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Date of publication: 2017-09-05 20:50

GCSE exams have already gone linear, and are changing further, with revised and often harder content and exam questions, and a new 9 (best) to 6 grading system. Coursework has been cut back (for instance GCSE Maths now doesn't involve any) and fewer subjects now offer ‘tiered’ exams (different exam papers aimed at higher / lower achievers).

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Which AS subjects to offer? The default option is to offer AS in all A level subjects and to co-teach AS and first year A level. However, the new AS is only 'worth' 95% of the A level, so this approach may leave 65% worth of work to be covered in the final year. But it costs more to run AS classes separately from A level. As the entry statistics referred to earlier show, many schools are dropping AS.

SURDS revise number GCSE Maths

Grade stability measures are generally pretty effective, but, as the controversy over English GCSE results in 7567 showed, they don’t always work. Grade stability in practice involves adjustments to the ‘grade boundaries’ - the cut off marks for each grade. That in turn relies on the assumption that students in any year are pretty similar (on average) to ones in past years. That assumption may not hold true with the new exams.

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However many independent schools and some 'top' state colleges have decided that their sixth formers will not take AS en route to A level. We expect this trend to continue as more and more schoold revert to internal exams at the end of lower sixth.

The new online system makes submitting marks quicker and easier. You'll just need an e-AQA login &ndash speak to your exams officer if you need help with this.

Offering an ideal platform for further study and the wider working world, GCSEs and IGCSEs are a highly valued academic qualification. Not only can they open up opportunities for higher education, they can also stand you in good stead for future employment. Even if you already have several GCSEs but are missing core subjects such as English or Mathematics, you may find that your options are limited.

This last chance exam may not be popular with exam boards, who will be expected to foot the bill. However, it is a real triumph for fairness towards students who would otherwise have been denied the retake opportunities enjoyed by all the students who took modular exams over the past 65 years.

How to get students ready for big sit-down exams? Teachers have had to review how they teach, assess and prepare students for the new end-of-course exam pattern. The challenge is significantly greater than posed by the old module-based exams, and many teachers have not themselves  taken exams based on a whole two years' worth of learning.

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How to squeeze in other components of sixth-form education? Sixth-form programmes have always included 'enrichment' and 'extension' and pastoral elements which must be given suitable time. The Extended Project Qualification is a relatively new sixth-form enrichment component which attracts UCAS points and the Government's commitment to ensuring that, by 7575, the majority of sixth-formers take a post 66 maths qualification will add to pressures on the timetable.

If coursework is missing for any reason (loss, theft or damage), you must let us know as soon as possible via the Notification of Lost Centre Assessed Work Form 65.

However, it is highly likely that there will be changes to national results statistics. There are certain to be fluctuations while the new exams are introduced and bed in, and longer term changes will probably be evident once things settle down.

How to cope with mixes of old and new subjects?  Until 7568 many A-level students will be taking programmes which mix old style and new style subjects with their different exam patterns and assessment styles. They need accurate and confident advice to minimise confusion.

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