Hints and Tips - 5 minute read
Keeley Nolan, Lead Subject Advisor
We know you’ve been patiently waiting for us to confirm our approach to GCSE English Literature for summer 2021. We're very pleased to be able to let you know that our approach is now approved.
For summer 2021, we’re providing as much flexibility as we can so that you can focus on the content you’ve already covered and choose the topic areas for assessment which will best suit your students. We hope that in giving you as much flexibility as possible, this will help to take some of the pressure off teaching and learning this year.
Shakespeare is the only compulsory topic area for our GCSE English Literature qualification in 2021. This means that all current Year 11 students taking our specification will sit the Shakespeare assessment which is usually assessed in Section B of Paper 2. As in a standard year, students will still have the choice of an extract based question or a discursive essay question.
You will be able to choose 2 of the remaining 3 topic areas for assessment:
This effectively means that students will be assessed on 75% of the specification content this summer.
There will be no changes to the question types that students will see in the 2021 exams. This means that students taking either the modern prose or drama or poetry options will be assessed on unseen comparison and will respond to part a and part b questions, as they would normally.
For the 19th century novel option, students will still have an extract based question or a discursive essay question to choose from.
We have split J352/01 and J352/02 question papers into 4 separate papers – one for each area of content. Each paper has a new component code.
Both the modern prose or drama paper and the poetry paper will be 1 hour, 15 minutes long. The Shakespeare and 19th century prose papers will be 50 minutes long – we’ve added an extra 5 minutes to the recommended time for these topics to help students to settle into these as stand-alone exams.
We'll be providing new Specimen Assessment Materials to show you what these exams will look like.
For this year, we will only be assessing AO4 (SPaG) in the compulsory Shakespeare component. This is so that all students will meet the 5% AO4 requirement, no matter which optional route they are taking. This requirement is the same for all exam boards.
The assessment of AO4 in the Shakespeare will increase from 4 to 6 marks out of a total of 40 marks for this topic area. The weighting of AO1 in Shakespeare has decreased slightly to accommodate this change. AO1 and AO2 will remain the dominant assessment objectives for this question.
We’ve removed AO4 from the 19th century novel assessment for this summer. The total number of marks for the 19th century novel topic area will stay at 40. The weighting of AO2 and AO3 has increased slightly to accommodate this change but AO1 and AO2 remain the dominant assessment objectives for this question.
There are no changes to the assessment objectives or their weightings in either the modern prose or drama or poetry options.
If you have any questions about this summer’s assessment and would like to talk to us, please get in touch at OCRenglish@ocr.org.uk or follow us on Twitter at @OCR_English.
You can also sign up to subject updates and receive email information about English resources and support.
If you’ve been thinking of teaching our GCSE English Literature specification, there’s still plenty of time to switch to us. If this is something you’re considering, let us know.
Our GCSE English Literature specification has a lot to offer teachers and students. Some of the key benefits are:
Find out more about the key elements of our specification.
The guides below show you more about the differences between exam board specifications. Although these cover the content in a standard year, the same key elements apply in 2021. For this year, please refer to the compulsory topic(s) of the different exam boards, and your chosen options.
Switching from AQA
Switching from Pearson
Switching from Eduqas
We’ll shortly be providing full details on the changes for this summer in our ‘Your guide to the changes for 2021’ which will be available on our GCSE English Literature web page.
Keeley Nolan, Lead Subject Advisor
Keeley is a Lead Subject Advisor at OCR and is responsible for a portfolio of English qualifications including both GCSEs. Keeley joined the English team in 2014, leading on the development of GCSE English Language and supporting first teaching of the new specification. Prior to joining OCR, Keeley spent two years teaching abroad. In her spare time she enjoys travelling, reading and swimming.