into the realm of newly reformed, linear qualifications.
The most important point to make is that the difference between the two styles is not just about when learners are assessed. The different structure has an impact on the constraints (or lack thereof) around the ways you can choose to sequence topics and skills development, as well as on the amount of revisiting required, and the nature and amount of revision needed.
This means that linear specifications offer much more freedom when it comes to planning and sequencing delivery. Usually this flexibility is welcomed by teachers, although it can seem daunting to begin with. And naturally it will feel more daunting to those who haven’t any experience of this type of planning and delivery.
This is one of the topics that is addressed in our new Teacher guide: Moving from modular to linear qualifications. This guide not only talks through the general differences and considerations common to all subjects, but it also offers subject-specific appendices which talk through at specification level, the considerations specific to each subject we offer in the EBacc. So you can find guidance on the ways you could approach a range of subjects, from GCSE maths, to A Level Classical Greek, and all points in between.
We really want to hear what you think of this resource, and if you would find additional guidance for subjects outside of the EBacc useful too, we’d love to know.
Please share your thoughts in the comments below or use the feedback facility when you access the resource itself. If you prefer you can email us or tweet via social media @ocrexams using the hashtag #OCRresources
Michelle North - Subject Team Manager - English and Creative
Michelle is the Head of the English and Creative team at OCR, which offers support to teachers in a diverse range of subjects alongside English which include media, film studies and even PE. This team also leads on reforming GCSEs and A Levels in these subject areas, and Michelle worked intensively on the reformed qualifications in the English suite at OCR. Prior to joining OCR, Michelle taught in a large upper school in Bedfordshire, and has a background in school leadership at both Key Stage 4 and 5. In addition, she led the school based initial teacher training for English teachers in her local region for several years. Michelle has a master’s degree in teaching from the Institute of Education.