Draft Examination Specifications

StyleTaking an impartial view, I have been collecting evidence to help geography teachers think about the GCSE draft specifications new for September 2016 and examination in May 2018. (Although for some schools starting GCSE in Year 9 there is an immediate impact.)
Updated 22 April 2015.

OCR GCSE Geography A Geographical Themes
http://www.ocr.org.uk/qualifications/gcse-geography-a-geographical-themes-j383-from-2016/

OCR GCSE Geography B Geography for Enquiring Minds
http://www.ocr.org.uk/qualifications/gcse-geography-b-geography-for-enquiring-minds-j384-from-2016/

Edexcel GCSE Geography A Themes (Hedgehog)
http://qualifications.pearson.com/en/qualifications/edexcel-gcses/geography-2016.html

Edexcel GCSE Geography B Issues (Polar Bear)
http://qualifications.pearson.com/en/qualifications/edexcel-gcses/geography-2016.html#tab-1

AQA GCSE Geography
http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/geography/gcse/geography-8035

Eduquas
http://www.eduqas.co.uk/qualifications/geography/gcse/index.html
A (PDF): http://www.eduqas.co.uk/qualifications/geography/gcse/wjec-eduqas-gcse-geography-a-specification.pdf
B (PDF): http://www.eduqas.co.uk/qualifications/geography/gcse/wjec-eduqas-gcse-geography-b-specification.pdf

Note: The content requirements for the qualifications are available on DfE’s website.

All new GCSE Geography qualifications, from each Awarding Organisation, will incorporate some significant changes:

  • papers will be un-tiered rather than tiered
  • there will be no controlled assessment
  • fieldwork will be assessed through a written examination

What they say…

OCR: Our GCSE (9-1) Geography specifications provide a dynamic, contemporary and exciting opportunity for students to engage with the world around them.

Why choose OCR GCSE (9-1) Geography A (Geographical Themes)?

Support and guidance – Our comprehensive support package ensures teachers are equipped to deliver the new qualification with subject specialists just an email or phone call away.

Relevant and contemporary – Enables students to challenge their pre-conceived ideas of the subject through the development of their geographical understanding.

Fieldwork focus – Our specifications give a prominent position to geographical fieldwork and skills to ensure they are embedded within teaching and learning.

Accessible for all students – Created to provide rewarding learning experiences for all students across a range of abilities and interests.

Straightforward to teach – Designed to contain concise, stimulating content to give clarity to teachers, so they have confidence they are preparing their students for assessment.

Our GCSE (9-1) Geography specifications provide a dynamic, contemporary and exciting opportunity for students to engage with the world around them.Why choose OCR GCSE (9-1) Geography B (Geography for Enquiring Minds)?

Support and guidance – Our comprehensive support package ensures teachers are equipped to deliver the new qualification with subject specialists just an email or phone call away.

Engaging content – Enquiry questions and exciting content help enthuse and engage students to challenge their pre-conceived ideas of the subject.

Fieldwork focus – Our specifications give a prominent position to geographical fieldwork and skills to ensure they are embedded within teaching and learning.

Accessible for all students – Created to provide rewarding learning experiences for all students across a range of abilities and interests.

Exploring the content – Interconnections of topics explored in stimulating assessments to allow students to ‘think like a geographer’.

 

Edexcel: Our approach

We’re working with hundreds of practising teachers and the geography subject community to design our new qualifications for 2016. Our ambition is to develop geography qualifications that you will know and recognise, but to update them with new and engaging topics of study.

We’re developing 2 specifications:

  • Specification A: a familiar theme-based approach with separate physical, human and skills-based components.
  • Specification B: a contemporary issues-based approach.

 

AQA: Our new GCSE Geography specification is:

  • flexible and familiar
  • enjoyable and rewarding
  • relevant and topical
  • suitable for all students.

We’re also creating a great range of free resources to help you plan, teach and assess the new specification.

 

Eduqas:

We have developed two new GCSE Geography qualifications for first teaching from 2016 and first assessment in 2018. Specification A is derived from WJEC’s existing GCSE Geography A and will continue to offer teachers core options and themes so you can design a bespoke curriculum for your learners. Specification B is derived from WJEC’s existing GCSE Geography B and will continue to offer an issues-based approach in the ‘Avery Hill’ style.

CPD
New GCSE Geography: Key changes and challenges, 23 June 2015 London
http://www.geography.org.uk/cpdevents/gacpdcourses/newgcsegeography/

What we say…

A one-page comparison on content by Graeme Eyre
http://geyre.co.uk/2015/04/14/comparison-of-the-new-draft-gcse-syllabuses/

A different take on the comparison from Boswells, Chelmsford with two tables by Lucy Rawe
http://www.yourgeography.com/the-blography/-gcse-geography-2016-the-specifications-compared
This post refers to consultation with pupils. Would anyone like to share any materials used for that purpose?

SLN Geography Forum
http://learningnet.co.uk/geoforum/index.php?topic=9479.msg41918

Twitter

@GCeyre I know it creates a challenge whether to go for the best / or the one that requires the least amount of work.

@atko73 worth waiting for A level specs before deciding, to put together a coherent progression from one to the other.

@Liz_Smith little time for me to wait as our 3 year GCSE begins in July. Although I know OCR were considering careful continuity …but OCR draft GCSE spec has little detail about actual content to deliver in comparison to AQA. I need detail!
I think will stick with OCR, not sure on whether to go for A spec or B yet though. I don’t like the lack of control that I currently have with preparing students for a DME as I find it a gamble, so not sure.

@TeacherGeog Thinking Edexcel B. How about you?

@GeoBlogs co-writing books for OCR A and B…

@GeographyMrI I’m thinking AQA myself.

@dukkhaboy early thoughts lean me to OCR we are AQA A atm. New AQA is very content heavy. But I don’t know yet. Cost of text books might influence it bearing in mind the possible 12% cuts coming!

@paulsturtivant @tonycassidy I think am going to do the Eduqas A spec, too.

The thread ‘New specs’ on SLN Geography Forum has been read over 3,000 times:
http://learningnet.co.uk/geoforum/index.php?topic=9685.0

Do let me know what you may do and why.

I am also interested in capturing a sense of the previous and anticipated quality of support from the different AOs – and I appreciate that you may prefer that to be shared anonymously. I am not, nor have previously been, employed by an AO or OfQual.
Email contact here >

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