D&T, drama, citizenship and cooking for 2016
25 Sept 2014
These are the latest subjects whose content and assessment have been reviewed by Ofqual. D&T sees the biggest content change, but it's the reforms to assessment that are perhaps the more interesting aspect of this proposal.
In today's consultation, Ofqual re-asserts its view that coursework needs to be reduced and that tiering of exams is to be used only where essential: which is in none of these subjects.
D&T becomes a single qualification, removing separate resistant materials, textiles and graphics options. There will be options within the course, however. Non-exam assessment is reduced slightly (60% to 50%) - this will be a great relief to teachers of the subject who had been very alarmed at the prospect of its complete removal. There is also some support for combination of the various D&T options into one - and it should improve the gender balance of the subject.
Cooking and nutrition is a new GCSE qualification replacing food technology, catering and home economics. While this reduces schools' choices, Ofqual's aim is it ensure equivalence. It will have the same non-exam content as D&T, under whose remit it is most likely to sit within schools.
In drama, students will now have to study a complete play. Non-exam assessment is to be reduced to a maximum of 60% in GCSE, AS and A-level - currently it's up to 100%.
However, Citizenship Studies (currently taken by around 2% of students) is to lose coursework altogether.
Michael Gove had been keen to see the complete removal of coursework, which caused alarm among teachers fearing for the impact on lower-attaining students. Teachers of subjects which have a very high skills content, such as drama and D&T, considered assessment without a non-exam component impossible - it seems they have won the argument.
It's also encouraging to see that Ofqual are still talking about AS levels as if they will remain embedded in A-levels - they have always opposed Gove's plans to extract them: as have most teachers .Hopefully this is another Gove ambition that will not be achieved.
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