Guidance

Summary of changes to GCSEs from 2015

Updated 31 March 2017

1. Taught from 2015

The following subjects will be first awarded in 2017.

Subject Tiered Non-exam assessment Consultations and decisions Final rules Accredited specifications Comments
English language No1 None2 Subject content (DfE)
Assessment arrangements
Design rules
Spoken language skills
Design rules for spoken language assessment
Subject content (DfE)
Design rules
AQA
OCR
Pearson
WJEC Eduqas
Separate reported grade for spoken language. A statement from the school or college is required to confirm that spoken language opportunities have been provided.
English literature No1 None3 Subject content (DfE)
Assessment arrangements
Design rules
Subject content (DfE)
Design rules
AQA
OCR
Pearson
WJEC Eduqas
 
Maths Yes None Subject content (DfE)
Assessment arrangements
Design rules
Subject content (DfE)
Design rules
AQA
OCR
Pearson
WJEC Eduqas
 

2. Taught from 2016

The following subjects will be first awarded in 2018.

Subject Tiered Non-exam assessment Consultations and decisions Final rules Accredited specifications Comments
Art and design No 100% Subject content(DfE)
Asessment arrangements
Design rules
Subject content(DfE)
Design rules
AQA
OCR
Pearson
WJEC Eduqas
 
Biology Yes None3 Subject content(DfE)
Assessment arangements
Assessing practical work
Design rules
Subject content (DfE)
Design rules
AQA
OCR A
OCR B
Pearson
WJEC Eduqas
At least 8 mandatory practical activities, confirmed by school statement. 15% of exam marks test understanding of practical work. 10% of exam marks test maths skills.
Chemistry Yes None3 Subject content (DfE)
Assessment arrangements
Assessing practical work
Design rules
Subject content (DfE)
Design rules
AQA
OCR A
OCR B
Pearson
WJEC Eduqas
At least 8 mandatory practical activities, confirmed by school statement. 15% of exam marks test understanding of practical work. 20% of exam marks test maths skills.
Citizenship studies No None4 Subject content(DfE)
Assessment arrangements
Design rules
Subject content
Design rules
AQA
OCR
Pearson
School statement confirming opportunities for citizenship action. 15% of exam marks for ‘citizenship action questions’.
Classical Greek No None Subject content(DfE)
Assessment arrangements
Design rules
Subject content
Design rules
OCR  
Combined science Yes None Subject content(DfE)
Assessment arrangements
Assessing practical work
Design rules
Subject content
Design rules
AQA (synergy)
AQA (trilogy)
OCR A
OCR B
Pearson
WJEC Eduqas
New subject.
Double award: grades from 9-9 to 1-1.
At least 16 mandatory practical activities, confirmed by school statement.
15% of exam marks test understanding of practical work.
20% of exam marks test maths skills.
Computer science No 20% Subject content(DfE)
Assessment arrangements
Design rules
Subject content
Design rules
AQA
OCR
Pearson
WJEC Eduqas
New subject.
Dance No 60%5 Subject content(DfE)
Assessment arrangements
Design rules
Subject content
Design rules
AQA  
Drama No 60%6 Subject content(DfE)
Assessment arrangements
Design rules
Subject content
Design rules
AQA
OCR
Pearson
WJEC Eduqas
 
Food preparation and nutrition No 50% Subject content(DfE)
Assessment arrangements
Design rules
Subject content
Design rules
AQA
OCR
WJEC Eduqas
New subject
French Yes 25%7 Subject content(DfE)
Assessment arrangements
Design rules
Subject content
Design rules
AQA
Pearson
WJEC Eduqas
 
Geography No1 None3 Subject content(DfE)
Assessment arrangements
Design rules
Subject content
Design rules
AQA
OCR A
OCR B
Pearson A
Pearson B
WJEC Eduqas A
WJEC Eduqas B
School statement confirming opportunities for fieldwork. Minimum 15% of exam marks for ‘fieldwork questions’.
German Yes 25%7 Subject content(DfE)
Assessment arrangements
Design rules
Subject content
Design rules
AQA
Pearson
WJEC Eduqas
 
History No None3 Subject content(DfE)
Assessment arrangements
Design rules
Subject content
Design rules
AQA
OCR A
OCR B
Pearson
WJEC Eduqas
 
Latin No1 None Subject content(DfE)
Assessment arrangements
Design rules
Subject content
Design rules
OCR
WJEC Eduqas
 
Music No 60%8 Subject content(DfE)
Assessment arrangements
Design rules
Subject content
Design rules
AQA
OCR
Pearson
WJEC Eduqas
 
Physical education No 40%7 Subject content(DfE)
Assessment arrangements
Design rules
Subject content
Design rules
AQA
OCR
Pearson
WJEC Eduqas
 
Physics Yes None3 Subject content(DfE)
Assessment arrangements
Assessing practical work
Design rules
Subject content
Design rules
AQA
OCR A
OCR B
Pearson
WJEC Eduqas
At least 8 mandatory practical activities, confirmed by school statement.
15% of exam marks test understanding of practical work.
30% of exam marks test maths skills.
Religious studies No None Subject content(DfE)
Assessment arrangements
Design rules
Subject content
Design rules
AQA A
AQA B
AQA (short course)
OCR
WJEC Eduqas
 
Spanish Yes 25%7 Subject content(DfE)
Assessment arrangements
Design rules
Subject content
Design rules
AQA
Pearson
WJEC Eduqas
 

3. Taught from 2017

The following subjects will be first awarded in 2019.

