What GCSE is my child taking?
All students in Years 10 and 11 take at least one GCSE in English. The government target is for all students to achieve at least a grade C in English.
Students in Sets 1 and 2 take GCSE English Language and GCSE Literature. This means that during the two years, they will achieve two GCSEs.
All other students will only take GCSE English which gives them one GCSE.
What do the students study and how are they assessed?
Throughout the two years, students will develop their reading skills through analysis and evaluation of texts, and their writing skills through imaginative writing and responding to things they have read and studied. Students are also assessed in Speaking and Listening.
The students are assessed throughout the two year course in the form of controlled assessments, speaking and listening assessments and examinations.
Do I need to buy any texts books?
All the necessary texts are provided by the college. The materials provided by the college can be supported further by the use of IAMLEARNING.
What is a controlled assessment?
Controlled assessments are assessments which are prepared for during class time. The students will study a text (poems, play or novel) with a particular question as the focus. They will have the opportunity to practice similar questions before sitting the controlled assessment.
The students will confidently know the texts, question and the requirements of the controlled assessment before sitting the controlled assessment. They will have a plan to take with them into the the examination. Most controlled assessments are two hours long and are sat in an examination room.
How can I support my child if they are preparing for a controlled assessment?
Controlled assessments have to be prepared for and sat in supervised conditions which means that students cannot prepare outside of college. However, it is essential that all students complete the independent study set by their teacher, as this is designed to support students in consolidating and developing the skills essential for the controlled assessments and examinations.
What happens if a student does not do well in the controlled assessment?
After each controlled assessment, the paper is marked using the exam board mark scheme and students will be provided with next steps so they can improve their next attempt or their next controlled assessment.
If a student does not meet their target grade, they have one opportunity to resit the controlled assessment with a different question. These students will then be supported in small groups to help them develop the necessary skills for them to improve.
How much is the controlled assessment worth and if a student does not achieve very well in year 10 is it then too late?
For students who are taking GCSE English (one GCSE), controlled assessments equal 40%
For students who are taking GCSE English language and GCSE Literature controlled assessments equal:
GCSE English Language 30%
GCSE English Literature 50%
When a student has taken their resit, they are not able to change their grade. However, the weighting of the assessments means that each student still has every possibility of success providing the speaking and listening and examination results are at the student's target grade.
My child is in Year 10 and I am worried about their controlled assessment grades. Is there anything that we can do? Can they still achieve their target grade?
Up to four of the controlled assessments are sat in Year 10 and students are given the opportunity to resit these. Students are only allowed to re-sit each unit once. However, the controlled assessments sat in Year 10 only contribute 20% of the GCSE English qualification. This means that students can still achieve their target grade as long as they meet their target grade for speaking and listening, and the Information and Ideas examinations.
Student A achieves Grade D overall for controlled assessments in Year 10. This is 20% of the overall mark. If they achieve a secure grade C in the speaking and listening assessments and the Imaginative writing controlled assessment, and a secure grade C in the Information and Ideas examination, they are likely to achieve a grade C for their GCSE English qualification.
If a student is taking GCSE Language and Literature, the controlled assessments taken in Year 10 equate to 50% of the Literature qualification and 15% of the GCSE English Language qualification, and so the same is true. However, it is essential that students perform well in the GCSE Literature examinations in order to ensure they meet their target grade.
What is a speaking and listening assessment?
All students in Year 10 and 11 will take part in Speaking and Listening assessments. For the Language and Literature students, the speaking and listening assessments contribute towards the English Language GCSE qualification, and are usually done in the classroom
Students are assessed on their speaking and listening abilities in three different contexts:
- Drama focus
- Group discussion
- Individual extended presentation
Students will study the the assessment criteria and have opportunity to prepare before performing to the whole class or to a wider audience.
Students who are taking the English Language GCSE will also sit a Spoken Language controlled assessment, analysing how a famous public speaker uses spoken language. This grade contributes towards their speaking and listening grade.
What are the examinations and when are they sat?
All students will take the Information and Ideas examination in January of Year 11.
For all students, this examination is worth 40% of the GCSE.
GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature students will take three additional examinations for the GCSE English Literature qualification. The first is taken in June of Year 10, the second is sat in January of Year 11 and the final in June of Year 11.
What are students required to do in the examination?
The Information and Ideas examination is divided into two sections. The first section focuses on reading skills and the second section focuses on writing skills. The questions are not known before the examination.
- In the reading section of the paper, students are required to read a selection of non-fiction texts and be able to summarise the key messages, and analyse a writer's use of language and presentation devices.
- In the writing paper, students are required to write an extended response. They are assessed on their ability to write creatively and appropriately, structure their answer effectively, use accurate and effective punctuation and use an imaginative and appropriate range of vocabulary.
The three additional examinations for GCSE English Literature students are based on the novel, play or poetry that students have been studying. They will be required to analyse the text and write an analytical response in timed conditions. They will not know the question before entering the examination.
What happens if a student does not do very well?
If a student does not achieve their target grade, they have the opportunity to resit the examination in June. They will have targeted revision support to ensure that they develop the necessary skills in order to achieve their potential in this examination?
Why is my child sitting the higher or foundation paper?
The paper that the student sits has been selected to ensure that they are supported in achieving their target grade in the examination. This decision is based on performance in classes, timed essays and mock examinations. A student who has a target grade of C or below is likely to be entered for the foundation paper. If a student has a target grade of B or above, they are likely to take the higher paper.
What is the difference between the foundation and higher paper?
The foundation paper provides more support for students. Students are required to read less text, have more structured questions and bullet points are provided to guide students as to what they should write about.
If a student sits the foundation paper and does extremely well, it is possible for the student to resit the higher paper in the June examination to boost their grade further.
How can my child prepare for the examinations?
All students are provided with regular independent study tasks which should form the basis of their preparation for the examination. Students will also receive a revision pack from the English facutly which they should work through.
In addition to this, students should use the GCSE PODCASTS prepared for the Information and Ideas examination. When students have listened to the advice, they should apply the revision tips to non-fiction texts- these can be anything from 'junk mail' received through the post, magazine articles to web pages.
We also advise that students practise planning writing questions. A range of example questions can be found in the department revision guide. It is also advisable for students to write the opening of their answer, focusing on making the opening as engaging and accurate as possible – this can make all the difference in an examination paper.
When will students be taking the controlled assessments and which ones will they be?
Below is an overview of the controlled assessments and when they are taken. Exact dates can be found on the college website controlled assessment calendar. Please remember that the lessons prior to the controlled assessment dates are also essential as students are required to plan their answers in controlled conditions also. If students miss these preparation sessions, this will result in them not being able to take the scheduled assessment and so will fall behind significantly as they will have to miss subsequent English lessons to ensure they sit the controlled assessment.