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On 13 December 2011, Ofqual confirmed the changes that will be made to GCSEs in England for teaching from September 2012.
The government first announced its intention to look at ways of reforming GCSEs in its 2010 White Paper, The Importance of Teaching.
The reforms are designed to:
The government has now confirmed that modular GCSEs, introduced in 2009, will be replaced by linear assessment for candidates starting a two-year course from September 2012. Those candidates will take all of their GCSE exams in summer 2014, at the end of their course. These changes will not affect any candidates on a two-year course which started in September 2011 but will have an impact on Year 9 candidates who started a three-year programme in September 2011. These candidates will now be required to take all of their assessment in summer 2014.
The introduction of linear GCSEs will also prevent the mid-course re-sitting of units, although there will be opportunities to re-take complete English, English language and maths GCSEs in November.
A further requirement, which will come into effect from January 2013, is the awarding of a small number of additional marks to reflect the quality of spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPaG). This change will apply to GCSE English literature, geography, history and religious studies only.
Ofqual confirmed how the rules will change following a consultation in autumn 2011 to which OCR contributed. OCR will be able to draw on feedback from schools to better inform implementation of those changes.
While ministers in Northern Ireland have yet to confirm their position on GCSE reform, Welsh ministers have announced there will be a full review of qualifications, during which time GCSEs in their current unitised form will remain. OCR is considering what we will be able to offer to centres in Wales and we will provide further information as soon as we can.
Further details from Ofqual about the changes and FAQs.