These short series of articles are designed to help you choose the right GCSE English specification for your resit examinations. Each article will cover a situation you may find yourself in and provide detailed guidance on what would be the best option for you in that situation.
So what specification should you choose if…
Situation 2: Your students have previously taken GCSE English or GCSE English Language with OCR. They would like to improve on all units.
Students who have previously certificated either GCSE English J350 or GCSE English Language J355 can choose to retake the whole qualification. In this circumstance, students will need to retake both the A680 exam and all of the controlled assessments units, with the exception of unit A640 Speaking and Listening. The result for unit A640 can either be retaken or carried forward. As this unit doesn’t count towards the GCSE grade, an improvement here will have no impact on the overall grade which students achieve. However, if students wish to resit unit A640, any improvement will be reflected on their certificate.
As students in this situation are resitting the whole course, it’s possible for you to switch the specification that they follow i.e. from GCSE English J350 to GCSE English Language J355 or vice versa. The large content overlap between these specifications means that the knowledge and understanding which students have previously gained remains relevant: the A680 exam is common to both specifications and the literary essay and writing task requirements are very similar. Many centres who have previously followed GCSE English J350 may decide to switch to GCSE English Language J355 for the resit opportunity as it is often a more manageable option for students in the one year time frame. In the GCSE English Language J355 specification, students produce one literary essay rather than three. For this essay, students can use one of the same texts (Shakespeare, prose or poetry) that they used for the A641 unit. Students will still need to produce two writing tasks, the requirements of which are very similar across the GCSE English J350 and GCSE English Language J355 specifications. In addition, the J355 specification requires students to complete a Spoken Language Study where they analyse the language of a particular speaker.
Students can move from the GCSE English J350 to the GCSE English Language J355 without studying a separate GCSE English Literature qualification – whilst students in secondary school need to take both Language and Literature qualifications in order to count in performance measures, this is not a concern at post 16 level.
Alternatively, you may decide to move students from GCSE English Language J355 to GCSE English J350 if you feel their skills are best suited to the study of literary texts. The overlap between the qualifications remains an advantage, but students will need to study two additional literary texts to meet the requirements for unit A641.
Whether you decide to stick with the specification that students have previously certificated or switch between GCSE English J350 and GCSE English Language J355, you must ensure that students retake the correct controlled assessment tasks for the correct specification and exam series. Although there is an overlap between some of the content of GCSE English J350 and GCSE English Language J355, each specification has different controlled assessment tasks and the correct ones must be used. The controlled assessment tasks for GCSE English J350 and GCSE English Language J355 for submission in June 2017 can be found on OCR Interchange.
The final entry deadline for the June 2017 exam series is 21 February 2017.
If you have any questions regarding resit opportunities in June 2017, or on any other aspect of our GCSE English and English Language qualifications, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What specification should you choose if... Your students have previously taken GCSE English or GCSE English Language with different exam boards.