Consultation outcome

GCSE reform: regulations for science

This consultation has concluded

Download the full outcome

GCSE Science: Decisions on Conditions and Guidance

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Analysis of Responses to our Consultation on Conditions and Guidance for GCSE Science

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Detail of outcome

We have decided to adopt our proposed rules and guidance for reformed GCSEs in both single science subjects and combined science, with minor drafting changes to clarify some of our expectations.

We have now published final versions of our:

GCSE biology, chemistry and physics

Our new rules will require reformed GCSEs in biology, chemistry and physics to:

  • comply with the Department for Education’s subject content for GCSE single science (interpreted in line with our requirements), and with our assessment objectives
  • offer foundation tier (grades 1 to 5) and higher tier (grades 4 to 9) assessments that comply with our requirements for tiering
  • have a minimum total assessment time of 3.5 hours
  • allocate 15% of exam marks to assessing students in relation to practical work
  • allocate at least 10% of exam marks (20% for chemistry, 30% for physics) to assessing mathematical skills at an appropriate level of difficulty
  • require students to complete at least 8 specified practical activities
  • require schools to provide an annual statement confirming they have provided reasonable opportunities for students to complete (and record) those practical activities

Our guidance explains how awarding organisations should interpret our assessment objectives.

GCSE combined science

Our new rules will require reformed GCSEs in combined science to:

  • comply with the Department for Education’s subject content for GCSE combined science (interpreted in line with our requirements), and with our assessment objectives
  • offer foundation tier (grades 1-1 to 5-5) and higher tier (grades 4-4 to 9-9) assessments that comply with our requirements for tiering
  • have a minimum total assessment time of 7 hours
  • allocate 15% of exam marks to assessing students in relation to practical work
  • allocate at least 20% of exam marks (divided between biology, chemistry and physics in the ratio 1:2:3, respectively) to assessing mathematical skills at an appropriate level of difficulty
  • require students to complete at least 16 specified practical activities
  • require schools to provide an annual statement confirming they have provided reasonable opportunities for students to complete (and record) those practical activities

Our guidance explains how awarding organisations should interpret our assessment objectives.

Original consultation

Summary

Proposed regulations and guidance for the design, delivery and award of new science GCSEs.

This consultation ran from
to

Consultation description

This consultation is about the rules and guidance we need to put in place for new GCSEs in science (biology, chemistry, physics and combined science). These rules will apply to the exam boards that want to offer new biology, chemistry, physics or combined science GCSEs from September 2016.

This consultation takes forward decisions made following our earlier consultations:

It is part of Ofqual’s work supporting the government’s changes to GCSEs, AS and A levels.

Documents

GCSE Science: Consultation on Conditions and Guidance

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Published 27 March 2015
Last updated 13 July 2015 + show all updates
  1. Published consultation outcome, and conditions and guidance for reformed GCSEs in biology, chemistry, physics and combined science
  2. First published.