Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Reformed GCSE subject content consultation June 2013

The Outcome!

I have just completed a first draft of my analysis of the proposed Modern Languages GCSE subject content and assessment objectives for teaching 2016, testing 2018.  It can be viewed  or downloaded from this page  on the ALL London website which I maintain.   May I stress that it contains my own views, not those of the ALL.

The Background.

The government plans to introduce new GCSE criteria for Modern Languages in 2016, for first testing in 2018.

The DfE has published draft criteria for consultation.  The consultation period ends 20th August.

Ofqual will consult in due course on the assessment regulations with respect to ML.  It is currently consulting on other E-Bac subjects who are in the first phase.  (2015 for first testing in 2017)

Previously there was one body responsible for both curriculum and assessment (QCA)  This has been disbanded.  A  really important process difference this time from previous changes is the very clear and distinct separation between the description of the subject content (DfE) and the way in which it is to be assessed (Ofqual).  While looking at the subject content we need to ask ourselves:

 'Is it subject content which is being described, or is it an assumption about how it is to be assessed?' e.g. it should not include a statement about whether or not the Target language is to be used in assessment.
Everyone needs to be really clear about the fact that since ML is in the second phase, the assessment aspect is not being consulted on currently for languages.  I think that this is actually very helpful because it allows us to enter into a constructive dialogue while the thinking is still taking place.    
It is obviously critical to analyse the proposals for subject content and assessment objectives in detail to ensure that they can be easily interpreted by Ofqual and Awarding Bodies such that valid and reliable assessments can be designed  which fairly test what candidates know, understand and can do. 

Last weekend, I pored over the proposed 2016 criteria, comparing it with the 2008 criteria, and trying to analyse the rationale for and potential impact of the proposed changes.

The result is 21 pages of analysis, commentary and questions. I have also included an 'appendix' which contains all my initial cross referencing and comments, and this may be useful for anyone else who wants to undertake a similar exercise.

I would really welcome any comments  about my interpretation / comments / questions.  I will publish my formal response to the consultation in due course!

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