Assessment Geography

A Level Reform (2016)

Glaced fruitThis post complements one on Draft GCSE examination specifications.

The A Level Reforms appear more profound than GCSE changes.
Updated 14 June 2016 – all specifications now accredited.

OCR H081 and H481 (2016)

Pearson Edexcel A Level Geography (2016)

Cambridge University Press student book

Two recordings of useful presentations from GA Conference 2016 linked on this page.

Note: The change in content for the specifications is determined by the Department for Education – and Pearson Edexcel usefully summarised these as

  • There will be an increased emphasis on geographical skills:
    • The subject content includes more detailed expectations for developing qualitative and quantitative data skills.
    • A level must include all the prescribed skills and AS must include a selection of the skills.
  • There will be more fieldwork:
    • AS now requires a minimum of 2 days of fieldwork.
    • A level now requires a minimum of 4 days of fieldwork.
    • Both AS and A level must require fieldwork to be undertaken in relation to physical and human geography.
  • Assessment of fieldwork is changing too:
    • All A level students will complete one Independent Investigation, which will be a non-examined assessment and must draw on fieldwork: this is 20% of the A level.
    • AS level fieldwork will be assessed by exam.

The Geographical Association has a comprehensive page on the new geography A level for 2016 which includes documentation from the back-story of consultation.

The RGS-IBG responses to consultations are available from here and Key Stage 5 resources.

The Daily Telegraph reported in February 2014 on the reasons for the new A level geography being delayed until 2016. (But don’t bother with the comments.)

What we say

Useful comparison tables:  Your Geography (from a Head of Geography @BoswellsGeog and @TeacherGeog)
The first table provides an overview of the assessment format and criteria. The second shows the topics included in each A Level. The * indicates optional topics.

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 >

What they say


“Our AS and A Level Geography specifications provide a dynamic, contemporary and exciting opportunity for students to engage with the world around them.

Why choose OCR AS and A Level Geography?

Inspiring a love of geography for lifelong learning – Drawing on issues that are relevant to a student’s own learning of the subject in a variety of contexts.

A focus on fieldwork – Our AS and A Level Geography specifications have been designed to strengthen geographical and fieldwork skills gained at GCSE and delve more deeply into content.

Relevant and contemporary – In creating these modern new specifications we’ve liaised with teachers, subject associations such as the Geographical Association, higher education, employers and consultants.

A more personalised choice – The non-examined assessment at A level is a great opportunity for students to investigate an area of the specification that interests them.

Straightforward assessment – These specifications provide clear, fair assessments, which examine relevant and engaging content.

Support and guidance – Our geography team have a love of the subject that we want to instil into a new generation of geographers. We’ve created a comprehensive support package to help you deliver these exciting new specifications.”

Pearson Edexcel

“Developing skilled and successful geographers

Here, you’ll find everything you need to prepare for the changes to our AS and A level Geography from 2016, including our accredited specifications and sample assessment materials.

The contemporary issues-based approach teachers and students love
Straightforward specifications you can shape to suit you and your students
A manageable and meaningful approach to fieldwork
Exams that give every student the chance to succeed
A focus on the skills at the heart of being a good geographer”


“Why AQA Geography AS and A-level?

This diverse qualification covers a broad range of topics.

  • Created with guidance from teachers and subject experts
  • Free teaching resources help you plan, teach and assess your students.

A new AS and A-level Geography qualification will be available in September 2016. First assessment for AS takes place in summer 2017. First assessment for A-level takes place in summer 2018.

We’ll share our proposals for the new qualification with you in May.”


“Why choose WJEC Eduqas AS/A level Geography?

AS and A level fully co-teachable
Face-to-face CPD training courses
Encourage learners to think like a geographer by engaging them with the enquiry process
Direct access to our subject specialists

Promotes learning opportunities that focus on current and topical issues
Retains many of the popular features of our current specification.
Unlimited access to free digital resources.”


Some informal online collaborations

Andrew Boardman – OCR Geography AS/A Level Teachers

AQA A Level Geography

By Angus Willson

Angus Willson is editor of this site and author of this blogpost.

One reply on “A Level Reform (2016)”

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