This article consolidates a lot of key information gathered throughout 2016-2017 from CPD events and resource production.
This content is also available to download as a PDF document.
A second set of sample assessment materials, which we are calling Practice papers will be available late in the autumn term in preparation for mock exams. These will be full sets of papers and mark schemes (like the SAMs). These will be available via Interchange so they are not accessible to students.
There is considerable topic content overlap between GCSE A & B and so you can use the questions from the Practice Papers (for the alternative GCSE qualification) as the assessment objectives are the same, especially for fieldwork.
Guides to the SAMs are a detailed overview of the assessment objectives and question styles, these can be downloaded from the respective qualification pages (GCSE A and GCSE B) under Assessment preparation then sample assessment materials.
There is considerable topic content overlap between GCSE A & B and so you can use the questions from the SAMs (for the alternative GCSE qualification) as the assessment objectives are the same, especially for fieldwork.
The level marked medium tariff questions begin at 6 marks. The 8 and 12 mark questions are considered to be high tariff, extended response questions (see below).
NB – The components across GCSE A and GCSE B have to be comparable in terms of question tariffs i.e. the number of (multiple choice questions, 6, 8 and 12 markers)
Quality of extended responses (QER) is in 12 and 8 mark questions. In 12 mark questions there are 4 levels and for 8 mark questions there are only 3 levels.
Quality of extended responses is part of the levels and is assessed holistically along with the rest of the descriptors in each level. There are no set marks available for quality of extended responses – it is one thing to consider in the holistic review of the answer. But the ‘geography’ in the answer should always be the main concern when awarding a level to a response. The guides to the SAMs explain the descriptors for the QER.
Also known as spelling, punctuation and grammar and the use of specialist terminology is assessed against one of the longer questions in the exam with 3 marks available.
SPaG will be attached to the highest tariff question in each component (paper). There will only be one question in each component with SPaG, so 3 marks per component as shown in the grid within the specifications (GCSE A page 17 and GCSE B page 21).
There are clear descriptors for each level of SPaG, which are separate from the geographical content of the rest of the question. The students answer is read holistically and the SPaG marks are awarded on the whole answer. Theses descriptors can be found on the last page of the mark schemes in the SAMs.
At the beginning of each mark scheme there is a table to help you understand the level based mark scheme (for question tariffs of 6 marks and above). The wording in each level (from basic to comprehensive) indicates how answers develop and progress within each assessment objective (AO1 – AO3).
For further information on terms and definitions, please read the following article: How important are command words?
This training course in January and February 2018, explores a variety of techniques with which teachers can get students prepared for their examinations. The day will include discussions on revision techniques, styles and demands of exam questions including command terms, varying tariffs and case studies. How students can prepare for questions which target geographical and fieldwork skills. There will be opportunities to discuss extended response questions which include the 8 and 12 mark questions. Information on the CPD hub.
The most current information on the 9-1 grading structure can be found on the Ofqual website this includes:
These are not set until after the students complete their examinations. What is important to note is that there need to be comparative outcomes between the legacy and reformed qualifications in terms of what grades students achieve. Find out more in Dr Frances Wilson's post on Grading the new GCSEs.
Within the topics of the specification we have used the terms ‘such as’ and ‘including’. The term ‘such as’ is used to exemplify bullet points in the specification however ‘including’ means students could be directly examined on this content. This arose when the spec was being developed and teacher feedback was to have clarity with some of the content areas.
Case studies are clearly indicated and these vary in depth and complexity across topics.
To help support the teaching of geographical skills listed in the specifications on pages 13-14 (GCSE A) and 17-18 (GCSE B) we have produced two story maps, these can be access via Geography News on the homepage:
The GCSE specifications have a little 'F' in the scale column to indicate where there are potential areas / topics within which fieldwork could take place.
Fieldwork will be assessed through learners’ own experiences of fieldwork as well as unfamiliar contexts. The unfamiliar contexts are indicated in the Sample Assessment Materials by the inclusion of resources e.g. GCSE A – Component 03 qu4 (d) GCSE B – Component 01 qu5 (d). The assessment objectives for the fieldwork questions are either measuring AO4 (Skills) or AO3 (Application), for further information please see the specification GCSE A (p18) and GCSE B (p22).
Fieldwork skills can be assessed for physical, human or both in any set of assessments. Learners will be assessed on the following (as listed in the specifications):
If you wanted ideas for potential fieldwork questions you could use legacy controlled assessment titles and a great resource can be purchased from the Geographical Association website.
CPD hub contains all the information for booking CPD (the most current are listed at the top). There is a mixture of face-to-face and webinars available. Half termly free Q& A webinars with the Geography Subject Advisor where you can ask anything about the qualifications: Independent investigation clinic and Subject Advisor Q&A.
This training course in Jan & Feb 2018, explores a variety of techniques with which teachers can get students prepared for their examinations. The day will include discussions on revision techniques, styles and demands of exam questions including command terms, varying tariffs and case studies. How students can prepare for questions which target geographical and fieldwork skills. There will be opportunities to discuss extended response questions which include the 8 and 12 mark questions. Information on the CPD hub.
You can also download materials from previous CPD courses, this is indicated by the following buttons:
Useful materials for download include assessment, embedding geographical skills and fieldwork.