Subject Tiered Non-exam assessment Consultations and decisions Final rules Accredited specifications Comments
Ancient history No None3 Subject content (DfE)
Assessment arrangements
Design rules
Subject content
Design rules
OCR  
Astronomy No None3 Subject content (DfE)
Assessment arrangements
Design rules
Subject content
Design rules
Pearson Mandatory observational work, confirmed by school statement. 15% of exam marks test understanding of observational work. 20% of exam marks test maths skills.
Business No None3 Subject content (DfE)
Assessment arrangements
Design rules
Subject content
Design rules
AQA
OCR
Pearson
WJEC Eduqas
 
Classical civilisation No 1 None3 Subject content (DfE)
Assessment arrangements
Design rules
Subject content
Design rules
OCR  
Design and technology No 50%7 Subject content (DfE)
Assessment arrangements
Design rules
Subject content
Design rules
AQA
OCR
Pearson
WJEC Eduqas
15% of exam marks test maths skills.
Economics No None Subject content (DfE)
Assessment arrangements
Design rules
Subject content
Design rules
AQA
OCR
 
Electronics No 20%3 Subject content (DfE)
Assessment arrangements
Design rules
Subject content
Design rules
WJEC Eduqas  
Engineering No 40%7 Subject content (DfE)
Assessment arrangements
Design rules
Subject content
Design rules
AQA 20% of exam marks test maths skills.
Film studies No 30%9 Subject content (DfE)
Assessment arrangements
Design rules
Subject content Design rules OCR
WJEC Eduqas
 
Geology No None3 Subject content (DfE)
Assessment arrangements
Design rules
Subject content
Design rules
WJEC Eduqas School statement confirming opportunities for fieldwork. Minimum 15% of exam marks for geological skills and techniques. 10% of exam marks test maths skills.
Media studies No 30%7 Subject content (DfE)
Assessment arrangements
Design rules
Subject content
Design rules
WJEC Eduqas  
Modern foreign languages (Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Italian, Japanese, Modern Greek, Modern Hebrew, Panjabi, Polish, Russian, Urdu) Yes 25%7 Design rules Subject content
Design rules
Arabic (Pearson)
Bengali (AQA)
Chinese (AQA)
Chinese (Pearson)
Italian (AQA)
Italian (Pearson)
Japanese (Pearson)
modern Greek (Pearson)
modern Hebrew (AQA)
Polish (AQA)
Panjabi (AQA)
Russian (Pearson)
Urdu (AQA)
Urdu (Pearson)
 
Physical Education (short course) No 40%7 Subject content (DfE)
Assessment arrangements
Design rules
Subject content
Design rules
Pearson
WJEC Eduqas
 
Psychology No None Subject content (DfE)
Assessment arrangements
Design rules
Subject content
Design rules
AQA
OCR
Pearson
20% of exam marks test knowledge and understanding of research methods. 10% of exam marks test maths skills.
Sociology No None Subject content (DfE)
Assessment arrangements
Design rules
Subject content
Design rules
AQA
WJEC Eduqas
15% of exam marks test knowledge and understanding of research methods.
Statistics Yes None3 Subject content (DfE)
Assessment arrangements
Design rules
Subject content
Design rules
AQA
Pearson
 

4. Taught from 2018

The following subjects will be first awarded in 2020.

Subject Tiered Non-exam assessment Consultations and decisions Final rules Accredited specifications Comments
Biblical Hebrew No None Design rules Subject content
   
Modern foreign languages (Gujarati, Persian, Portuguese, Turkish) Yes 25%7 Design rules Subject content
Design rules
   
  1. This is a change from legacy GCSEs 2 3 4 5

  2. Legacy GCSEs in both English and English language use 40%

  3. Legacy GCSEs use 25% 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

  4. Legacy GCSEs use 40%

  5. Legacy GCSEs use 80% (as well as the mandatory 60% controlled assessment, legacy GCSEs also include an externally-assessed performance unit - this is also a form of non-exam assessment)

  6. Legacy GCSEs use between 60% and 100% (as well as the mandatory 60% controlled assessment, some legacy GCSEs also include an externally-assessed performance unit - this is also a form of non-exam assessment)

  7. Legacy GCSEs use 60% 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

  8. Legacy GCSEs use between 60% and 80% (as well as the mandatory 60% controlled assessment, some legacy GCSEs also include an externally-assessed composition unit - this is also a form of non-exam assessment)

  9. Legacy GCSEs use 50%