Controlled assessment

Controlled assessment was introduced as part of nearly all GCSEs, to replace coursework.

High, medium or low levels of control are set for each of the controlled assessment stages – task setting, task taking and task marking. For each stage, the level of control will ensure reliability and authenticity, and make assessments more manageable for students.

Weighting of controlled assessments is defined by Ofqual subject criteria and, depending on the subject, will be 25% or 60%. Controlled assessment tasks will be reviewed on a regular basis, so please check that you are using the correct task for the year that the entry is made.

See sections 8 and 9 of the JCQ instructions for more information on submitting a controlled assessment unit.

Specifications with 25% controlled assessment

This group of subjects normally have just one controlled assessment unit or component, which will be moderated and awarded as a single entity. There may be a recommended word count or equivalent for some subjects.

Specifications with 60% controlled assessment

This group of subjects include those that are more practical or creative. They may have one, two or three controlled assessment units or components which will be moderated and awarded separately. For these tasks there will be recommended time limits rather than word limits.

What is controlled assessment?

Controlled assessment is individual candidate work that is carried out in a supervised environment/classroom. This was introduced by the regulator to address some of the issues raised about coursework, such as plagiarism.

If students are entered for re-sits, which marks are considered - latest or highest?

For students who are finishing in 2013 they can re-sit each unit once and can count the highest mark. With regards to re-sits, candidates must make a fresh attempt at the task even if the task remains the same. They must not submit the previous attempt with improvements, although previous research can be re-used.

For students who will finish the course in 2014, this no longer applies. All units must be entered in the same series as certification. All externally assessed units must be re-taken. Controlled assessment can either be re-taken or carried forward but there are rules for this.

What are the benefits of controlled assessment?

The benefits of controlled assessment include:

  • Improved validity
  • Varying levels of control – you will know at the start of the course what is required to help you manage the assessments and your time more easily
  • Greater confidence in authenticating students' work as their own
  • Greater ease in ensuring that all candidates’ work is submitted at the same time.

Will it affect timetabling and curriculum planning?

Yes, however this will vary from centre to centre.

How long do I need to keep the controlled assessment for?

Students' work will need to be kept until after the closing date for enquiries about results for the series concerned. Please see the JCQ - Instructions for conducting controlled assessments.

When can controlled assessment start – in Year 9, 10 or 11?

Due to the introduction of linearisation controlled assessment is best started in Year 10 or 11. However, it is important that you ensure the correct controlled assessment task is used, as these can change on a yearly basis. We recommend you check the full specification details for the qualification you will be teaching before planning assessment schedules.

When can students start researching for the controlled assessment and do they need to keep their notes?

Tasks will be made available on Interchange (except GCSE Physical Education where they are in the specification), our free secure website, from 1 June of the year prior to an assessment series (e.g. 1 June 2012 for assessment in 2013) through to May of the year of assessment. However, for some subjects, they may be available up to two years in advance.

The time when you pass the tasks on to your students is for you to manage in whatever way suits you and your students and in compliance with the requirements of the subject specification.

Students should keep their notes to help them as preparation for controlled assessment and follow the instructions in the specification about the use of notes before and during the ‘task taking’ stage of the controlled assessment.

The notes will not normally be required for moderation however, for English and Science notes are collected in and attached to the final piece for the moderators. This is not compulsory but it gives the moderator more evidence.

Can we submit students for exams in any exam series now?

For students finishing in 2013 yes, but you need to be aware of the 40% terminal assessment rule, which is detailed in the specification.

For students finishing in 2014, this no longer applies as a 100% terminal rule applies.